Unbeaten Limerick complete their task and return to top flight in style
Two second-half goals from midfielder Paul O’Conor seal win over UCD
Limerick FC players and staff celebrate after the SSE Airtricity League First Division game between UCD at the UCD Bowl. Photograph: David Maher/Sportsfile
UCD 2 Limerick 3
Two second-half goals from midfielder Paul O’Conor at the UCD Bowl ensured Limerick were crowned First Division champions without having lost a game, sealing their immediate return to the Premier Division with six games to spare.
“I’m really pleased we’re back and that Limerick is a Premier Division club again,” said manager Martin Russell.
“It was the manner in which we did it as well. We’ve gone up well ahead of time, playing attacking football.
“The players deserve great credit for how they’ve gone about the season. We didn’t take anything for granted. We’ve seen it through.”
Having enjoyed plenty of early possession, their lead, when it came on 24 minutes, was no more than UCD deserved.
Ryan Swan got free on the left to loop a deep cross to the far post. Marty Waters arrived to plant his header back across Limerick keeper Freddy Hall to the far corner of the net.
The lead lasted just three minutes, though, as a fortuitous ricochet off UCD defender Josh Collins put John O’Flynn in on goal to calmly sidefoot to the net for his 12th goal of the campaign.
Limerick took the lead with their first attack after the interval on 54 minutes.
Chris Kenny got to the end line to cross low into the area where O’Conor was on hand to tap home from just yards out.
In an open game, that lead last just two minutes as Jason McClelland’s deep corner was met at the back post with a towering header from Maxi Kouogun. But on what was their day, Limerick had the final say 14 minutes from time.
Shaun Kelly galloped to the end line to cross low for former Student O’Conor to score with a second tap in from close range.