St Patrick’s Athletic hit Tommy Barrett’s Limerick for four on Friday night, but in truth it could have been ten in their Premier Division encounter at the Markets Field. .
Kevin Toner and Jake Keegan grabbed first half goals before an own goal and a clever Simon Madden strike added further gloss.
Limerick have their minds fully fixed on their promotion/relegation playoff, but because of a lengthy injury list, Tommy Barrett was forced into playing a strong XI, with four of their five outfield substitutes under the age of 21.
A change of goalkeeper was the most notable of the four switches the Blues boss had to make, as Jack Brady replaced Tommy Holland. Kilian Cantwell, Killian Brouder and Cian Coleman also made way for a debuting Tomás O’Connor, – a brother of Leeds United’s Paudie – Colman Kennedy and Karl O’Sullivan.
As much uncertainty as there seems to be around Limerick, Pat’s are now in an unfamiliar position themselves following the departure of long-term boss Liam Buckley. Interim boss Ger O’Brien made three switches himself from the Saints’ disappointing 1-0 loss to Shamrock Rovers at Richmond Park – Mick Leahy, Jamie Lennon and Ryan Brennan came out of the lineup, with Joe Manley, Conan Byrne and James Doona coming into the XI.
The home side had kept just a single clean sheet at home in the league all season and ten minutes into this one, they would fall behind.
Having struggled to defend set pieces all year, the visiting Saints became the latest team to benefit. Lee Desmond rose highest to meet Conan Byrne’s deliciously-lofted cross, but the bar would deny him.
Limerick’s hesitancy to clear their lines would ensure Kevin Toner wouldn’t be, though. He fired low into the net, clearly frustrating Blues ‘keeper Jack Brady.
That’s full time. Comprehensive 4-0 win for the Saints in Limerick pic.twitter.com/U4vXiyhAQ3— St Patrick's Athletic FC (@stpatsfc) October 19, 2018
You don’t often associate Ian Bermingham with the right flank. The left-footer has forged a career almost exclusively occupying the opposite wing, but he gambled following a set piece.
Staying in the Limerick, Bermingham received a beautiful cross-field ball before teeing up Jake Keegan in the middle of the goal to tap home.
The result was put to bed and the tiny crowd in attendance would have been put to sleep if entertainment levels were exclusively dependent on their ATHLETICside.
Liam Buckley may have left the Saints a couple of weeks ago, but his brand of football is still very much in the DNA of this team – a minor consolation for the sparsely-occupied home stand.
Two second half goals further enhanced the scoreline within the opening few minutes of the second half. First, Colman Kennedy’s pass was miscontrolled on the line and allowed trickle over it by Jack Kennedy, before Simon Madden added a fourth.
Limerick travel to Ballybofey in ten days to decide what division they’ll be in next season, and in current form, will be underdogs.
Limerick: Tommy Holland; Shaun Kelly (Aaron Fitzgerald, 66), Tomás O’Connor, Colman Kennedy, Shane Tracy; Shane Duggan, Darren Murphy; Karl O’Sullivan, Barry Maguire (Adam Foley, 77), Billy Dennehy; Danny Morrissey (Connor Ellis, 70).
St. Pat’s: Brendan Clarke; Simon Madden, Kevin Toner, Joe Manley (Killian Brennan, 46), Ian Bermingham; Conor Clifford (Ryan Brennan, 66), Lee Desmond; Conan Byrne, Darragh Markey, James Doona; Jake Keegan (Achille Campion, 70).
Referee: J McLoughlin (Westmeath).