Monaghan United 0 – 2 Limerick 37

A brace of quick first half goals continued Limerick impressive run of form and shattered the defensive record of a Monaghan United side that had kept the previous six visitors to their Century Homes Park fortress scoreless.

Limerick brought the game to the home side from the off, with Limericks mobility posing problems for Monaghan’s sturdy trio of central defenders. However, the closest Michael Kerley’s men came to breaking the deadlock was when Paul Walsh availed of a slip by United full-back Barry Clancy to try a chip from an acute angle which Brendan Kennedy backtracked to save.

Monaghan appeared to have weathered the storm when they were struck by two Limerick goals in quick succession at the half-hour. Gary Sheehan was afforded too much space on the left and, when Brendan Daly glanced on his cross, Walsh sent a deft low header beyond Kennedy on 30 minutes.

The goal seemed to shatter United’s defensive composure and they were at sixes and sevens at the back when Dave Ryan broke through from midfield and sent a low drive past the advancing Kennedy just two minutes later.

Most of the second half was played in sheeting rain that militated against good football. Limerick seemed to sit back in the second half and draw Monaghan on to them. Limerick had a few chances that were missed in the second half, but the Lims were always in control.

Monaghan manager Mick Cooke made three substitutions in quick succession to try to enliven his side, and one of the new men, Darren Meenan, struck the side netting with a snap shot from the edge of the box.

But it was raiding wing-back Paul Whelan, Monaghan’s top scorer so far this season, who almost brought United back into the game, flashing a header from Clancy’s corner inches over the bar.

Shane Guerin came on for Manjor after 75 minutes and was bright in the final quarter. In the closing minutes Dave Ryan almost added to the Limerick tally, meeting a half-cleared cross with a blistering drive that flashed just past the top corner. Goggins and Hayes came on late for Daly and Walshe to close out the game.

The Super Blues were very appreciative of the travelling support who were once again very vocal in support of their team. The expectation is beginning to rise in the Mid West as Limerick are now only 11 points off the league leaders and 9 points off joint second.

Monaghan United: Kennedy; Gartland (McMahon 66), Mooney, Byrne; Whelan, Tierney, McCrossan, Maher (Meenan 71), Clancy; Collins (Lanigan 63), Scully.

Limerick: David Ryan; White, Danaher, Barrett, Cleary; Daly (Goggins 91), Hughes, Dave Ryan; Manjor (Guerin 75); Walsh (Hayes 90), Sheehan.

Referee: P Caschera