League Preview: Limerick -v- Shamrock Rovers

Fri, Jun 15 2018

Limerick's Cian Coleman tackles Lee Grace during the 1-1 draw between the sides in Tallaght in April. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick

LIMERICK

The midseason break can't come soon enough for Limerick, but first they have the task of facing Shamrock Rovers at the Markets Field (kick-off 7.45pm).

Last week's 4-0 defeat at Oriel Park means the Blues are without a win in four, since a 6-3 away win in Waterford, but they have drawn twice in that time.

And it was a costly defeat in more ways than one as midfielders Conor Clifford and Barry Maguire were both injured early on, and add to a lengthy casualty list.

“The midseason break is great for us, considering we have 6-7 lads out that would normally be definitely in contention for starting,” manager Tommy Barrett told the club's website.

“We have had a really difficult time with injuries. A lot of them have been muscle injuries, but a lot of unlucky injuries as well with ankle ligaments, broken hands and knocks.

“We have to be positive on Friday, not give away any cheap goals and see can we get a result, and then hopefully we’ll come back after the break refreshed.

“I’d be happy now if we had only 2-3 players injured at any one time. We’ve had 5-6 injured, particularly in the last 7-8 weeks, and it is a really difficult period for us.”

Clifford will miss up to six weeks with ankle damage, while Maguire, Shaun Kelly, Connor Elis, Danny Morrissey and Billy and Darren Dennehy miss out.

Killian Brouder is a slight concern as he missed training earlier in the week with injury.

SHAMROCK ROVERS

Shamrock Rovers will look to head into the midseason break on a high by racking up back-to-back victories for just the second time this season.

In what will be Graham Burke's last game before joining the Irish contingent Preston North End, the Hoops will looking to sew green shoots for the second half of the season.

Last Saturday saw the Hoops run out easy 5-0 winners over Bray Wanderers after the Seagulls' defender Conor Kenna was sent off after three minutes.

Burke scored twice, while Sam Bone, Dan Carr and Dave McAllister also scored in the second half of a comprehensive win.

"I thought we played really well [against Bray],” Rovers boss Stephen Bradley told the club's website.

“We moved them around and in the end wore them down. We knew it would take time for them to open up when they went down to ten men.

“But we felt that once we scored the second goal it would open up and that's what happened.”

Bradley opted to start with 16-year-old goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu and 17-year-old Brandon Kavanagh and they both acquitted themselves well, though Bazunu had little to do.

“Brandon Kavanagh was excellent on his home league debut. He played with a good tempo and made things happen.

“I decided early in the week to play Gavin Bazunu. I just felt he deserved it. He's ready, he's worked hard and it was time to play him. He had to make two or three saves.”

Ronan Finn is back in contention after missing the Bray game with a head injury, but Brandon Miele is still a couple of weeks away from full fitness and Trevor Clarke is out.

 

Referee: Sean Grant.

 

MATCH STATS

The sides have met twice so far this season, with Shamrock Rovers taking four points from a possible six.

Graham Burke's penalty was enough to earn Rovers a 1-0 win at the Markets Field in March, in a game that also saw Sean Kavanagh sent off for the Hoops.

Burke scored again when the sides met in Tallaght Stadium before Danny Morrissey equalised late on. Cian Coleman saw red for Limerick in the closing stages.

 

BETTING

Limerick 6/1; Draw 3/1; Shamrock Rovers 1/2.

PREDICTION

Limerick 0 – 1 Shamrock Rovers

 

Limerick

Injured: Conor Clifford, Billy Dennehy, Darren Dennehy, Connor Ellis, Shaun Kelly, Barry Maguire, Danny Morrissey.

Doubtful: Killian Brouder.

Suspended: None.

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Trevor Clarke, Brandon Miele.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.