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Late Morrissey equaliser sees Limerick escape with a point as Hoops' winless run continues

Danny Morrissey’s late equaliser after 86 minutes earned Limerick a point on Friday night.

Goalscorer Danny Morrissey in action for Limerick on Friday night.
Goalscorer Danny Morrissey in action for Limerick on Friday night.
Image: Harry Murphy

Shamrock Rovers 1

Limerick 1

Aaron Gallagher reports from Tallaght Stadium

FURTHER PRESSURE WAS put on the shoulders of Stephen Bradley on Friday night as 10-man Limerick escaped Tallaght Stadium with a 1-1 draw thanks to a late Danny Morrissey equaliser at the death.

His strike cancelled out a stunning opener from Graham Burke for Shamrock Rovers, before the late leveller was followed by Cian Coleman’s sending off amid high drama and tension in the final five minutes.

Bradley’s side knew three points were crucial after three consecutive losses, against Dundalk, rivals Bohemians in Tallaght and bottom of the table Bray Wanderers seven days ago.

Despite the absence of star striker Dan Carr due to a red card in that 1-0 defeat to Bray at the Carlisle Grounds, Rovers maintained a potent attacking threat up front via numerous channels featuring Burke, Sean Kavanagh and the reinstated Gary Shaw combining.

After a start to the season which sees them sit second from bottom with just two wins in 13 games, Limerick looked destined to be early relegation candidates, but appeared resilient and compact inside the opening exchanges in this game.

Burke, performing his usual playmaker role with expected grace and ease, ran the show outside the perimeters of Brendan Clarke’s penalty area, setting up chances for team-mates before deciding to finally have a go himself.

The 24-year-old’s first shot at goal was all he needed to break the deadlock; a fine 25-yard strike which licked the inside of the post on its way in.

Goalkeeper Clarke had almost every conceivable angle of his goal covered as he anticipated the strike, leaving Burke nothing but an inch in which to squeeze a potential effort in.

But an inch was all the midfielder needed, as he scooped a powerful drive flying through the air before being punctured on its way into the back of the net by the bottom of the post, making it 1-0 after 15 minutes.

Shamrock Rovers v Limerick - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division Burke celebrates with team-mate Lee Grace at Tallaght Stadium. Source: Harry Murphy

Bradley’s side grew in stature thereafter, with captain Ronan Finn coming within millimeters of doubling his side’s tally just minutes later.

His looping header seemed destined for the top corner, before Clarke performed heroics with a sublime fingertip save to force the ball away heroically.

Burke proceeded then to have a personal shoot-out with Tommy Barrett’s defence, who were tested time after time but stood the test to navigate a late blitz before the break was over.

Former Chelsea youth captain Conor Clifford, Limerick’s best asset in recent weeks since signing at the Markets Field, was replaced after just 27 minutes.

Keeping the scoreline at 1-0 come the interval meant the Blues had the chance to recover and potentially eek out some kind of result in the remaining 45 minutes.

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Striker Morrissey struggled to carve out chances on a quiet night up front, but exploded into life with a brilliant effort just inside the penalty area which flew past Kevin Horgan, levelling proceedings at 1-1 and ensuring his side earned a share of the spoils.

The visitors played the final minutes of stoppage with a man less as Coleman was shown a straight red card by referee Neil Doyle for a rash challenge on 18-year-old midfielder Aaron Bolger, but held on despite late pressure to secure a precious point.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Kevin Horgan, Ethan Boyle, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Ally Gilchrist, Greg Bolger, Ronan Finn (Sam Bone 80), Aaron Bolger, Sean Kavanagh, Graham Burke (David McAllister 80), Gary Shaw (Dean Dillon 77)

LIMERICK: Brendan Clarke, Conor Ellis (Shaun Kelly 38), Darren Dennehy, Killian Cantwell, Billy Dennehy, Shane Duggan, Cian Coleman, Conor Clifford (Eoin Wearen 27), Killian Brouder, William Fitzgerald, Danny Morrissey (Barry Maguire 91)

Referee: Neil Doyle

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Aaron Gallagher

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