Limerick fought back twice against Finn Harps to earn a draw in an incident packed clash at Finn Park on Friday night.
Kevin McHugh had given the home side the lead before O’Flynn cancelled that out on 22 minutes.
Debut man Gareth Harkin fired Harps back into the lead on 36 minutes – but Paudie Quinn equalised midway through the second half.
Harps also handed debuts to Conor O’Grady and Paddy McLaughlin. Ciaran Coll made his first start since a cruciate ligament injury against Limerick a year ago.
The home side had a perfect start when Kevin McHugh climbed highest to head home past Barry Ryan from Mark Forker’s superb free-kick.
Limerick responded by dominating the game, with Gary Sheehan particularly impressive, missing one chance by inches.
And on 23 minutes the brilliant Paudie Quinn waltzed past the Harps defence before firing a cross which Stephen O’Flynn tapped home from six yards.
To be fair Harps responded in the same way Limerick had to the home goal and in the 36th minute took the lead again. Captain Kevin McHugh fairly robbed Pat Purcell, fired the ball to Tommy Bonner whose shot was turned over the line by the incoming Harkin.
Referee John Grimes was the unfortunate centre of attention in the second half.
Limerick’s Purcell should have been shown a red car after a last-man foul on Harps’ Mark Forker.
And five minutes later – with the irony not lost on the home fans – Forker was red-carded when he clearly won the ball after a challenge on Gary Sheehan.
Harps fans were furious, an anger that increased when the visitors took advantage of the extra man as Paudie Quinn slid in to equalise.
In the 75th minute the referee appeared to miss an incident where Limerick’s Stephen O’Flynn assaulted Harps’ Packie Mailey off the ball. Thankfully the linesman didn’t – and O’Flynn was sent off.
Harkin and Limerick sub Jeffrey Judge each had decent chances to win it for their respective sides but both failed to find the net.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; James Doherty, Packie Mailey, Paddy McLaughlin, Ciaran Coll; Mark Forker, Conor O’Grady, Tommy Bonner; Gareth Harkin, Kevin McHugh, Marc Brolly. Subs: Keith Cowan, Raymond Foy, Lee McFadden, Oisin McMenamin, Aaron O’Hagan, Gary Whoriskey
Limerick: Barry Ryan; Garbhan Broughall, Brian McCarthy, Pat Purcell, John Frost; David O’Leary, Darren Coleman, Paudie Quinn; Stephen O’Flynn, Peter Hynes, Gary Sheehan. Subs: Chris Breen (Hynes, 55 mins). Jeffrey Judge (Frost), David O’Leary (Sheehan, both 66 mins)
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