Two second-half goals proved the difference as Limerick FC advanced to the next round of the FAI Senior Cup against Cockhill Celtic.
Cockhill Celtic 0-2 Limerick FC
The playing surface at Charlie O Donnell Park was in immaculate condition for this FAI Senior Cup clash between the Ulster Senior League champions and their Premier Division opponents.
Cockhill Celtic included three of their recent signings in the starting line-up, with Lee McColgan, Denim McLaughlin and Brendan ‘Fildara ‘ McLaughlin all getting the nod from player manager Gavin Cullen.
The home side should have gone ahead in the fifth minute when Jimmy Bradley pounced on some loose defending by the Limerick defence to burst through and squared the ball across the edge of the box to the unmarked Gerard McLaughlin. However, the striker snatched at the chance when he had time to control the ball and his weak effort went harmlessly wide, it was a great chance.
Mark Moran and Brendan Fildara both caused the visitors defence some problems from the wide positions and Colm Walsh-Loghlen on the left side looked the most likely to provide the openings for Limerick.
However that early chance for Cockhill proved to be the best opening of the first-half and the game remained scoreless at the break. We didn’t have to wait long after the break for the game’s opening goal. Limerick had made two changes at half-time with Cian Coleman and Karl O Sullivan coming into the game and within two minutes the visitors were ahead.
There didn’t appear to be too much danger when Killian Brouder picked up possession midway inside the Cockhill half but as the defence backed off the big midfielder let fly from 30 yards and the ball flew past the outstretched right hand of Gavin Cullen low into the bottom corner and Limerick were ahead.
Cockhill responded well and Mark Moran’s strong run and shot forced a good save from Jack Brady two minutes later. Two minutes after that Gavin Cullen made an excellent one on one save to deny Shane Duggan and then in the 55th minute Peter Doherty did brillantly to block a goalbound drive from Barry Maguire.
The Premier Division side were now beginning to get the upper hand with their fitness showing against the home side which is yet to start their season. Cullen made another super block save to deny Billy Dennehy’s blockbuster in the 65th minute but one sensed that another goal wasn’t too far away.
It came in the 74th minute when sub Karl O Sullivan raced into the Cockhill box and pulled the back for Barry Maguire to slot home from close range and game over it would seem.
Gavin Cullen made a couple of excellent saves in the latter stages but those two goals early in the second-half were enough to see Limerick through to the next round.
Cockhill Celtic:Gavin Cullen; Jason Breslin, (Daniel Doherty 78), Lee McColgan Peter Doherty; Malachy McDermott, Denim McLaughlin (Daniel Martin Doherty 85), Gerry Gill, James Bradley, Brendan McLaughlin; Gerard McLaughlin (Bart Wesolowski 75), Mark Moran.
Limerick FC: Jack Brady; Shaun Kelly, Shane Duggan, Danny Morrissey, Eoin Wearen; Killian Brouder, William Fitzgerald, Colm Walsh O’Loghlen (Cian Coleman h/t), Barry Maguire ( Conor Ellis 75); Billy Dennehy, Darren Murphy ( Karl O Sullivan, half-time).
Referee: Michael Connolly .