The Airtricity League kicks back into action tonight with a renewed anticipation in seeing those players who might make their mark following James McClean’s internatioanl cameo on Wednesday. All eyes will be on Tallaght Stadium where Shamrock Rovers, the defending champions and Europa League history makers, have been busying attracting many of the big name transfers. But few are likely to raise as many eyebrows as Limerick’s recent recruits.
The Shannon-siders have landed a couple of unlikely lads from CSKA Moscow. Midfielder Lubos Kalouda, aged 24, and once hailed in the Czech Republic as the heir-apparent to former Juventus legend Pavel Nedved, and Polish international striker, Dawid Janczyk, also aged 24, have arrived from Russia for a trial with the Airtricity League First Division club.
The pair first featured in a pre-season friendly against Sligo Rovers at Terryland Park after touching down at Shannon airport where they were met by club chairman Pat Sullivan. Both players have great pedigree. Kalouda, from Brno in the Czech Republic, spurred his national team to the finals of the Under 20 World Championships in 2007. He signed for CSKA Moscow in 2008 but has been loaned out to Spartka Prague and more recently, clubs in Russia and Ukraine.
Janczyk joined CSKA Moscow from Legia Warsaw after the same Under 20 Championships, where he scored three goals in four games. He played for CSKA against Inter Milan and made the provisional Polish squad for the 2008 European Championships, but his form has dipped since.
Janczyk has gotten his Limerick career off to a flier by scoring the second in the 3-2 defeat by Sligo. Another Limerick trialist; Derek O’Brien opened the scoring after seven minutes but a brace from Rafael Cretaro and one from Alan Keane ensured Sligo’s victory.
The recent upsurge in talent at Limerick has been largely accredited to multi-millionaire benefactor JP McManus who has invested considerable sums in the club and footballing facilities. Limerick will play at the Market’s Field for the 2012 season. With rumours of top players earning high salaries relative to virtually every other Airtricity League First Division club, promotion will be the minimum requirement for the coming season which gets underway tonight.