Longford Town fell to their second league defeat of the season on Friday night last when a Jeffrey Judge goal five minutes into the second half was enough to give Limerick all three points at Jackman Park.
AIRTRICITY LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION - Limerick 1, Longford Town 0
It was tough luck on the Town that they didn’t come away with anything but over the course of the game, despite creating chances. The visitors didn’t really test the Limerick keeper Barry Ryan but looked more threatening in attack when they introduced striker Austin Skelly and went two up front.
Up until the introduction of Skelly in the 59th minute, Don Cowan did very well while playing the lone striker role and worked extremely hard. He gave the Limerick defence a torrid time in the first half and had claims for a penalty turned down in the 34th minute. Referee Jim McKell hesitated in making his decision; it looked like he was pointing to the spot but instead gave a corner to the Town.
Speaking of Skelly, it was great to see the former Athlone man finally make his league debut for the Town. The striker had picked up an Achilles injury in a pre-season game against UCD in early February. He looked eager when he came on and got in good positions but is still not match sharp. Himself and Cowan have the potential of forming a very good partnership and the two should work very well together up front for the Town. There is no doubt goals will be scored.
The Town may have signed former Northern Ireland International Keith Gillespie but when you compare the Longford squad to Limerick’s, there is a huge difference. The Munster club were able to go out and sign Corrie Treacy and Sean O’Connor recently and have a wealth of talent at their disposal. Still the Town have a team that can compete and if they cut out making mistakes they will certainly cause any team problems.
Straight from the kick-off. Limerick had their first chance on goal; Judge played a perfect ball into Chris Breen but his effort went wide. One minute later Town keeper Alvin Rouse was forced into making a save from Padraig Quinn while Shane Treacy flashed a shot wide in the 18th minute as Limerick continued to dominate.
The Town enjoyed some possession but failed to create any real chance of note apart from the penalty claim in the 34th minute when Don Cowan appeared to be brought down in the box but the referee awarded a corner instead which came to nothing.
In a tight game with nothing much between the sides the opening goal was always going to be crucial. Five minutes into the second half and the deadlock was broken. Jeffrey Judge picked the ball up on the edge of the box, went bearing down on the Town goal and coolly slotted the ball past the Town keeper Alvin Rouse.
That goal spurred on the home side and they had numerous chances shortly after to double their advantage. Shane Treacy had a goal ruled out for offside in the 53rd minute while former Town defender Brian McCarthy brought a save out of Rouse one minute later.
Town manager Tony Cousins decided to make a change and introduced striker Austin Skelly in the 59th minute, switching to a 4-4-2 formation and there was plenty of time for them to try and get something out of the game.
Don Cowan had a great opportunity for a Town equaliser in the 78th minute but his header just went over. As the clock ticked down Longford tried hard to salvage a point but Limerick stood firm and held out for the victory.
LIMERICK: Barry Ryan, John Frost, Brian McCarthy, Pat Purcell, CorrieTreacy, Jeffrey Judge, David O’Leary, Padraig Quinn, Shane Treacy, Chris Breen, Peter Hynes.
Subs:- Sean O’Connor for S Treacy (86 mins); Peter White for Quinn (89 mins).
LONGFORD TOWN: Alvin Rouse, Niall O’Reilly, Des Hope, Chris Deans, Michael Lee, Aidan Roche, Craig Walsh, Thomas Hyland, Mark Salmon, Jacques Morley, Don Cowan.
Subs:- Austin Skelly for A Roche (59 mins); Jason Oladele for Morley and Lee Roche for Walsh (88 mins).
Referee: Jim McKell (Tipperary)