Monday, February 20, 2017

Limerick FC 3, Blues 1 (17/2/17, Markets Field, Limerick)

This was another very useful outing for the Blues, their last official per-season game. 

Despite the scoreline the game provided the team management with a clear marker as regards two things. First, the assembled squad should be well capable of taking on all First Divisions & most Premier Division sides very comfortably and second, the squad very definitely lacks strength in depth. Up to the break the Blues were cruising and thoroughly deserved their lead at the break but the wheels came off big time after the resumption and no fewer than eight substitutions. The Lims made changes also, maybe not as many, but they dealt with them much better. To be brutally honest, the second half was much like most of last season and those fans who stuck with the side during last year's campaign will be well aware of how bad that was and will hope that those days will never be re-visited.

Star performer on the night was Tom Smith, one of the trialists from Swindon whose energy around the middle of the park was impressive and it wasn't hard to miss him with his mop of red hair. Not eighteen until next weekend he could be a very good signing for the Blues. Garry Comerford also caught the eye in midfield.

Mark O'Sullivan again did what he is best at, finding the net once again, this time with a wonderful lead goal after only ten minutes. Shane O'Connor teed up Dean O'Halloran out wide on the left and his cross was despatched to the net with a firm header by the Blues centre forward. And to be honest he could easily have had another one or two before the break and he wasn't the only one as the Blues availed of some very poor defensive work by the home side before the break. Davie McDaid replaced O'Sullivan in the second half but was unable to show why Nutsy and Rennie signed him, mainly due to the many substitutions. 

On the negative side, Sander Puri failed to impress and might be worried about his place in the starting line up against Athlone and Matt Connor will be very unhappy with the third goal.

All the positives were in the first half and the second will be best forgotten. 

Conditions were excellent. The crowd was small - fewer than 400 were in the Markets Field, including no more than twenty Blues fans. The match officials did well. Blues fans might be puzzled that Pat Fenlon who once again did not travel with the team. 

Next Friday the real deal and a chance for the Blues to kick off their competitive league season with a win against what is considered by most observers to be one of the weaker sides in the division, maybe even the weakest. Regardless, the Blues must deliver a decent result if all the very considerable pre-season hype in recent weeks is to be justified. The indications are that a sizable crowd of Blues fans will travel to the midlands and hopefully they will go home after the game with smiles on their faces.

C'mon the Blues!  

Blues: Matt Connor, Trialist, Dave Mulcahy, Patrick McLean, Shane O'Connor, Trialist, Garry Comerford, Dean O'Hallorran,  Sander Puri, Kenny McEvoy, Mark O'Sullivan.

Subs used: Gary Delaney, Anthony McAlavey, Trialist, Davie McDaid, Robin Dempsey, Conor Whittle, Dean Walsh, Jack Lynch

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