As we get set for the Christmas season the sad news of the demise of Limerick FC was confirmed. There was no saviour to rescue them from examinership and the club and its assets will now be liquidated. The club has survived in different incarnations since 1937 but there will be no senior football by the Shannon next year.
And the most frustrating thing from my point of view was the apathy that its extinction was met with. All the hand wringing over the affairs of the FAI and the talk of the future of football in this country and barely a peep about Limerick. The demise of Bury FC trended higher in Ireland than the demise of Limerick which says something about the so-called ‘greatest fans in the World’.
I have nothing but sympathy for all involved with Limerick and their supporters. Huge mistakes were made by the owner who held onto the club for too long despite the interest of several parties. As a lifelong Sligo Rovers supporter, I have gone through times like this. I was part of a group that helped fundraise to pay for a tax bill that threatened the future of Rovers in 2008.
It’s wrong the disinterest that greets the financial fate of clubs in Ireland. It drives me daft that a club with a history like Limerick is just left go to the wind. They were Sam Allardyce’s first club as a manager, George Foreman helped fundraise for them as well at one stage but they will become memories down. Also a lot of money went into redeveloping the Market’s Field and no senior team to play in it.
They had some real financial folly’s including when they rented out Thomond Park for home games which is the home of Munster rugby. It was an ambitious move and it was surreal to watch football there but the Limerick public didn’t transfer their affection from the oval to the round ball game in the manner that the club would have hoped.
That said the shadow of the FAI and John Delaney played a part in the clubs fortunes. In 2011 the FAI stopped the club from playing Barcelona in a friendly. That’s how negative an impact they had on clubs in the League. Could that high profile friendly have helped sustain Limerick that’s something that we’ll never know the answer to.
But I am able to end this piece on a positive note. A new group called Limerick United have formed and have met with the FAI. They will look to retain the club’s underage structure and field sides at U-13, U-15, U-17 and U-19 level whilst also fielding teams in the women’s U-17 and senior leagues. They plan then to field a senior side in 2021.