Match Report: Mann Brace Sees Limerick Into Final
Super sub Ross Mann scored twice in four second-half minutes as Limerick came from behind to qualify for the Munster Senior Cup final with a 3-2 win over Rockmount in the last four at Turner’s Cross on Sunday afternoon.
After a slow start to the game, Rockmount hit the front on 25 minutes when Jason Higgins put Alan O’Connor clear on goal and he finished confidently past Shane Cusack.
After Garbhán Coughlan had a shot from outside the area tipped over, Limerick levelled with a wonderful 35-yard strike from Tam McManus who was marking his first start for the club with a goal.
Right on half-time, Rockmount regained their lead when Graham Keane took a quick free-kick to Higgins who spotted Cusack off his line and launched a long-range effort that nestled in the net.
Close to the hour mark, Limerick could have equalised again when James McGrath played in McManus but Brendan O’Connell blocked the shot. The Superblues did make it 2-2, though, soon after when substitute Mann flicked the ball past a defender and finished well from ten-yards.
On 63 minutes, Mann put Limerick in front for the first time with a cool finish past the outrushing ‘keeper who was left stranded after a back-pass was left short. And that proved to be the winner, with Douglas Hall awaiting Limerick in the decider.
Manager Stuart Taylor fielded a whole new team to that that lined out against Bohemians in the league two days earlier, with centre-half Michael Leahy making his club debut and McManus starting for the first time. Those were the only players over the age of 21, with McGrath captaining the side.
It was a quiet opening to the game. The first shot came on six minutes when Shane Spitere’s rising shot went narrowly off target. At the other end, McGrath’s 20-yard effort was gathered by O’Connell.
Rockmount broke the deadlock on 25 minutes when Higgins robbed Coughlan of possession in midfield and played a fine through-ball for O’Connor to run onto, with the striker finishing well under Cusack.
Limerick were owning plenty of the ball and McGrath and Barry Sheedy saw efforts from range go wide, before Coughlan’s 25-yard shot was tipped over by the ‘keeper. Then Darragh Rainsford had an effort saved.
On 36 minutes, Rainsford threatened again when he glided past two players and his shot from just outside the box narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Just moments later, though, Limerick were level thanks to a stunning 35-yard strike from McManus as he opened his account for the club.
However, right on half-time, Rockmount were back in front. Shortly after having a penalty claim turned down after O’Connor fell in the box, the hosts were awarded a free-kick close to halfway. Keane took it quickly and caught out Limerick, with Cusack helpless to prevent Higgins’ effort.
Early in the second half, Keane headed wide at the back post when well placed, and shortly after, Patrick Nzuzi got a sight of goal 25-yards out but a decent effort drifted wide.
On 57 minutes, McGrath played in McManus with a fantastic through-ball but the Scot was denied by the ‘keeper. Within two minutes, though, Limerick were level again when Mann – only on the pitch – flicked the ball past a defender and finished well.
And then Mann put his side in front when he capitalised on a defensive mistake and finished well past the outrushing ‘keeper from the angle of the area.
After that, O’Connor had a couple of efforts for Rockmount, before Nzuzi almost made sure of the win with a 25-yard shot that the ‘keeper did well to push over. Then O’Connor fired wide after a corner was taken short.
Limerick could have added a fourth in injury-time but substitute Val Feeney saw his effort blocked by the feet of O’Connell after Nzuzi had done well to create the chance. But Limerick had done enough by then to make it through to the final as they chase a 13th success in the competition.
Rockmount: Brendan O’Connell, Jason Higgins, Chris Byrne, Steven Montgomerie, Ken Hoey, Graham Keane (Chris Dinneen 59), Gearóid O’Leary, Adrian Fitzsimons (Cian Blake 77), Colin O’Sullivan, Shane Spitere, Alan O’Connor. Goals: A O’Connor (25), J Higgins (45). Booked: J Higgins (48), A Fitzsimons (64). Unused Subs: Dan O’Hare, Philip Cunningham, Alan Tuohy, Ruairí Beecham.
Limerick: Shane Cusack, Shane Walsh, Tony Whitehead, Michael Leahy, Colm Murphy (Paudie O’Connor 69), Darragh Rainsford, Patrick Nzuzi, James McGrath ©, Garbhán Coughlan (Val Feeney 55), Tam McManus, Barry Sheedy (Ross Mann 55). Goals: T McManus (37), R Mann (59, 63). Booked: M Leahy (89). Unused Subs: Ali Abass (GK), Seán McSweeney, Kieran Hanlon.
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).
Report Date: Sunday 13 April 2014