Tommy Barrett believes that Limerick are in “a better position” now than when they last made the trip to Oriel Park, as they prepare to banish those painful memories when they tackle second-placed Dundalk there again in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
Listen to Tommy’s pre-match thoughts, below.
The Shannonsiders – then depleted by injury and illness – suffered an 8-0 defeat there in snowy conditions in February, while Dundalk also recorded a comfortable 3-0 win when the teams met at the Markets Field in April.
While Limerick have the worst home record in the Premier Division, only the country’s top two Dundalk and Cork City have picked up more points on the road, with just one loss – an unlucky one at Turner’s Cross – in their last six trips.
And Barrett is hoping his players can “put in a performance”, as he acknowledged the level of difficulty that Friday’s fixture presents.
“Of course, it will be tough. They have beaten us 8-0 and 3-0. They’re a very good side – they have players that can score from everywhere. It will be a really difficult task for us,” Tommy told LimerickFC.ie.
“We’re playing well so we hope to put in a good performance. I thought at home last week we were very good, and the last few weeks there, but we just haven’t been getting the results that our performances probably deserve.
“You could argue that Bohs probably could have won the game for a finish last week. But I think in the first half we should have had the game over – it should have been 2 or 3-0. You have got to take your chances in this league.
“Obviously, it will be a more difficult task on Friday. Dundalk are one of the top teams in the country. They play excellent football; they have good players all over the park. But we have good players as well and we’re playing well at the moment, so we’ll go up there and hopefully put in a performance.”
Asked if the 8-0 loss is on their minds ahead of the long trip north, Barrett added: “Obviously, you don’t want it happening again. But we’re in a better position now. We’re playing a lot better, we have a more settled team, we have less injuries. We have to go up there, try to play on the front foot and try to be as positive as possible.
“Before the break we have Dundalk and Rovers left – two tough games. We’ll give it our best shot to try to pick up a couple of points.”
Last weekend, Dan Casey’s 86th-minute strike denied Limerick a first home win in ten attempts as they had to settle for just a point in a 1-1 draw. Prior to that, they drew 0-0 at Sligo Rovers, with their previous away game seeing them hammer Waterford 6-3 at the RSC.
Dundalk, meanwhile, have won six league games on the bounce, and are on a four-game winning streak at Oriel Park, conceding just one in the process. Last Friday, they defeated Shamrock Rovers 5-2 at Tallaght Stadium, before a much-changed team saw off Bohemians 3-1 in the Leinster Senior Cup on Tuesday night.
Limerick have not defeated Dundalk in nearly five years, going back to September 2013 (12 meetings ago – 1 draw, 10 losses in the 11 subsequent clashes). On that occasion, Rory Gaffney netted twice in a 2-1 win under Stuart Taylor at Oriel Park.
Team News: Limerick will welcome midfielder Cían Coleman back from suspension for the trip, while defender Billy Dennehy (groin) returns from injury.
Barrett remains without winger Henry Cameron (international duty), strike pair Connor Ellis (hip), Danny Morrissey (hamstring) and centre-half Darren Dennehy (ankle), while winger Karl O’Sullivan is unavailable due to his Leaving Certificate exams.
Officials: Referee for Friday’s game is Neil Doyle, his assistants are Robert Clarke and Alan Sherlock, with the fourth official Adriano Reale.
Preview Date: Thursday 7 June 2018