Tom Clancy reports from Markets Field
Limerick returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Bray Wanderers at a humid Markets Field on Friday evening. The Blues won thanks to Cian Coleman’s early strike, while Sean Heaney put through his own net, cancelling out Ronan Coughlan’s earlier equaliser.
The hosts struck the front in the tenth minute, when the impressive Coleman drilled home after the ball fell his way following a Wanderers block. Coleman had earlier gone close with a header at the near post.
Bray have collected just one point on their travels this season, away to Dundalk, but were level within six minutes.
A hopeful punt by former blue Sean Harding deceived centre-half Eoin Wearen to allow Limerick native Ronan Coughlan level. He lobbed the ball over Brendan Clarke, and what might be one of his last appearances for Limerick as he appears to be on his way out of the club.
Once more, poor defending led to the next goal. Connor Ellis, returning after a lengthy injury lay-off, eased past Harding and drilled a low cross which was turned into his own net by Sean Heaney. Although Barry Maguire looked certain to score, with ‘keeper Evan Moran out of the equation.
New signing Craig Walsh should have opened his account ten minutes before the break, scuffing wide from ten yards after a free-kick caused Limerick defenders problems.
Bray removed captain Gary McCabe midway through the opening half with defender Conor Kenna coming on. The attacker was clearly annoyed with the decision, but Martin Russell felt the need after a minor altercation with a Limerick player.
Dutchman Barry Maguire could have extended the lead with the interval looming, but Moran was equal to his low effort and pushed it behind for a corner.
The second half was a far tighter affair, the hosts content with playing on the counter attack. Clarke looked likely to be the busier keeper, but in truth, his defence dealt reasonably with everything the Wicklow side sent their way.
Sub Danny Morrissey could have sealed the points with five minutes remaining, but Moran parried his right-footed effort, after Kilian Cantwell had earlier gone close with a volley.
Ger Pender was denied by Clarke under the fading Shannonside sunlight, blasting off the goalkeeper from close range, before Limerick scrambled the ball clear.
Bray were unable to use any of their substantial number of set pieces to good effect and slumped to another away defeat, their 12thon the spin.
Limerick pull nine clear of Martin Russell’s side, having won their first home game since defeating Bray on March 9th.
Limerick:Brendan Clarke; Shaun Kelly, Kilian Cantwell, Eoin Wearen, Billy Dennehy; Shane Duggan ©, Cian Coleman, Barry Maguire (Shane Tracy 78), Karl O’Sullivan (Tony Whitehead 56), Will Fitzgerald; Connor Ellis (Danny Morrissey 66).
Subs not used:Tommy Holland, Colm Walsh-O’Loghlen, Adam Foley, Ger Barry.
Booked:Eoin Wearen (34)
Bray Wanderers:Evan Moran; Seán Harding, Seán Heaney, Rhys Gorman, Kevin Lynch; Paul O’Conor, Craig Walsh, Daniel Kelly, Jake Kelly (Ger Pender 46), Gary McCabe © (Conor Kenna 26), Rónan Coughlan.
Subs not used:Mark O’Connor, Calvin Rogers, Byron O’Gorman, Jake Ellis, Alex Rafferty.
Booked:Kevin Lynch (43), Sean Harding (54)
Attendance: 500 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match:Cian Coleman (Limerick)