Limerick looking forward to opening Premier Division campaign at Thomond Park

The First Division Champions begin their 2013 League of Ireland season with a derby tie against rivals Cork City, welcoming the Leesiders to their temporary home
Former Cork City chairman and current Limerick FC chief executive John O'Sullivan is eagerly anticipating the first League of Ireland clash at Thomond Park in the 2013 Airtricity Premier Division season.

Limerick host rivals Cork City in their temporary home of Thomond Park, and a huge crowd is expected to come out to see the Shannonsiders in their return to top flight football. Speaking to the Evening Herald, O'Sullivan spoke of his excitement ahead of the tie. "It’s great for the club, being a Munster derby," O'Sullivan said, "but good for me personally as well, because a lot friends and a lot of people I’ve worked with in the past will be around. I had a great chat with [Cork City manager] Tommy Dunne there today. He’s trying to get information out of me but I’m not giving anything away."

Kickoff for the game has been moved to 5.15 on Sunday to accomodate television coverage, but O'Sullivan feels that the clash will still draw a big crowd. "We’re still expecting lots of colour and noise,” said O’Sullivan. "We have a team that will play entertaining football and if we can’t get people out for a Munster derby after 19 years out of the Premier Division we’ll have to question if we’re doing things right."

It will be the first competitive game for new Limerick boss Stuart Taylor, and the former Drogheda United midfielder is hoping his players don't get distracted by the fanfare ahead of the match. "It’s unusual for the first game of the season to be a derby," Taylor told the Evening Herald, "but it’s great hype for the season’s start. Playing at Thomond will be inspiring for us and then it’s up to us to make it intimidating for the opposition.

"There’s a great buzz about the town, everyone is desperate for the season to start and to see the boys playing in the Premier League. The stakes are never too high for any game. All these attractions are for the supporters, for the club. The players are only dealing with one thing and that’s the football game."

Cork City manager Tommy Dunne is also looking forward to the tie, telling the Evening Herald that the change of venue will be good for the league. "Thomond, with all due respects to Jackman Park, will be a step up," Dunne admitted. "It’s fantastic for the League, it’s going to be a great spectacle. I think it’s going to be a typical derby. It’ll be blood and thunder, neither team will want to lose and I think it will capture everybody’s imagination."