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St Patrick's Athletic 1-1 Limerick

Updated: Saturday, 22 Mar 2014 19:17 | Comments

Limerick's James McGrath celebrates scoring the equaliser with his team-mates
Limerick's James McGrath celebrates scoring the equaliser with his team-mates

Limerick FC were resilient and resourceful in earning a SSE Airtricity League Premier Division point against reigning champions St Patrick's Athletic with a 1-1 draw at Richmond Park.

Deadlocked following a poor first half the Saints seized the initiative in the 50th minute when hitting the front courtesy of an opportunistic Christy Fagan goal.

Fagan reacted sharply to slam Chris Forrester's flick to the back of the Limerick net, but Pat's subsequently squandered several openings.

Limerick levelled in the 77th minute when Shane Duggan's pass released James McGrath, who stunned the locals when blasting the equaliser.

A gritty Limerick side were keen to be safe and solid early on as the visitors' disrupted the Dubliners' trademark passing game.

Stuart Taylor's charges were compact with Patrick Nzuzi and Duggan supplying plenty of midfield industry.

The game sparked into life after controversy in the 19th minute when referee Tom Connolly opted not to award a Pat's penalty following a McGrath challenge on Conor McCormack.

Then, on a rare trip into Pat's territory Limerick came within a whisker of nicking a goal as a fine Duggan effort went narrowly wide.

Shane Tracy's diligence in front of the Limerick defence anchoring the Blues midfield meant Pat's were finding it hard to locate space so chances were scarce.

That meant Limerick went in content to be on terms at the interval as Pat's knew that significant improvement was required.

Unsurprisingly there was more of a dash to the Saints football after the restart as Liam Buckley's side hit the front in the 50th minute.

Forrester's subtle touch released Fagan, who confidently drilled the Dubliners' ahead with a crisp left footed strike.

Buoyed up by Fagan's goal Pat’ went looking for another goal and Limerick survived a few scares as last season’s champions were now moving the ball in a clever fashion.

Ian Bermingham's splendid 62nd minute cross found Fagan, but the frontrunner was denied by a smart Barry Ryan save.

The Limerick custodian had to be alert again moments later when making an excellent reflex save to thwart the increasingly influential Forrester.

Pat's hit the woodwork in the 75th minute when Mark Quigley climbed high in a packed area to connect with a Byrne corner, but the crossbar rescued Limerick.

Two minutes later Pat's were stunned as Duggan's delivery put allowed McGrath restore parity and Pat's were suddenly reflecting on their costly failure to add a second.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Conor McCormack, Ken Oman, Derek Foran, Ian Bermingham; James Chambers (Killian Brennan, 86), Greg Bolger, Chris Forrester; Conan Byrne, Christy Fagan (Daryl Kavanagh, 84), Mark Quigley (Lee Lynch, 82).

Subs not used: Rene Gilmartin, Peter Durrad, Sam Verdon, Sean Hoare.

Limerick FC: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Samuel Oji, Stephen Folan, Shane Costelloe (Darragh Rainsford, 38); Patrick Nzuzi, Shane Duggan, Jason Hughes, James McGrath, Shane Tracy; Rory Gaffney.

Subs not used: Ali Abass, Prince Agyemang, Barry Sheedy, Tony Whitehead, Garbhan Coughlan, Val Feeney.

Referee: T Connolly (Dublin).

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