Limerick made it a hat-trick of victories as their good form continued. Goals from Shane Tracy and the improving Connor Ellis were enough to see off a disappointing Athlone outfit. The midlanders failed to land a blow and fell to their third defeat in four outings.
Tommy Barrett’s side had fired blanks in their first two home games, but suddenly they knew where the net was. Their opener had a shade of fortune about it. Shane Tracy, who has over 50 league goals for the club, delivered a wonderful right-wing free-kick, which eluded everybody before bouncing high into the top corner.
Athlone were to offer little in the opening exchanges, the midlanders were reliant on the influence of Kaleem Simon and Darren Meenan, but neither winger was able to provide the ammunition that Kyle Hogan required. Robbie Williams was dominant at the heart of the Limerick defence once more.
Tracy’s 31st minute goal separated the sides at the break.
Killian Brouder should have doubled Limerick’s lead early in the second-half. The young defender hooked a right footed effort wide, following a free-kick which caused panic in the Athlone defence.
Ciaran Grogan had the visitors’ first real goal scoring chance just after the hour mark. The defender poking inches wide from inside the six-yard box, with the goal gaping.
As the visitors pushed forward for an equaliser, they were punished at the other end by man-of-match Ellis. They had earlier warnings from Kieran Hanlon and Sean McSweeney.
The tireless Ellis got his reward late on, as he double the lead to secure the points. The former Cork City man latched onto a wonderful Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen pass before rolling the ball past Myles. Ellis showed the composure which he lacked at times in 2018, to net his fourth goal in three games.
Limerick move into second with the result, as Athlone fall to fifth following their most disappointing display of the season.
Limerick: Jack Brady; Shaun Kelly, Kilian Brouder, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy; Jason Hughes, Darren Murphy; Karl O’Sullivan (Kieran Hanlon 65), Sean McSweeney, Sean Russell (Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen 76); Connor Ellis.
Subs not used: Tommy Holland (gk), Tomás O’Connor, Ger Barry, Aaron Fitzgerald, Adam Foley
Booked: Kelly (55), Hanlon (82), Ellis (90+5)
Athlone Town: Aaron Myles; Llyod Buckley, Ciaran Grogan, Gavin Kearney (Shane Dunne 28), Evan White; Darren Meenan, Kaleem Simon, Josh Hogan, Rhys Gorman, Keelan Dillion; Kyle Hogan (Evan Pierce 60)
Subs not used: Aaron Brilly, Dean Williams, Shane Stokes, Cian Byrne, Garmoundeh Ta-Uwan
Booked: K. Hogan (55), White (84)
Referee: Kevin O’Sullivan
Attendance: 647 (attendance)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Connor Ellis