Limerick forward Shane Lowth has praised the “great passion and desire” displayed by his team as they edged past Shelbourne in an epic Under-19 Champions Knockout Phase quarter-final that went all the way at Hogan Park on Sunday afternoon.
The young Shannonsiders created almost all of the first-half opportunities but the game turned against them just before the break when Jack Lynch was red-carded for a second bookable offence.
Shels then took the lead through Darragh Gannon three minutes into the second half but Limerick battled back and forced extra-time thanks to Mark Hoban’s 74th-minute spot-kick.
The visitors restored their advantage in the first period through Aaron Robinson’s fine strike. But, after they were also reduced to ten men when Conor Keeley was sent off late on, Limerick grabbed a dramatic equaliser in injury-time through Lowth’s close-range finish.
Limerick also fell behind in the shootout but they levelled it up when Shels blazed over and, after ‘keeper Tommy Holland saved, Ross Mann stood up to fire Tommy Barrett’s side into a semi-final showdown with Saint Patrick’s Athletic next weekend.
And former Tralee Dynamos youngster Lowth was thrilled with the character shown by his team.
“Coming back twice, to score the goal to get us to penalties and then to win on penalties, I’m delighted,” Lowth told Limerick FC TV.
“Getting a man sent-off so early on; to be honest, I didn’t think it was a sending-off. It was a bit harsh. Then it didn’t look like we were going to score. Shelbourne were very good defensively.
“I just saw Killian (Brouder) knock a great ball in, Oisín (Kelly) knocked it down and I was just following in to knock it in. I knew I had to follow in. Oisín did very well. He got in and he hit it – I don’t know if it was going in or not but I took a touch and scored.
“Even going behind on penalties, we didn’t look like we were going to win but we showed great passion and desire to give it our everything. Everyone kept working, even though there were fellas going down with cramp.
“Clyde O’Connell made some unbelievable runs. All the boys really put in the hard work and we deserved it in the end with our work-rate to get our win.”
The 17-year-old says he has really enjoyed his time at the club and that the squad are “confident” ahead of next Sunday’s meeting with the Saints (Hogan Park, 3pm).
“It has been a great experience, League of Ireland football,” Shane said. “It’s a lot different than when I was playing all the way up. To get here now, the standard, the intensity, everything has got a lot higher.
“Training has been top-class all year round and you just have to take your chances when you come into the starting 11 and try to hold onto your place then, because everyone is trying to get on the pitch. Everyone wants the same dream – being a professional footballer.
“Pat’s are supposed to be good but we’re still confident. If we show that desire and passion again like we did this week, we should have no trouble getting through.”
Date: Sunday 12 April 2015