Limerick defender Shaun Kelly has called on supporters to turn out in numbers once again to give the team “that extra boost” to beat Champions Dundalk, with the Markets Field atmospheres being “huge” in the recent revival.
Kelly returned to Shannonside last month and has yet to see the side taste defeat as they have put together a marvellous seven-match unbeaten run, closing them to within a point of Sligo Rovers at the foot of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table.
Dundalk are flying high at the summit and are on course to retain the title for the first time in their history. But Kelly – who played with the Lilywhites for two seasons – points to the recent form table to give further belief that they can upset the odds.
In the seven games since the beginning of August, Limerick have taken 17 points compared to Dundalk’s 15, while they can also take confidence from the fact they held Stephen Kenny’s side to a 1-1 draw at Jackman Park in April.
Now, the Superblues are loving life back at the Markets Field, and with the team’s impressive performances alongside the incredible atmospheres created at the famous Garryowen venue, Kelly believes it could be another special night there.
“It’s a huge challenge for us – it’s top v bottom. There’s no question about it, it’s going to be a tough game,” Shauny told LimerickFC.ie.
“Dundalk are a great side; they’re within clinching the title again. If you’re not a good side you’re not going to do that two years in a row. They have got some very good players so we’re going to have to be at the top of our game if we’re looking to turn them over.
“But I don’t see why we can’t. If you look at the form table since the start of August, we’re up there with them. The big thing is if we play to our best you just never know what can happen on the night.
“The Markets Field has been great. When I signed I didn’t know what it was like because I hadn’t been there. The supporters have been brilliant. It’s huge for us. If we get a big crowd on Saturday night they can give us the lift that we need.
“The supporters are going to be huge in the remaining games there. They have been in the recent games; we’ve had some very tough games and we’ve come through them, winning them all apart from Longford.
“There is no reason why we can’t go and do that again against Dundalk. But if the fans can come out again in their numbers then they’ll definitely give us that extra boost to go and do it.”
Limerick remain at the bottom but depending on weekend results they could climb above the playoff places. For Kelly and his teammates, though, their sole focus is on their own games.
“We’re still bottom of the table so we’re not happy about that obviously,” he said. “But from where we were a few weeks ago, if you told us we would be this close with five games to go I think we would have snapped your hand off for that.
“We’re just taking every game as it comes and looking to the next one. We have to worry about getting as many points on the board as we can from hereon in. We can’t look to any other games or who other teams are playing; we’ve got to look after ourselves and worry about getting points.
“The mood has been good this week. I think everybody is upbeat; we’re still unbeaten so everybody is happy about that. We know we slipped up; we would have liked to get the three points against Bray going into this game against Dundalk.
“It wasn’t to be. It has shown this year that Bray are a hard team to beat at their place. Teams have found it difficult to beat them there. We’ll take the point. It has been a good week’s training now so we’re looking forward to the Dundalk game.”
Team News: Kelly returns from suspension along with midfielder Paul O’Conor, with the pair having missed last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Bray Wanderers. Manager Martin Russell has reported no injuries.
Tickets are on sale from Gleeson Sports Scene, Upper William Street and Paddy McMahon & Son Butchers, Athlunkard Street until 6pm on Saturday, and from 5.30pm at the Markets Field on matchday.
Date: Thursday 24 September 2015