This was a fairly even game in the opening fortyfive minutes and the 1:1 scoreline at the break was a fair reflection on the play overall.
That said, while chances were few and far between for long periods of the half, the Hoops had certainly shaded it overall.
As early as the seventh minute the Hoops had a golden opportunity to take the lead after Eoghan Morgan was fouled and Darragh Gibbons went close at the post when he met Jamie Hamilton’s free with his head.
The Limerick defence looked solid for most of the game but they were carved open in the 13th minute by Hamilton who sent Jamie Aherne into the box and the latter, having carried the ball right down to the line, released it across the face of the goal where it was met by James Doona on the other side and the midfielder connected just a couple of feet out from the line to plant it into the net.
Limerick didn’t panic though and although the Hoops put some good moves together during the first half they failed to build on their lead. They might have gone 2:0 ahead in the 35th minute when some brilliant piece of defending from Evan O’Connor who made a super intervention to steal the ball off Aherne after the Hoops’ striker had been through by Morgan was a crucial moment.
The Blues looked dangerous on their ventures into the box and were rewarded with an equaliser in the 39th minute after a move that began with Alan Murphy’s throw that was finished by Conor McGrath who had been allowed the luxury of a free header in the box.
Rovers were subdued for much of the second half; the game was ten minutes back on before they had posed any danger to the Limerick goal; Eoin Stokes having provided Doona with the chance but Doona blazed over the bar.
Sean McSweeney’s free for the visitors in the 57th minute taken by McGrath who almost had a second but was denied by the cross bar. A minute after that Luke Rossiter sent a great ball in to Doona but some quick thinking from Declan Cusack averted the danger for Limerick.
It was all happening at this point as Cusack had a shot blocked at the other end by Gavin Kearney. A Rossiter free kick in the 64th minute was headed over by Dean Dillon before Cusack went close at the other end for the Blues.
Two minutes later Limerick missed out on a great chance to take the lead after Cusack went on a tremendous run and squared for Liam McCarten who sent his effort over the bar.
Jamie Wilson then had a good chance too for Rovers in the 78th minute when he put in a cross, perhaps it was a strike, skimmed the bar. Rovers got out of jail two minutes later when substitute Cian Collins cleared off the line.
The action exploded in the final ten minutes after Barry Cotter put Limerick into the lead but it was short lived as Rossiter converted from the spot in the 85th minute.
Limerick had created the better chances overall in the second half but paid dearly for not making them count as just a minute after the Hoops’ equaliser
Cian Collins showed great determination to win the ball and move with lighting speed to knock it further on Aherne to run onto and the striker advanced straight at ‘keeper Carl Williams before shooting at an angle to beat the ‘keeper and score the winner.
This win has guaranteed the Hoops a place in the top four; they have three remaining games in the section to play before the quarter finals will kick in next month. New manager John Martin will be happy overall with the performance.