Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Limerick FC hope to finalise playing squad by December

LIMERICK FC supporters will be heartened to learn that preparations are already well under way for the 2011 Airtricity League First Division campaign.
Hopes were very high in 2010 that the Super Blues could make the jump to the Premier Division and although Pat Scully’s men were more than competitive for the majority of the season their form dipped significantly late in the year and Limerick FC finished fifth.
Sadly, that final placing was in keeping with Limerick’s recent performances in the division - in 2009 the Super Blues finished seventh, in 2008 and 2006 Limerick finished fifth and in 2007 they finished fourth.
Limerick FC have happily, and thanks in no small part to Pat O’Sullivan, put their financial problems behind them and confidently face into the FAI licensing process which begins this week. Indeed, the club is more determined than ever to fight their way back into the Premier Division.
Manager Pat Scully, who will remain with the club until at least November 2011 as part of a contract signed in March 2009, and his management team intend to have the bulk of the playing squad signed by Tuesday, December 14 while pre-season training is scheduled to begin on Saturday, January 22.
The club were delighted last week to announce the significant signing of Kilcornan’s Garry Sheahan who plied his trade for the last two seasons with the Wexford Youths. The lightning-fast Sheahan is a proven goal scorer and a welcome addition to the squad.
“Garry is a player we have tried to get back to Limerick on three occasions,” admitted manager Pat Scully.
“I feel we have signed one of the best forwards in the First Division.
“He will bring real speed to our front line and he is a great finisher.
“He is the right age to be part of our success for years to come.”
Shane Tracy has proven a real leader on the field for the Super Blues in recent seasons, a player Pat Scully was also delighted to re-sign: “I’m delighted Shane has re-signed.
“He has been a big player for us since I came to the club.
“Shane is a top quality player who has a knack for scoring goals and will be a vital part of the club’s future ambitions”.
Club stalwart and captain Pat Purcell has also re-signed for the 2011 season while the presence of Stephen O’Flynn in the playing squad could also prove vital during next season’s push for promotion.
Brian McCarthy, who played 24 times for Athlone Town last season, is another worthwhile addition to the squad while young players like the immensely talented Garbhan Coughlan and Jeffrey Judge will hope to make a significant contribution.
Bryan Murphy and Padraic Quinn, both of Tralee Dynamos, have also signed along with Andrew Bhandarkar, Darren Coleman, Brian O’Callaghan, David O’Leary and Shane Cusack while the club has also indicated that it is in on-going negotiations with other players with a view to agreeing terms for next season.
“We’re in talks with a number of players at the moment and I can see that the players out there are positive about Limerick as a club in progression,” Pat Scully explained.
“We won’t be signing many players as everyone at the club has worked very hard on our underage system and we have some excellent young players who will be part of next season’s squad.
“But we have identified three or four players who we feel can improve us that extra bit we need and I can assure the supporters that myself and the board are working hard to assemble a team we can all be proud of.”
Despite all of those positive developments if John Tierney, a talented striker who has lit up the division with his searing pace for the past three seasons, decides to leave the Super Blues such a departure would be seen as a crippling blow to the club’s ambitions. Limerick FC granted John Tierney’s recent request to be transfer listed and although a number of clubs have shown significant interest in signing the centre-forward the Super Blues remain hopeful that Tierney will commit his future to the club.
Meanwhile it remains to be seen whether Limerick FC will be permitted to return to the club’s spiritual home in the Market’s Field.
The club submitted a bid for the venue, but with the tender process still on-going it is not known at this point whether the Super Blues will be playing Airtricity League football at Jackman Park for the foreseeable future.

Brian McDonnell


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