Limerick look secure in third place


Two goals from midfielder, Gareth Ryan, consolidated Limerick FC's third place in the first division as they went five points clear of fourth-placed Galway United - who lost at home to leaders Waterford United on Saturday night - after a decisive 3-1 defeat of hapless Monaghan United at Hogan Park, Rathbane yesterday.

Limerick had few problems in inflicting a seventh successive defeat on free-falling Monaghan and were 2-0 up after 16 minutes.

Both were scored by Ryan, the first on three minutes when he shot home from 10 yards after Jason O'Connor's initial shot deflected to him.

He scored again 13 minutes later with a stunning 30-yard volley after Eddie Walsh's free-kick was only partially cleared by the Monaghan defence.

It was 3-0 four minutes before half-time when Darren Browne dispossessed Monaghan captain, Mark Girvan, to score from the edge of the box.

Monaghan's consolation goal came just before the hour when Declan Casey's back pass went beyond Eddie Hickey for an own goal.

Cobh Ramblers have set their sights on achieving third place in the table after two well-taken goals from 17-year-old Liam O'Connor sent them on their way to a 3-1 win over St Francis at Baldonnel.

O'Connor struck for his first after six minutes when confidently shooting home following an excellent move down the left involving Paul Coughlan and Richie Fleming.

He got his second after 38 minutes when St Francis failed to clear Tony Izzi's cross and O'Connor took two attempts to stab the ball past Stuart Corcoran.

St Francis got back into the match in first-half injury-time when Paul Irwin, making his first team debut, headed home after Cobh's on-loan goalkeeper, Paul Keey, could only push a Brendan Wynne free-kick onto the crossbar.

The second-half never lived up to expectation and appeared to be petering out to a 2-1 win for Cobh when their substitute Kevin Ward deceived Corcoran with a cross shot which went into the net off the foot of a post in the third minute of added time.

Waterford United's physical strength told as they regained their leadership of the division after beating Galway United 1-0 at Terryland Park on Saturday night, despite having to play with 10 men for much of the match. It was their 12th win of the campaign.

Padraig Dully got the only goal of the game after just four minutes when he caught the Galway defence asleep to collect goalkeeper Michael Devine's free-kick, go past Harry Costello, and shoot beyond Gabriel Higgins.

Galway's best chance of an equaliser came on 17 minutes when leading scorer Fergal Coleman was narrowly wide with a diving header from Eric Levine's cross.

Dully was then deprived of a second goal at the other end on 22 minutes when Fran Carter got back to clear his effort off the line.

In a temperamental game, Cork referee Tom Tully booked seven players, five from Waterford, and sent-off their right-back John Power in the 23rd minute for a second bookable offence following a bad challenge on Levine.

Galway generally struggled to come to terms with Waterford throughout and were dealt a further blow on 63 minutes when captain Ronan Killeen was stretched off, after a five minute delay, with a bad knee injury.

In a final flurry, Devine twice saved well from Levine and then Coley Kelly as Waterford held on for a vital win.