Scorers for Limerick: Stephen Hickey (80)
Friday 30th April 2010
Goals from Philly Hughes and Cathal O’Connor secured Monaghan United their fourth successive Airtricity League First Division victory but a lively, attack-minded Limerick FC made it a close-run thing in this action-packed encounter at Gortakeegan.
John Tierney fired inches past the post as Limerick made a purposeful start, but it was Monaghan who opened the scoring with their first attack of the game. Sean Brennan’s shot looked to be heading harmlessly into the grasp of Limerick’s Dave Ryan until an inadvertent deflection off Hughes sent the ball past the bemused goalkeeper and into the net on the ninth minute.
Monaghan spent most of the reminder of the half on the defensive, but they worked hard to deny their opponents clear-cut chances. It was only in added time of the half that Tierney shook himself free of United covering, but his shot on the turn flashed outside the upright.
United took the game to the visitors in the early period of the second half, and Ryan had to go full- length to turn Brennan’s low drive around the post in the 59th minute. Limerick manager Pat Scully rang the changes to almost immediate effect, newly introduced substitute Daryl Kavanagh striking a blistering shot on the run narrowly wide.
Mick Cooke’s men were anxious for the security of a second goal, and it arrived after 69 minutes when Conor McMahon struck a measured cross from the right and O’Connor glided the ball into the corner. United goalkeeper Gabriel Sava made a superb reaction save to prevent sub Stephen Hickey driving home an almost immediate Limerick riposte. But the outstanding goalkeeping contribution of the night was made by Dave Ryan when he somehow denied Brennan by pushing his close-range effort up and around the post.
The save seemed to inject Limerick with renewed belief, and in the 80th minute Hickey powered into the box and drove an emphatic shot past Sava. Monaghan defended with composure as the visitors poured everything into their endeavours for a late equaliser. Home fans held their breath two minutes from time when Limerick’s Sean Kelly powered in a header from Martin Deady’s free-kick, but the ball sailed just over the crossbar.
Monaghan United: Sava; McMahon, Lynch, Gartland, Costigan; O’Connor, McCrossan (Tierney 70), Byrne, Clancy; Brennan, Hughes (Bermingham 72).
Subs not used: Flynn, Donnelly, Collins.
Limerick FC: Ryan; White, Stanley, Purcell, Deady; Hughes (Kavanagh 54), Judge (Kelleher 58), Kelly, Tracy; Lyons (Hickey 70), Tierney.
Subs not used: Cahill, Collopy.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
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