Monaghan United 0 – 1 Limerick FC

Airtricity League First Division 

Limerick Scorer: Padraic Quinn (6)

Friday 21st October 2011

Limerick FC continued their sustained late run into the heart of the Airtricity League First Division promotion drama with a sixth successive league victory earned by Paudie Quinn’s early strike at Gortakeegan last night, enough to account for a Monaghan United side depleted by suspensions.

Without key influences Ryan and Sean Brennan United never discovered the fluency or incisiveness of passing that would have broken down an admirably disciplined Limerick side, who reverted to a tight 4-5-1 shortly after Quinn had secured his crucial score.

His sixth minute drive from all of 30 yards was a swirling bolt from the blue that deceived United goalkeeper Gabriel Sava, who looked stunned as the effort eluded his grasp. United gradually played themselves into the game, and in the 16th minute Jordan Keegan stole possession from Corrie Treacy in the centre and looked for several seconds to have a clear run on goal before Limerick captain Pat Purcell showed all his experience to intervene effectively.

Sean Brosnan tried another effort from distance for the visitors that flashed across the face of Sava’s goal, and then Denis Behan blazed a free-kick over the cross bar.

Sava saved well from a close-range effort from Quinn and stopped Rory Gaffney’s effort from an acute angle.

Shortly after the half-hour the Mons fashioned their first chance of note, Jordan Keegan running on to Paul Byrne’s deft header into space and curling a shot just off-target.

Willo McDonagh should have done better from Jason Marks’ set-up as United enjoyed a period of pressure, and it was McDonagh again who forced Barry Ryan into his first serious save, producing an instinctive close-range volley from Eric Foley’s free-kick that the Limerick keeper parried adroitly.

A softly conceded corner saw Limerick’s Gaffney play the ball low for Quinn, whose shot from the edge of the box was only just wide.

Some early waves of United pressure when the second half resumed threatened a recovery by the home side, but Limerick, well marshalled by captain Pat Purcell at the back and by the combative Joe Gamble in central midfield, gradually reasserted themselves, and the home side found chances at a premium.

In the 59th minute Quinn came within inches of his second, latching on to hesitancy in the home defence and driving a shot from the edge of the box that flew just past the post.

It took until the 70th minute for the Mons to really threaten, Jordan Keegan lobbing the ball over Corrie Treacy and running in on goal only to hit a lobbed effort over the bar as Ryan advanced from his line.

The closing stages of the game saw Limerick defend with determination against a series of United corners. Aidan Collins and Shane Grimes had decent shooting opportunities for United but failed to make them count.

With three minutes left on the clock, Limerick substitute Stephen O’Flynn was presented with a great chance in the box to wrap the game up, but he over-elaborated and Sava was able to scramble the ball clear.

Deep in injury time United captain Alan Byrne got his head to the ball in a packed penalty area but Limerick keeper Ryan was perfectly positioned to make the save that keeps his side’s challenge for promotion firmly on course.

Monaghan United: Gabriel Sava, Aidan Collins, Shane Grimes, Philip Byrne (Declan O’Brien 79), Alan Byrne, Eric Foley, John Reilly, William McDonagh (Paul Whelan 58), Paul Byrne, Jordan Keegan, Jason Marks (Micahel Isichei 58).
Subs not used: David Byrne, Mark Grace, Jake Rossiter.

Limerick FC: Barry Ryan, Shaun Kelly (David O’Leary 64), John Frost, Corrie Treacy, Pat Purcell, Joseph Gamble, Jeffrey Judge, Padraic Quinn (Stephen O’Flynn 79), Denis Behan, Sean Brosnan (Shane Tracy 72), Rory Gaffney.
Subs not used: Peter Hynes, Andrew Bhandarkar, Shane Cusack, Steven McGann.

Referee: Philip Caschera.