Dean Clarke and Paul O’Conor scored in either half but Limerick went down to a late goal in a 3-2 defeat by Cobh Ramblers in an entertaining friendly match at Saint Colman’s Park on Friday night.
Martin Russell’s starting team included experienced central defender Aidan Price, formerly of Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians and Saint Patrick’s Athletic. He joined up with the squad on the night.
On the bench was former Saints and Dundalk striker Vinny Faherty, alongside Romanian attacking midfielder Raul Gaşpar whose last club was Gaz Metan. Both had been training with the team recently.
Cobh had a good chance in the opening moments but Alan O’Flynn shot over, before Republic of Ireland Under-19 midfielder Val Feeney had an effort cleared off the line. Then Clarke fired narrowly wide.
But it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken by the hosts as Stephen Kenny’s cross was headed to the net by O’Flynn. In a lively start, that lead was wiped out within five minutes as Clarke tapped in at the back post following a Shane Duggan corner.
On 20 minutes, Limerick went close to taking the lead when an excellent free-kick from Duggan was tipped over the crossbar by ‘keeper David Browne. On the half-hour, it was the turn of Conor O’Donnell to be tested, the former UCD stopper saving from Kenny. Then Ian Turner saw his free-kick strike the crossbar.
On 39 minutes, a good move by the visitors ended with Turner’s cross from the left finding Darragh Rainsford whose effort was saved by Browne. Before the break, a dangerous ball went across the Limerick box but there was no Cobh player on hand to connect, as the sides went in level.
Russell introduced Paudie O’Connor, Gaşpar and Faherty at half-time, the trio replacing Ross Mann, Feeney and Rainsford.
Limerick fell behind again just before the hour mark when another Kenny delivery was this time headed to the net by substitute Stephen McCarthy, who had come on for the injured Kynan Rocks just before the interval.
On 63 minutes, O’Donnell was called into action again as he produced a superb save to keep his side within touching distance.
With a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, a ball over the top found Duggan who was denied by the ‘keeper who got down well. But from the resulting corner, Limerick were level again, as O’Conor drove to the net from outside the box.
Cobh, though, restored their lead on 82 minutes. After Kenny’s initial shot produced a fine save from O’Donnell, the ball came back off the crossbar to another substitute Jonathan Creamer who finished to the net to give the home side victory.
Cobh Ramblers: David Browne, Eoghan Murphy, Brendan Frahill ©, Graham McCarthy, Shane O’Connor, Stephen Kenny (Nathaniel Gumbo 82), Darren Murphy (Audi Dunlea 48), Alan O’Flynn (Jonathan Creamer 60), Ryan Goldsmith (Andrew Bhandarkar 48), Robert Waters (David Curran 75), Kynan Rocks (Stephen McCarthy 44). Goals: A O’Flynn (10), S McCarthy (58), J Creamer (82). Unused Subs: None.
Limerick: Conor O’Donnell, Seán Harding, Aidan Price, Robbie Williams, Ross Mann (Paudie O’Connor HT), Val Feeney (Raul Gaşpar HT), Shane Duggan ©, Paul O’Conor, Ian Turner (Gavin Dillon 68), Darragh Rainsford (Vinny Faherty HT), Dean Clarke (Kieran Hanlon 72). Goals: D Clarke (15), P O’Conor (76). Unused Subs: Tommy Holland (GK), Shane Costelloe.
Report Date: Friday 20 February 2015