Limerick travel to UCD on Friday night looking for three important points as they try to stop the rot that has seen them concede seven without reply at home.
After an excellent win away to defending champions St Patricks three weeks ago Limerick looked set to climb up the table. This win was credited in part to excellent additions made to the squad during the transfer window including Ian Turner, Lee Lynch and the evergreen Joseph Ndo.
Following that excellent morale boosting win however Limerick have shipped 7 goals at home without scoring any in reply. Unfortunately these poor results have caused the Shannonsiders to begin looking over their shoulders. Manager Martin Russell will no doubt see a trip to 11th placed UCD as an excellent opportunity to return to winning ways.
The hosts are also in dire need of a victory. Aaron Callaghan’s men are no doubt still hurting from losing arguably their most important game of the season last week to Bray in a relegation six-pointer. With Athlone picking up a point against second-placed Cork City, UCD fans and players have the worry of automatic relegation weighing on their minds. It is vital to The Students that Callaghan keeps his team calm and composed under such immense pressure and focused on Friday night’s game.
The atmosphere in the Belfield Bowl, or rather the lack of it, is often said to be challenging for visiting teams. Limerick however will not have such worries as they have been playing in the vast Thomond Park all season in front of average crowds of less than a thousand.
There may even be a better crowd than they are accustomed to as with the college year recommencing UCD will admit anyone with a valid student card for free.
On paper the Limerick team would appear much stronger but two heavy defeats at home will surely have damaged their confidence. They will be looking to Gaffney and Turner to create chances to break through the UCD defence. They need performances from their big players and The Shannonsiders will see anything less than three points as failure.
UCD captain Robbie Benson has other ideas however and see Friday night as a perfect chance to kick-start their season. He spoke confidently to ucdsoccer.com when looking ahead to the game.
“Coming off the back of losing a big game it’s very important to get back on track as quickly as possible and we’re very confident of doing that on Friday. They have lost a couple on the bounce but we know Martin will have them playing well and it should be a great game of football”
Whatever the result an entertaining game is in store in this tie that may lack a bit of glamour for many. Both managers favour attacking attractive football and the squads are full of players that will be entertaining us for years to come. So if you’re a UCD student head along and enjoy the match, it’s free!
Injured: Mark Langtry (Ankle), Tomas Boyle (Hamstring)
Referee: Anthony Buttimer
Assistants: Ken Hennesey, Trevor Cotter
Fourth Official: Adriano Reale
Match Odds: UCD (10/3) Draw (12/5) Limerick (4/5)