Limerick FC have landed a couple of unlikely lads from CSKA Moscow, so unlikely as to seem bizarre.
Midfielder Lubos Kalouda (pictured left), aged 24, 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 featured in Monday evening’s friendly against Sligo Rovers at Terryland Park after touching down in Shannon on Sunday night, 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 however 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 entrepreneur JP McMannus who has invested considerable sums in the playing staff and footballing facilities. The club will play at the state of the art Market’s Field for the 2012 season. A few of Limerick’s top players are reputed to be on salaries of over €1,000 per week. In this economic climate; it’s a fortune for an Airtricity League First Division club to pay on wages. Promotion will be the minimum requirement for the coming season which starts in 16 days time.