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Thursday 26 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Donall Farmer/INPHO Goalscorer Shaun Kelly.
# Nearly there
Limerick's great escape still on after play-off first leg at a jam-packed Markets Field
The Blues sealed a narrow victory tonight as they look to hang onto their Premier Division status.

Limerick 1-0 Finn Harps

LIMERICK TAKE A narrow lead to Ballybofey on Friday as they look to complete their great escape.

Only a cracking Shaun Kelly goal could separate the sides on a night where big openings were at a premium.

A frantic opening was never on the cards – a resolute Harps side were happy to sit in shape and limit to half chances.

The Donegal outfit only conceded 23 times in their 28 First Division games and you could see why.

Playing with three centre halves, Harps packed five into midfield, with Micky Funston playing as the link between them and striker Nathan Boyle.

Little more than goalmouth scrambles and long range efforts scared the visitors in the opening half an hour – until the Donegal man in the Limerick kit sent a packed Markets Field into raptures.

Shaun Kelly checked his run as Ian Turner turned backwards. Kelly received the ball in space and produced a top class strike from all 25 yards to beat Ciaran Gallagher.

A view of the large crowd at the game Donall Farmer / INPHO Fans crammed into Markets Fields. Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Disaster nearly struck for the hosts as goalscorer Kelly headed over an advancing Freddy Hall.

Nathan Boyle got in behind, but the angle was too tight for him to convert.

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The second half was feisty and Limerick got off the hook somewhat. Kelly should have seen red for a lunge, while Banda missed a sitter for Harps after rounding Hall.

The visitors may be the happier with the result – the tie is very much alive.

LIMERICK: Freddy Hall; Shaun Kelly, Patrick Kanyuka, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy; Shane Duggan; Dean Clarke (Lee-J Lynch, 69), Paul O’Conor, Sean Russell, Ian Turner; Vinny Faherty.

FINN HARPS: Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Packie Mailey, Keith Cowan; Josh Mailey, Matthew Crossan (Raymond Foy, 62), Gareth Harkin, Tony McNamee, Ciaran Coll; Michael Funston (Wilfried Tagbo, 81); Nathan Boyle (BJ Banda, 63).

Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin)

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