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Dublin: 17 °C Monday 25 May, 2020

Toner and Keegan help Saints to comfortable win in Limerick

St Pat’s created a host of chances and netted four times in Markets Field.

File photo: Jake Keegan celebrates Kevin Toner early this season.
File photo: Jake Keegan celebrates Kevin Toner early this season.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Limerick 0

St Patrick’s Athletic 4

Andrew Cunneen reports from Markets Field

ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC hit Limerick FC for four at the Markets Field, and in truth it could have far worse for the hosts.

First-half goals from Kevin Toner and Jake Keegan were complemented by an own-goal and a cute Simon Madden strike to hand the Saints a comprehensive win.

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 10 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.

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 own side.

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.  But the visitors weren’t done there.

Jack Brady miscontrolled Colman Kennedy’s backpass and allowed to dribble over the line. Two minutes later, they added another through Simon Madden.

Limerick now turn their attention to a final league game which should see them feature an U19 selection, before surely going in as underdogs over two legs against Finn Harps in the promotion/relegation playoff.

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).

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Andrew Cunneen

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