Limerick and Finn Harps played out a 1-1 draw at the Markets Field on Saturday afternoon. Sean Houston gave the Donegal outfit the lead but Rodrigo Tosi rescued a point for the Super Blues.
In a slow opening, it was clear that Harps were looking to press high in order to put pressure on Tony Whitehead, Robbie Williams and Shane Duggan. Bohemians adopted a similar strategy to great effect on Monday night.
The first half chance of the game fell to the visitors as a wind affected cross by Caolan McAleer fell to Danny Morrissey at the back post but he dragged a low effort wide.
Stephen Kenny created Limerick's first chance of the game as he crossed the ball in the direction of Rodrigo Tosi but the Brazilian failed to connect with a header under pressure from Ciaran Coll.
In a half of few chances, a mistake from Freddy Hall provided Finn Harps with the opening goal. A poor clearance from the Limerick goalkeeper fell straight to Houston who calmly placed the ball past the back-tracking Hall.
In the following 15 minutes, the visitors looked incredibly comfortable in stifling Limerick's attacking 4-2-4 style formation with Mulhall and Tosi failing to cause Coll and Killian Cantwell any problems.
Paddy McCourt was employed in a deep lying midfield role and the experienced ex-Derry man almost created Harps second goal.
McCourt's pull back picked out Ciaran O'Connor on the edge of the six yard box but the on loan Dundalk man slashed the ball wide of Hall's left hand post. Kenny responded for the home side with a 20-yard effort which was easily gathered by Ciaran Gallagher.
Approaching half-time, Limerick had a great chance to equalise on the break as Chris Mulhall powered at the defence before releasing Dean Clarke on the right. The former Shamrock Rovers player found Tosi in the box but the frontman placed the ball horribly wide from a great position.
Just like the first-half, the second period began at a pedestrian pace. Kenny snatched at an early long range effort as Limerick set about rescuing the game. Limerick were beginning to apply more pressure and it almost paid off as a deep cross by Kenny allowed Clarke to beat Damien McNulty and rifle a shot into the side netting.
Limerick introduced Lee Lynch on the hour mark and switched to a 4-3-3 formation with Lynch playing as a number ten. In order to counteract the introduction of Lynch, Ollie Horgan brought on defensive midfielder Barry Molloy. The home side struggled to create a chance of note as Harps continued to look extremely comfortable in defence.
Approaching the last third of the game, the Shannonsiders got back on level terms as substitute Ian Turner skipped past Gareth Harkin before crossing to the head of Tosi who beat Gallagher from close range. The introduction of Paul O'Conor and Turner certainly lifted the home side.
Limerick almost snatched a winner from an Ian Turner corner as a powerful Robbie Williams header hit the post. However, a mixture of good defending from Ollie Horgan's men as well as a lack of creative edge from the home side ensured that Finn Harps held on for a point.
Limerick FC: Freddy Hall; Shaun Kelly, Tony Whitehead, Robbie Williams, Tommy Robson; Bastien Hery (Paul O'Conor 69), Shane Duggan, Dean Clarke, Stephen Kenny (Ian Turner 69), Chris Mulhall (Lee-J Lynch 60); Rodrigo Tosi.
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke (gk), Chiedozie Ogbene, Garbhan Coughlan, Sean McSweeney.
Booked: Chris Mulhall (10), Shane Duggan (43), Rodrigo Tosi (89), Lee-J Lynch (89).
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Killian Cantwell, Ethan Boyle, Ciaran Coll, Gareth Harkin, Sean Houston (Packie Mailey 90), Paddy McCourt (Barry Molloy 62), Caolan McAleer, Danny Morrisey, Ciaran O'Connor (Eddie Dsane 78).
Subs not used: Harry Doherty (gk), Jonny Bonner, Michael Funston, Tommy McMonagle.
Booked: Paddy McCourt (20), Eddie Dsane (90), Ciaran Gallagher (90), Caolan McAleer (90).
Referee: John McLoughlin
Attendance: 1,100 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Robbie Williams (Limerick FC).
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