View Full Version : Preview Limerick game

23/08/2002, 9:37 AM
WITH all the excitement surrounding Kildare County’s appearance in the First Division Cup Final, it is easy to forget that the ‘bread and butter’ of the Thoroughbred’s season will begin at Station Road this Saturday night.

County’s first game in the First Division proper is against Limerick, and despite club officials dampening down any talk of promotion this season, County must believe they have at least an outside chance of getting into the promotion play-off’s.

Their form so far this season points to County having a chance of making it into the top four at the end of the season. With the top team in the Division gaining automatic promotion, second, third and fourth placed teams will meet each other in a play-off to see who will get the final promotional slot.

However, the league campaign could hardly start with a more competitive game then against a Limerick side growing in confidence.

These teams already met at Station Road in the first tie of the First Division Cup, and although County came out two to the good with goals from Gorman and Zellor, Limerick were unlucky not to get something from the game.

Since the early promise shown by Limerick in that game, they have gone from strength to strength with a string of four victories in the First Division Cup which meant that they only just missed out on the cup final spot which was won by County.

Limerick’s current consistent good form -despite the set-back of a FAI cup exit against Waterford on penalties- contrasts with the up and down nature of last season.

Last season was very much a mixed bag for the men from Limerick. The team, managed by Noel O’Connor since July 2001, faded badly after some early season promise. Indeed Limerick ended up with the wooden spoon finished the season at the foot of the First Division.

With a shocking 17 defeats and only eight wins to show for their season it was a difficult time for Limerick fans. However this is only part of the story because last year Limerick lifted the League Cup after defeating Derry City in the two-legged final.

Limerick gave gone unbeaten in open play since their opening night reverse to Kildare at Station Road, their only subsequent defeat coming after an FAI Cup penalty shoot-out against Waterford.

Thus everything is set up for a very competitive and close fought battle between two teams going into the season with a fair gust of good form behind them. Expect Limerick to be little tighter in the defence then in the teams first clash at the beginning of the season.

With County with one eye on the upcoming Cup final against Finn Harps, Limerick may sneak away from fortress Station Road with a share of the points.

Venue and Time: Station Road, Newbridge, 24 Aug Saturday 6pm.

Teams’ Form: County WDLWW Limerick WDLWW

Previous Encounters: Kildare County 2 (Gorman, Zellor) Limerick 0 Station Rd 6.7.02

League Position: County (-) Limerick (-)

Leader Verdict: Score Draw


29/08/2002, 1:08 PM
IT was daylight robbery last Saturday night in Newbridge, as the players of Limerick inflicted a home defeat on Kildare County after being completely outplayed for the vast majority of the 90 minutes by the Thoroughbred’s.

Three goals in a second half five minute spell was enough to see Limerick coming away from Station Road Newbridge with all three points in this First Division opener.

Kildare County were beaten by three goals to one, in their first ever Eircom league match at their home ground, not the start to the new season that Dermot Keely would have wanted.

A long range free-kick from Limerick’s Shane O’ Donaghue flew into the top corner on 51 minutes, and came against the run of play.

This Beckham like effort began five minutes of madness for the Kildare County defence. Two strikes moments after O’Donaghue’s goal by Limerick forward Ciaran Foley put clear blue water between Limerick and County.

This smash and grab effort by Limerick meant that County did not get anything from a game they dominated.

Foley’s first effort was a neat flick over Kildare’s keeper- Tadhg Murphy- while his second strike on 57 minutes was a long looping shot over Murphy from 30 yards.

County had complete control of the game in the opening 45 minutes. Kildare had numerous chances in the first half, with Alan Kelly having the best of them five minutes before the half-time whistle. Kelly blasted a right foot volley just past the post from six yards.

Earlier Kildare forward John Ryan saw a point blank header on three minutes pushed over by a one-handed save.

The Limerick keeper Heath was on hand again to save from a powerful shot by Alan Kelly on 39 minutes.

It was the same story again in the second half, before and after County’s five crazy minutes.

O'Connor- who came on as sub for Ryan on 62- should have pulled one back in the 70th minute when Zeller bravely got his head to a Gavin Doyle cross and when the loose ball dropped to O'Connor, the striker struck the ball too hard and it flew off the upright and away to safety.

O'Connor then had the ball in the net in 79 with a strong header from a Cathal O'Connor cross but referee Derek Tomney ruled it out for pushing - it summed up Kildare's evening.

Kildare finally had the ball in the back of the net two minutes into injury-time when Alan Kelly stroked home from three yards after Keith O'Connor squared the ball following confusion in the Limerick defence.

A disastrous start to the League campaign for Keely’s men, however he could take some comfort from the general strangeness of this game.

The only concern would be that Kildare were unable to put more of their chances away that they created through-out the 90 minutes.

Kilkenny City away next week has become a very important clash for the Thoroughbreds who know want to get some points on the board in the First Division.

KILDARE COUNTY - T Murphy; D Brennan, J O'Callaghan, D Maher, G Dykes, B Burke, C O'Connor, S Zeller, A Kelly, M McCann, J Ryan. Subs - K O'Connor, G Doyle & R Scully for Ryan, McCann & Burke 63 mins.

LIMERICK - Heath; Poill, Molan, Finucane, D Whyte, J Whyte, O'Donoghue, Mannering, Donnellan, O'Flynn, Foley. Subs - Ryan for Foley 82 mins; O'Brien for Donnellan 87.

Referee - D Tomney (Dublin)

By David Lynch (Leinster Leader)