MATCH PREVIEW: TAYLOR “PLEADING FOR MASSIVE CROWD”
Stuart Taylor is “pleading” with the Limerick public to come out and support his side as they look to make it three wins in just six days when Bohemians visit Thomond Park on Monday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Superblues have been rock solid in September with a scoreless draw against title favourites Saint Patrick’s Athletic early in the month followed up by impressive wins over Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk over the past week.
Jason Hughes and Rory Gaffney downed the Hoops at Thomond Park last Tuesday evening while Gaffney’s double at Oriel Park on Friday almost certainly ended the Lilywhites’ dreams of a first league championship in 18 years.
Now, Limerick face into a third game in less than a week when they entertain the in-form Gypsies, who come in on the back of wins over Shelbourne and Derry City.
And – as he admitted his players will be tired during such a heavy schedule – Taylor is looking for many of the 3,768 people that attended their opening game against Cork City in March to return for their final two home games of the campaign.
“We’re looking forward to Monday’s game; it’s going to be very difficult again,” Taylor told LimerickFC.ie. “But we’ve got our targets, we’re pushing on and we’re on a rich vein of form at this moment in time.
“Owen Heary has done fantastically well since he took over at Bohemians and has gathered up a few points which have got them into safety. I’m sure they’ll have Premier Division football next season but I hope they pick up no points on Monday.
“I went to see them in the last couple of weeks when they played Shelbourne and they had a really good win and looked a good side.
“For ourselves, I’m hoping that we get back to the sort of crowd that came to see us on the opening day of the season against Cork City.
“We want a big turnout for our last two home games, against Bohemians and Shelbourne, as the players want to pay a big thank you to the supporters for the support that they’ve given them throughout the year.
“I’m hopeful and I’m pleading for a massive crowd to come to the game, to come and see what the boys are performing like right now.
“We promised them we would have a strong finish and we’re doing that at the moment, and I plead with every supporter to come out in force.
“We’ve got two home games left and it would be great if we could get a massive crowd for them because we’ve wanted to go and put a spectacle on for the supporters and make them and everybody from Limerick proud of us.
“Hopefully, we’ve done that in the last couple of performances that we’ve had.
“If we can get a huge crowd in for the next two games, it would be great for the club financially, but also it would be great for us because the way we’re playing at the moment we can have them coming in their droves and getting right behind the team.
“It would be a good send-off for the final part of the season.
“We’ve got three games in six days so we’re past halfway now and we’re on our final game and it’s a case of digging deep. We’ve been digging in deep for the last couple of weeks in different factors and different areas of the pitch.
“Bohs will be a battling game and that’s why we need every single supporter to come out and get behind us, because we’ll be tired, there’s no doubt about that.
“But we’re looking forward to it. And again I would plead with the supporters to come out and get behind the boys and give us a good push between now and the end of the season.”
Limerick’s win in Dundalk on Friday kept them within three points of sixth-placed Cork, who defeated UCD on the same evening, and with the Leesiders travelling to Sligo Rovers on Monday, Taylor’s side could jump back into the top half.
A win for the Superblues would also make it three on the bounce for the very first time this season, with games against the bottom two, Bray Wanderers and Shelbourne, to come after this.
Bohs, meanwhile, are chasing a third straight victory of their own after overcoming Derry at Dalymount Park on Friday, thanks to a first-half brace from Ryan McEvoy.
That followed on from their 3-0 win over Shels seven days earlier as Dinny Corcoran, McEvoy and Dave Mulcahy secured them a huge three points at Tolka Park.
Those results have moved Bohs seven points clear of the playoff place, and now they will look to pick up their first points of the season against Limerick.
At Thomond Park back in April, McEvoy gave the Gypsies a 57th-minute lead from the spot, but ten-man Limerick levelled soon after through Shane Tracy and Dave O’Leary then struck an injury-time winner.
In Dublin in early July, Axel Bossekota’s second-half strike proved the difference.
Team News: Limerick remain without left-sided player Shane Tracy (knee) and midfielder Stephen McGann (foot), while club captain Pat Purcell (ankle) has suffered a setback and will see a specialist on Monday morning.
On the plus side, fellow centre-back Brian O’Callaghan (groin) is back in contention having been out of action since late July, while midfielder Dave O’Leary (knee) is available again having missed the trip to Oriel Park.
Young full-back Shane Costelloe (ankle) is still recovering from the injury he suffered in Dundalk five weeks ago but has “come on really well” in his rehabilitation.
Referee for Monday is Seán Grant. His assistants are Michelle O’Neill and Ralph Pieper and the fourth official is Anthony Buttimer.
Grant’s previous game in charge of Limerick this season was the 4-4 draw at home to Bray Wanderers on 9 July.
Limerick Last 6 League: LLLDWW
Bohemians Last 6 League: LWDLWW