Limerick FC suffered their first league defeat of the season as they lost 2-0 in Cobh on Saturday evening. Martin Russell’s side travelled to Coleman Park, looking to extend their 24 league game unbeaten run.
Two second half strikes from Shane O’Connor and Robert Lehane gave the home side a well-deserved three points and ended Limerick’s push for an unbeaten league campaign.
The Shannonsiders were attempting to become the first League of Ireland team since Shamrock Rovers in 1927 to go through a season unbeaten.
Limerick made two changes from the side that drew with Shelbourne in Dublin last weekend, with defender Tony Whitehead starting instead of the suspended Paudie O’Connor and Stephen Kenny replacing Garbhan Coughlan in midfield.
Cobh Ramblers, who themselves are chasing a promotion playoff spot, seemed the hungrier of the two sides. The home side started the stronger of the two sides and came close after four minutes but Freddy Hall held well after Garry Comerford’s strike.
Cobh dominated the first half but failed to capitalise on poor defending from Limerick. Cobh came close again with 30 minutes gone but Eoin McGreevy could only watch on as his 20-yard shot agonisingly went wide flying inches past the post.
Limerick didn’t improve in the second half and it was Cobh who nearly opened the scoring in the 54th minute. Freddy Hall could only watch on as the lively Shane O’ Connor headed off the far post after an excellent cross from Charlie Fleming.
As the second half went on, Limerick became more and more rooted in their own half and failed to create any significant opportunity in front of goal. It was Cobh who finally took advantage from Limerick’s poor performance.
A disastrous nine-minute period saw the game fall apart for Martin Russell’s side, as Cobh scored through Shane O’ Connor, Limerick were reduced to ten men, and Cobh scored a second to put the result beyond doubt.
In the 57th minute, Cobh finally opened the scoring when Hall failed to hold a Shane O’ Connor strike from 25-yards and watched on in horror as the ball hit the back of the net.
Seven minutes later, it went from bad to worse for the visitors, when Limerick captain Shane Duggan harshly saw red in the 64th minute. Duggan clipped Craig Donnellan and, to the midfielder’s amazement, the referee produced a straight red card.
Two minutes later, the game was Cobh’s when former Cork City striker Rob Lehane capitalised on some poor defending from Limerick, to double the lead for the home side.
Limerick face Athlone in Markets Field on Tuesday with Martin Russell’s side looking to put a poor run of form behind them in Limerick’s penultimate home game this season.
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt, Ben O’Riordan, Chris McCarthy, Kevin Mulcahy, Ian Mylod, Charlie Fleming (Stephen Christopher 80), Garry Comerford, Craig Donnellan, Eoin McGreevy (Anthony O’Donnell 92), Shane O’Connor, Robert Lehane (Connor Ellis 80).
Yellow Cards: Donnellan (30), Fleming (53), Comerford (62)
Goals: S O’Connor (57), R Lehane (66)
Limerick: Freddy Hall, Paul O’Connor, Tony Whitehead, Robbie Williams (Killian Brouder 86), Shane Tracy; Lee J Lynch (Shaun Kelly 68), Shane Duggan; Stephen Kenny, Aaron Greene, Sean Russell; Chris Mulhall (Garbhan Coughlan 68).
Yellow Cards: Mulhall (59), Kenny (82), Greene (87)
Red Cards: Duggan (64)
Referee: John McLaughlin
Man of the match: Shane O’Connor (Cobh Ramblers)