Limerick FC host Finn Harps at the Markets Field on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 2pm). Both sides enter the game with contrasting fortunes. Limerick have lost their last two games to Dundalk and Bohemians by a one goal margin whereas Harps have picked up four points in the last week following a 1-1 draw with Galway United and a 2-1 victory over St. Patrick's Athletic.
The Shannonsiders endured a tough week as they succumbed to two defeats by the narrowest of margins. The positive feeling after their brave display in Dundalk was eradicated by a poor loss at the hands of Keith Long’s well organised Bohemians side. The lack of creativity that the Super Blues showed in the second-half frustrated the large home crowd in attendance.
Martin Russell has urged his players to react positively to the disappointment of last week. Speaking to the Limerick Leader following the Bohemians defeat, Russell stated “We have a choice between feeling sorry for ourselves or trying to do things the right way. Hopefully, the bit of luck everyone needs will come our way. There was still a lot of good stuff tonight that we can’t just forget. We will continue to work on things.”
The opposition on Saturday will bring back a host of bad memories for players and supporters alike. Limerick were relegated by Finn Harps in 2015 following a 2-0 extra-time defeat in Donegal. Russell will be hoping that his flair players will not be nullified by Harps as effectively as they were two seasons ago. The Dubliner insists there is no early season pressure on his newly promoted side.
“Our position in the table doesn’t add pressure for the Finn harps game because it is still early in the season. The only pressure we always try to is perform. It is very early days in the league table. You are playing for points and yes, they are important. But I think if we continue to play we have in the last two games, even though we got nothing, I think we will play worse and get something. That will happen during the course of the season.”
Ollie Horgan’s troops travel to the Markets Field fresh off the back of a great 2-1 victory over St. Patricks Athletic last Monday night. Although St. Pats have begun the season poorly, many sides struggle to come away with all three points when they visit Inchicore. Sean Houston and on-loan striker Ciaran O’Connor provided the victory for the Ballybofey outfit.
Despite the surprise victory, Horgan was quick bring his players back down to earth and put the victory down to “hard work and luck.”
When speaking to extratime.ie, the Harps manager stated that he felt his side “got away with it” in Inchicore. “We got away with it. There was a period in the second-half when we couldn’t get out of our own half. But we held on and got away with it. I thought in the first-half we were decent. We pressed them high but in the second-half we ran out of links.”
It has been a trademark of Horgan’s to play down his side’s chances going into games and he has subtly mentioned that all the pressure will be on Limerick ahead of Saturdays game.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Horgan stated “We have got four points from the last two games but this is a quick turnaround for us after being in Dublin on Monday night to play Pat’s. It’s a long journey to Limerick so we’re just hoping that the players recover enough to get a big performance that will be needed if we are going to get anything from the Markets Field. Martin Russell would have seen this game against us as a definite chance of three points so the stakes are very high for them after losing to Bohs on Monday night”
The visitors will be hoping that they can replicate the performances they produced two seasons ago against Limerick in the promotion/relegation play-off which proved successful over two legs, particularly at home.
Referee: John McLoughlin
Finn Harps and Limerick met in a two-legged promotion/relegation play off in 2015. Limerick edged the first leg at the Markets Field 1-0. However, the Donegal men came out on top with a 2-0 win in Finn Park. 17-year-old BJ Banda was the hero on the night as he scored the winner in extra-time.
Finn Harps have failed to win in their last four visits to Limerick dating back to May 2011. Harps have suffered four straight defeats on Shannonside.
The victory in the promotion/relegation play-off was the only victory Harps have earned against Limerick in the last ten meetings between the sides.
Limerick 8/15; Draw 10/3; Finn Harps 9/2
Limerick 2-1 Finn Harps
Injured: Shane Tracy, John O’Flynn
Doubtful: Dave O’Connor
Doubtful: Damian McNulty, Barry Molloy
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