A first-half Karl Sheppard goal was enough to give Shamrock Rovers all three points against 10-man Limerick on a wet and windy evening at Tallaght Stadium
Limerick failed to put an end to Shamrock Rovers' nine game unbeaten home run as Karl Sheppard scored the only goal in a close affair at Tallaght Stadium.
It was the hosts that began the brighter of the the two teams. The Rovers players were exchanging the ball quickly and slickly and had their first shot on goal in the opening five minutes; James Chambers hit a hard shot straight at Barry Ryan to warm the Limerick keeper's gloves early on.
His hands were rarely given a chance to cool as Rovers remained in the driving seat for the opening quarter-hour of proceedings. Shortly after, Limerick registered their first shot at goal, as Danny Galbraith had his point-blank range shot at Richard Brush saved.
Despite brief Limerick breaks, with Rory Gaffney in particular trying to make the most of his time on the ball, Rovers dominated the half through great movement and link-up play. Ronan Finn and Billy Dennehy were at the heart of numerous brilliant team moves as the hosts launched wave after wave of attack and on the half-hour mark went ahead. A quickly-taken corner by James Chambers caught the Limerick defence napping and Karl Sheppard was at the near post to toe the ball beyond Ryan.
In stark contrast to the opposition, Limerick appeared to have a clear lack of communication out on the pitch, Galbraith in particular appeared on a completely different wavelength to his team-mates during the first half.
When the teams came out after the break, the pattern of the game picked up where it left off with the exception of Sheppard's link-up play with his teammates, which resulted in the early substitution of the striker.
With the rain getting heavier, the match became a relatively scrappy affair and ever more physical. Axel Bossekota clashed with Chambers on more than one occasion and five cards were issued including a straight red in stoppage time for Limerick substitute Jeffrey Judge for a stamp on Stephen Rice.
Rovers will be happy to enter the mid-season break with their home record intact and will travel to Drogheda with confidence when the league resumes. Limerick, meanwhile, will have two weeks to lick their wounds and prepare to bounce back against Dundalk.