Salthill Devon 1 – 3 Limerick FC

Airtricity League First Division 

Limerick Scorers: Sean Kelly (31), Stephen O’Flynn (81, 90)

Saturday 2nd October 2010

Two late goals from talisman Stephen O’Flynn gave Limerick a win over Salthill Devon that might revive their aspirations of gaining a playoff spot.

Limerick made three changes to their side off the back of a three-nil defeat against Munster rivals Waterford United last week. Shane Tracy, Sean Kelly and John Sullivan were drafted into pat Scully’s starting eleven for this tie. While the scorer of Salthill’s dramatic later equaliser against Waterford, Mike Gilmore was left on the bench.

Limerick flew out of the traps, running forward at every opportunity, with a couple of good crosses from ex-Galway winger Bobby Ryan, Limerick looked menacing, however it was Salthill that would strike the first blow. A hoofed clearance found the head of Victor Collins, who found Kennedy on the left wing, a perfect cross found Robbie Porter unmarked in the six yard box and he struck to give the home side a surprise lead.

Limerick reacted in a positive manner, with Stephen O’Flynn dominating in the Salthill half, and John Tierney working tirelessly to try and level the score. O’Flynn came closest on the half hour mark, as his driven effort was well tipped over by Ronan Forde in the Devon goal. From the resulting corner, Limerick found their equaliser. Shane Tracy’s lofted ball found the head of full back Sean Kelly at the near post. His bullet header was unstoppable from such close range.

Limerick looked for the goal that would put them in the lead, and always looked most likely before the break. The best efforts were to come from captain Pat Purcell and midfielder John Sullivan. Purcell’s header was stopped from crossing the line by a magnificent stretch from Forde while John Sullivans volley was also well stopped.

Limerick had their first of three disallowed goals on the night, when John Tierney rose highest after a mix up in the Salthill marking. Tierney’s nod was saved by the keeper, but the ball managed to find its way over the line from the keepers fingertips. The referee decided that the Limerick striker had impeded the goalkeeper, much to the fury of the travelling support.

The second half began in much the same style, with Limerick pressing to find a goal that would save their season. Bobby Ryan appeared to be a big threat for Limerick. His crossing ability evident throughout the ninety minutes. A perfect example of this was just before the hour mark as his driven cross found the head of O’Flynn who nodded over the bar.

Salthill’s best chance of the second half came on the counter. Victor Collins was on the edge of the area with a chance to shoot, but wrongly chose to pass to his strike partner, who was marked and the chance came to nothing. Limerick could count themselves lucky.

Salthill battled for most of the second half, with various bookings, and some aggressive play. Limerick looked to have broken their hearts twenty five minutes into the second half as Shane Clarke poked home from a scramble in the area. The referee once again was able to pick out an infringement and awarded a free out to the home side.

The best chance of the second half came to O’Flynn who went one-on-one with Forde, only to slot the ball into his arms. While he only parried, the rebound also was a tame effort and the Devon keeper collected comfortably.

On a night that looked all set to end Limerick’s play-off hopes, Limerick appeared to have snatched a winner ten minutes from time. John Tierney bundled the ball home from a cross, but in dramatic fashion, a free kick was awarded to the home side, and Limerick had their third goal of the evening disallowed. Remarkable!

Infuriated, Limerick went all out attack, and they got their just rewards with seven minutes remaining on the clock, as a mix up from a Shane Tracy corner found Stephen O’Flynn who made no mistake from close distance. Limerick’s hopes were rekindled in that instant.

Just shy of added time, a break down the left wing for Limerick, saw O’Flynn receive the ball with a lot of work to do. He beat one, and cut inside. His low and hard effort deflected off a Salthill defender, and found its way past a stranded Ger Forde. Limerick had sealed the points.

Limerick remain chasing that coveted third spot, while Salthill go bottom due to Mervue’s point in Longford. A good, but much needed win for the Shannonsiders.

Salthill Devon: Ronan Forde, Conor Murray, Michael Quirke, Brian Geraghty, James Whelan, Cian McBrien, Damien O’Reilly, Robert Porter, Victor Collins (Michael Gilmore 72), Ciprian Straut (Gerard Burke 85), Michael Kennedy (Brian Gaffney 55).
Unused Subs: Dragos Barbu, Gearóid Ó Leidhinn.

Limerick: David Ryan, Sean Kelly (Brian O’Callaghan 78), David O’Leary (Shane Clarke 68), Pat Purcell, David Rogers, John Sullivan, Shane Tracy (Garbhan Coughlan 62), Peter White, Bobby Ryan, John Tierney, Stephen O’Flynn.
Unused Subs: Jeffrey Judge, John McGuinness.

Referee: P Tuite