LIMERICK SEALED THEIR promotion back to the Premier Division with six league games to spare following a 3-2 win against UCD in Belfield this evening, winning the 2016 SSE Airtricity First Division title in the process.
A brace from ex-Student Paul O’Conor aided the Blues in returning to the top flight at the first attempt.
As was the case in the first game of the season, UCD took the lead with a header.
Typically neat interplay from the Students resulted in Jack Watson gaining possession in behind Limerick’s midfield. From there, Ryan Swan peeled out to the left and swung in a cross after Watson’s lay-off. Kieran Marty Waters rose highest at the far post to give Collie O’Neill’s men a surprise lead after 24 minutes.
That lead wasn’t to last too long. Four minutes later, after a bizarre sequence that saw the ball ricochet back off Josh Collins, John O’Flynn found himself clean through on goal. Having time, O’Flynn took a touch before finishing calmly past the out-rushing Niall Corbet.
The champions-in-waiting took the lead 10 minutes into the second half when O’Conor converted. Good work from Stephen Kenny down the right found his teammate just three yards out to tap in after the Corkman’s low cross.
Little more than two minutes later, UCD were level. Maxi Kuougun’s header flew into the net after a corner from the right. There appeared to be a foul on Hall in build-up, but referee Mullally waved away the visitors’ protests.
The goal to seal the Blues’ promotion came 15 minutes from time, when Shaun Kelly squared for O’Conor to notch his second of the game, as the away support were sent into raptures.
UCD: Niall Corbet; Mark Langtry, Josh Collins, Maxi Kouogun, Liam Scales; Greg Sloggett, Gary O’Neil; Kieran Marty Waters (Jason Byrne, 89), Jack Watson (Georgie Kelly, 81), Jason McCleland (Daire O’Connor, 73); Ryan Swan.
Limerick: Freddy Hall; Shaun Kelly (Garbhan Coughlan, 84), Paudie O’Connor, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy; Shane Duggan, Paul O’Conor; Stephen Kenny, Lee-J Lynch, Sean Russell (Aaron Greene, 61); John O’Flynn (Chris Mulhall, 46).
Referee: Andrew Mullally.
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