Vinny Faherty and Ian Turner brought their tally to 20 league goals between them as Limerick claimed an invaluable 3-1 victory over Galway United at the bottom of the Premier Division at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night.
Listen to midfielder Paul O’Conor’s post-match reaction, below.
Limerick – backed by a magnificent support totalling over 300 – should have made a dream start but Conor Winn amazingly recovered to deny Faherty what appeared a certain goal.
After Turner and Gary Shanahan threatened at either end, the Shannonsiders hit the front past the quarter-hour with a superbly-taken goal from Faherty, who took full advantage from a mistake in the home defence to fire a beautiful shot beyond Winn.
Lee-J Lynch’s cross then fell into the path of Faherty at the back post but he put the ball wide from two-yards, before Dean Clarke’s curling effort was denied by an outstretched hand from Winn who tipped behind.
But eventually Galway would level, just past the hour-mark, when Ryan Connolly’s corner was forced home by the head of Samuel Oji. That parity, though, lasted just six minutes as Turner raided into the box and struck a rocket past Winn.
And the game was put to bed on 81 minutes when Turner crossed for Faherty to deliver the killer blow to his hometown team as Limerick bounced back to winning ways.
Manager Martin Russell made one change to the team that saw their seven-match unbeaten run ended by Champions Dundalk a fortnight earlier, and it was enforced as the suspended Shane Tracy was replaced by Seán Russell.
And Limerick should have taken the lead inside the opening 60 seconds when Winn sliced a clearance and left Faherty with an open goal but somehow the ‘keeper recovered to save the shot on the line.
On six minutes, the Shannonsiders threatened again when Russell did well down the left and his cross from the by-line was met by Turner at the back post and his header back across goal went agonisingly inches wide of the upright.
Moments later, Galway were in behind with Gary Shanahan latching onto a through-ball but a weak effort was comfortably saved by Freddy Hall.
After Clarke’s header from a Turner delivery was comfortably collected low down by Winn, Limerick hit the front on 18 minutes. Colm Horgan’s mis-placed pass was picked up by Faherty outside the box and, after jinking past Oji, he produced a wonderful placed effort to the far corner.
That led to a loud chorus of ‘We Are Staying Up’ from the large Limerick support, and it should have got better for them within three minutes. Lynch’s fizzed cross got a touch from Winn but it fell to Faherty who could not direct it into the net from close in.
Then Winn produced a fantastic save to tip behind Clarke’s curling effort from the left angle of the box, although no corner was given. The chances dried up from there in the remainder of the first half, with Limerick still on top, the closest they went a goal-bound 20-yard shot from Paul O’Conor which was deflected behind by a good block.
Six minutes into the second half, Connolly’s free-kick from the right was brilliantly defended by Faherty with Stephen Walsh ready to pounce at the back post. Before the hour, former Blue Dave O’Leary drove a 25-yard strike narrowly wide.
But, soon, Galway were level when a Connolly corner caused panic in the visiting six-yard box and it was eventually forced in by Oji. On 66 minutes, Limerick were back in front, Turner breaking into the area and driving an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net.
And Limerick sealed victory nine minutes from time when Turner’s delivery from the right was met by a beautiful diving header from Faherty who powered past Winn, as they moved to within three points of the Tribesmen at the bottom.
Galway United: Conor Winn, Colm Horgan, Sami Oji, Stephen Walsh, Marc Ludden, Gary Shanahan, David O’Leary, Ryan Connolly, Paul Sinnott © (Andy O’Connell 79), Jake Keegan, Enda Curran (Conor Melody 42). Goal: S Oji (60). Booked: R Connolly (27), G Shanahan (32), M Ludden (61), C Melody (75). Unused Subs: Ger Hanley (GK), Cormac Raftery, Aran McConnell, Conor Barry, Tomi Saarelma.
Limerick: Freddy Hall, Shaun Kelly, Patrick Kanyuka, Robbie Williams, Seán Russell, Shane Duggan ©, Paul O’Conor, Ian Turner, Lee-J Lynch, Dean Clarke (Darragh Rainsford 85), Vinny Faherty (Ross Mann 90+2). Goals: V Faherty (18, 81), I Turner (66). Booked: R Williams (27), S Duggan (55). Unused Subs: Tommy Holland (GK), Tony Whitehead, Prince Agyemang, Val Feeney, Paudie O’Connor.
Referee: Dave McKeon (Meath). Attendance: 1,525 (Official).
Report Date: Friday 9 October 2015