Weekly Observer Division 1.
AK United vs Granagh United
With no Premier Division games this weekend we jump straight into Division One where last year’s Division Two Runners Up AK United face off against the Division Two Champions Granagh United in Kilcornan. This will be AK’s first game in two weeks with last week’s game against Breska Rovers being called off and they will be hoping to get their first win in five games against a side that they pushed to the limit earlier in the year. Last year’s Desmond Cup Semi-Finalists have not done overly well this year but victories against Kildimo United and Feenagh along with draws against Breska Rovers, Pallaskenry and Shannonside have kept them three points off of the dropzone with a game in hand. AK have kept a good record at home this season with two wins, two draws and loss from their five games, A win on Sunday would move them into 6th in the table provided that Rathkeale B lose to Glantine which will give them further urge to grind out the three points. Granagh United scored high while keeping their opponents scoring low for the second week in a row as they defeated Kildimo United 4-1 on Sunday. This win put them back on top of the table by a point and an away three points this Sunday would move them closer to a second league title in as many seasons. Granagh have had a good away record this year with them only losing two of their six games including a narrow 1-0 loss to Feenagh in Extra-Time in the Riedy Joinery Cup and a 4-1 loss at the hands of the reigning Kerry Premier A champions Dingle Bay Rovers in the FAI Junior Cup. Having defeated AK earlier in the season as well as picking up a 4-0 victory against them in Kilcornan last season, I see Granagh maintaining their lead at the top of the table with a win on Sunday.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Granagh United.
Glantine vs Rathkeale B
Fifth place Glantine host sixth placed Rathkeale B with both sides looking to move closer to the top four. Glantine grabbed a good 0-0 draw away to fourth placed Abbeyfeale United B two weeks following two successive losses in the league. With a 6-0 home win against Division Two’s Bally Rovers in the Riedy Joinery Cup the week prior, spirits will be high for Glantine going into this contest especially when they picked up a 2-1 win against Rathkeale B in Holycross in their first encounter. They seem to be emerging from the slump they were in a few games ago and if they can go on to do as well as they did at the start of the year then they could still be near the promotion zone come the end of the season. Rathkeale B made it three games without a loss last Sunday as a late penalty meant they shared the points with Pallaskenry in a 5-5 draw. This was a good result for Rathkeale B considering they came from behind several times throughout the game. A win for them this Sunday would be fantastic also as they fell to some tough losses earlier in the season. Both sides are close in the table and have started good runs of form but with Glantine picking up the victory last time around as well as getting two good results in their last outings, I see them getting the points this Sunday.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glantine.
Shannonside FC vs Abbeyfeale United B
Abbeyfeale United B travel to Borrigone to take on Shannonside in their third tough league game in a row. Having had to face off against Glantine and Granagh United in their games prior to this one, Abbeyfeale will be glad of the Christmas break following this fixture. The majority of Abbeyfeale’s success this season has been away from home with them winnings five of their seven games so an away trip for them like the one that awaits them this Sunday will not be daunting. A win on Sunday will put them joint third with Breska Rovers and with victories against the likes of the previously mentioned Breska Rovers and AK United, they will see this as a game that they can win. Shannonside made it six games without a loss with a convincing 4-1 victory against Feenagh two weeks ago and they will look to maintain their undefeated streak in the league with another win against a high placed side in Abbeyfeale United B. This will only be Shannonside’s fifth home game in all competitions this Sunday but they have yet to lose at home with two wins and two draws from their four games on their home turf. Having recorded victories against Granagh United and Breska Rovers along with draws against sides like Glantine and AK United, there is no doubt that they really are a great team. It was a 1-1 stalemate when these two sides met on the first day of the season in Riverside park but Shannonside have showed their class throughout the season and seem destined to return to the Premier Division and so I see them picking up the three points.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Shannonside FC.
Weekly Observer Division 2.
Ballingarry B vs Adare United
The team at the bottom of Division Two host the team at the top as Ballingarry B take on Adare United in the first of three Division Two games. Ballingarry B fell to a slim 1-0 loss at the hands of Shountrade last week, a tough loss for them considering their victory in their last outing against Newcastle West Rovers B. Their defence has improved over the course of their last two games conceding a goal in each which is good considering they concede almost four per game on average. With them facing off against the high scorinng league leaders they will need to keep even tighter at the back if they are to grab a result. Adare recorded their third victory in a row and their third clean sheet of the season as they defeated Carrig Celtic B 3-0 in the Riedy Joinery Cup at the weekend. This was another good result for them as they continue their great run of form in all competitions and a win this Sunday will keep them on top of the table as they head into the Christmas break. Their away form has been great too which will stand to them going into this game as they have won six of their seven games on the road. This may be the first league meeting between these two sides this season but they have crossed paths earlier in the year as Adare picked up a 5-1 victory in Deerpark Estate in the second round of the Richard Hogan Cup. With a convincing win like that I see Adare maintaining their league lead with three points in what will be their fifth away game in a row.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Adare United.
Ballysteen AFC vs Bally Rovers
Bally Rovers will look to leapfrog over three teams into second position in the table with a win this Sunday as they travel to Ballysteen. Ballysteen suffered their first loss in three games as they lost 4-1 to St. Ita’s in the Richard Hogan Cup on Sunday and will want to get back on track and keep their unbeaten league form alive this Sunday. Their league wins have been for the most part convincing this year with victories against St. Ita’s, Askeaton and Glin Rovers B being the ones that stand out the most. With them playing seven of their eleven games this year at home, they will be more than familiar with their own backyard and particularly confident considering their two losses were against Listowel Celtic and Carrig Celtic. Bally Rovers sit fifth in the table at present and have had an inconsistent form thus far this season, managing to only get two successive victories once this year. Whilst having good wins against the likes of Askeaton and Rockhill Rovers, they have also fallen to two defeats at the hands of Newcastle West Rovers B as well as a loss to Shountrade. I feel that Ballysteen’s loss last Sunday was a blip for them and that they will keep the pressure on Adare with a win on Sunday.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ballysteen AFC.
Shountrade AFC vs Glin Rovers B
Shountrade will look to continue their flying form with another win this Sunday when they take on Glin Rovers B in our final Division Two game of 2016. Tommy Stokes’ second half header was enough for Shountrade to take the points in their league game against Shountrade last Sunday, a victory which made it three in a row for them. That was also their fifth clean sheet of the year for them, another impressive stat for a side that have really been on the up as of late. Their two victories prior to last week’s win against Ferry Rangers and Newcastle West Rovers B are true signs of how capable they are as well as their 2-0 away win against Bally Rovers earlier in the year. This will be their sixth home game of the season and they have had good fortunes in their previous five games with three wins, a draw and a loss which shows how tough it is to get a result there. Glin Rovers B have had a torrid time of it as of late with their home loss to Adare two weeks ago making it three losses in a row. Despite only having three wins in all competitions this year they are a very competitive team having recorded a draw against Adare United in their first game of the season as well losing by narrow margins to Newcastle West Rovers B and Newcastle West B also. I think this is a game that both sides are capable of winning and I would not be surprised if it went either way but Shountrade are looking great at the moment and so I see them defeating Glin Rovers B this Sunday.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Shountrade AFC.
Weekly Observer Division 3.
Creeves Celtic vs Feenagh B
We move on to Division Three where Creeves Celtic will hope to make it four wins in a row when they host Feenagh B in Newbridge. Creeves have had an excellent run of form as of late with two impressive cup victories and two clean sheets against Division Two’s St. Ita’s and Division One’s Kildimo United as well as a win against Carrig Celtic B in the league. These are some good wins which shows that they are a side that are more than capable of being promoted to Division Two. Newbridge is a tough place to get a result as proven by the fact that Creeves have won three of their five games there. Seamus Mangan grabbed one of the four goals in their victory against Kildimo United and is a fantastic player. Having won the Division Two Player of The Year Award last year with countless goals he has continued his form into this season and will be looking to add to his tally on Sunday. Feenagh B were edged out by Ferry Rangers in a seven goal thriller as Ferry took the points back to Tarbert winning 4-3. A tough loss for Feenagh but considering they put it up to a side who are on top of their division and have been very strong in all competitions they can take pride in that narrow loss. That defeat along with a 2-2 draw in the game prior against Glantine B shows that they are improving as of late and will be looking to make amends for their 3-1 home loss to Creeves Celtic in their first game of the season. Creeves Celtic have been playing excellently as of late and while Feenagh B are beginning to hit their stride, I think that Creeves are a classy outfit that will show what they are capable of with three points this Sunday.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Creeves Celtic.
Knockaderry vs Carrig Celtic B
In what promises to be a competitive game, Knockaderry take on Carrig Celtic B for the second time this season. Knockaderry’s loss to Newcastle West B two weeks ago meant that it has been five games without a victory for them, something they will look to eradicate on Sunday. Being at home is something that they will use to their advantage having done it in the past with a win, a draw and a loss from their three league home games along with a victory against Division Two’s Askeaton in the Richard Hogan Cup. Carrig Celtic B have not had a great time of it either as they have failed to record a win from their last three games following last Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Adare United in the Riedy Joinery Cup. They have done okay in their league campaign with a win against their opponents this Sunday along with victories over Glantine B and Feenagh B and have yet to be kept scoreless either. This is a tough game to call and both sides are very close to each other in the table and so I think that a draw is the most likely outcome.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Draw.
Newcastle West B vs Ferry Rangers
We will close out this week’s preview with a top of the table clash as Newcastle West B host Ferry Rangers in the Demesne on Sunday. With them being pipped by a single goal in their last encounter and with three points putting them joint top with the visitors, Newcastle West B will be out for revenge this Sunday as they continue their bid for the Division Three league title. They’ve recorded two good wins since they last faced their opponents this Sunday with a 1-0 away win against Knockaderry and a 4-3 win against Division Two’s Glin Rovers B in the Quarter-Final of the Richard Hogan Cup. After a slow start where they recorded two draws and a loss from their first three games in all competitions, they have gone into overdrive winning five of their last six games including a late 1-0 victory in the Richard Hogan Cup against another Division Two team in the form of Rockhill Rovers. Ferry Rangers returned to winning ways last Sunday as they defeated Feenagh B 4-3 away from home last Sunday. A win this Sunday will see them go at least four points clear at the top of the table and will place them in a fantastic position to gain automatic promotion at the very least. Ferry have only played away from home three times this year but have not lost any of them with two wins against Glantine B and Feenagh B along with a draw against Knockaderry. Newcastle may have the bragging rights of defeating two Division Two teams this year but Ferry can boast a 5-2 home victory against Division One side Rathkeale B in the Riedy Joinery Cup, an impressive feat. They have played nine games in all competitions, winning five, drawing two and losing two against Division Two’s Glin Rovers B and Shountrade. With no league losses so far this season there is a lot at stake for them this Sunday as they look to maintain their streak as well as their position on top of the table. I said last time that Ferry Rangers would defeat Newcastle West B in Tarbert but that it would be a different story when they faced off in the Demesne and I still feel that way. I feel that the narrowness of the pitch in Tarbert aided a very physical Ferry Rangers side in getting the victory in their first encounter but I think that a great footballing side like Newcastle West B will utilise the width of the pitch in the Demesne to their advantage and get the victory to go joint top.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West B.
That concludes the last preview of the Limerick Desmond League until after Christmas. I have been writing these with quite a few weeks now and I really hope that you are enjoying reading them as much as I am enjoy writing them. There is a still a lot more to come from the season as Abbeyfeale United will continue their campaign in the FAI Umbro Junior Cup as they host Navan Cosmos in the last 32 of the competition. There is also the Munster Junior Cup where the previously mentioned Abbeyfeale will be at home to Youghal and Broadford United will be at home to Tower FC in the last 32. While closer to home we will see the beginning of the league cups and most importantly the opening rounds of the holy grail of Desmond League Soccer, the Desmond Cup. I hope that everyone has a happy Christmas and is as geared up for the return of Soccer afterwards as I am.