Limerick made a welcome return to the Airtricty Premier Division after a nineteen year absence with a scoreless draw with Cork City.
Limerick went into the game with six of new manager Stuart Taylor's signings. With former Cork City player, Joe Gamble and man of the match Dave O'Leary operating in the middle of the park, it was Limerick who had the upper hand throughout.
The new players settled in well with Nzuzi particularly catching the eye with a good solo run mid way through the second half.
In a game of few chances, the first fell to Limerick when Craig Curran fired a volley over the bar from six yards out.
Cork City offered very little in attack and new look Limerick central defensive pairing of O'Callaghan and Folan dealt well with Daryl Kavanagh throughout.
Led by the impressive Shane Duggan in midfield, Cork City gradually played their way into the game and they missed a guilt edged opportunity after Barry Ryan gifted Daryl Horgan with the ball. Horgan was allowed to run clean through but when faced one on one with Ryan, the goalkeeper made amends for his sloppy kick out.
Moments later, McNulty in the Cork goal almost allowed Limerick debutant Danny Galbraith in on goal after he came rushing out of his area. To his credit, McNulty recovered well to claim the ball from the former Manchester United youth player.
Galbraith enjoyed a very promising debut on the right flank for Limerick. He caused Cork's Danny Murphy plenty of problems and put him in some terrific crosses for Curran.
Two minutes into the second half, Curran again missed a fantastic opportunity for Limerick when he flashed a header just wide of McNulty's post. This would set the tone for the second half with Limerick mounting increasing pressure on the Cork rearguard.
With Nzuzi and Shane Tracy playing as wing backs in the second period, Limerick found plenty of space down both flanks. Tracy in particular was impressive after shifting from the middle of the park to the left side and it was his attacking threat that looked the most promising for the home side.
Mid way through the second half, Galbraith put yet another terrific ball into the penalty area but Limerick once again lacked that clinical touch. O'Leary this time heading over what was a great chance.
This was as good as it got in terms of chances for the home side. In the end both teams cancelled each other out and both were happy to take a point away from a bitterly cold evening at Thomond Park.
Played in front of a crowd of 3,578 Limerick will be hoping that performances such as tonight's can attract more fans to their new home for the coming season. The timing of today's game wasn't ideal with two big English games taking place simultaneously. But those that turned up will have been impressed with the style of football that Taylor is trying to introduce at Limerick.
Afterwards, the new boss was delighted with how his team acquitted themselves: "It was a good start. I'm really pleased with how the boys went about their jobs but to be fair, I wasn't surprised after how they've applied themselves in pre season. I was absolutely delighted with the performance today particularly because it was against a well drilled Cork City side."
The former Hamilton Academical player and coach, who played a key role in the development of Ireland's James McCarthy, was also confident that he and his side could attract even more supporters to Thomond Park throughout the season: "The boys want to make this a fortress and want to get the supporters right behind us and we know that will happen because the passion is in the city. The next home game will be interesting."
Taylor spoke very confidently about the game plan that he has in place for the coming season at Limerick. The change in mind set was clear for all to see tonight with Limerick opting to pass their way through Cork City rather than the direct approach which the Blues fans have become used to in recent times.
If the early signs are anything to go by, Limerick will have more than enough to comfortable survive their first season back in the Premier Division. With club captain Pat Purcell to come back into the side for next Friday's game with Drogheda United, the future is bright for Limerick FC.
Limerick FC - Ryan; Nzuzi, O'Callaghan (Bradley 65), Folan, Williams, Gamble, Galbraith (Rainsford 90), O'Leary, Tracy, Bossekota, Curran.
Cork City - McNulty; Turner (Morrissey 62), D Murphy, K Murphy, Morrissey, Healy, Duggan, Kavanagh (Behan 62), Murray, N Horhan, D Hogan (Rundle 88).
Referee – Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan)
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