Weekly Observer Desmond Cup 2nd Round (extra time & penalties if necessary).
Pallaskenry AFC vs Granagh United.
After a week’s hiatus we return to the weekly previews with a second round Desmond Cup tie between Pallaskenry and Granagh United. Pallas reached the second round of the competition after defeating Creeves Celtic in a penalty shootout and will be looking to advance over a side who were pushed to their limits in their last Desmond Cup outing. Pallaskenry’s game last Sunday saw them fall to a 2-0 defeat at home to AK United and this would be a fantastic way for them to bounce back. Although not getting many victories at home, they can be a sticky side to get past on home soil and have come out on top against Feenagh and have drawn with Rathkeale B in the league. They have only lost one of their three cup games this season but face their hardest test this Sunday and will have a task on their hands if they are to keep that good record. It took penalties to separate Rathkeale B and Granagh United in the last round of the Desmond Cup with Granagh eventually coming out on top, and they will look to get a win within ninety minutes on Sunday against a side they had no trouble getting past last time around. All three of Granagh United’s cup games this season have been away from home where they have grabbed two losses and a win but they have yet to win inside ninety minutes so if Pallaskenry are going to progress then this might be a great opportunity for them. Granagh have proven their worth away from home in league competition with powerful wins against Glantine and AK united on the road and with an 8-0 win over Pallaskenry under their belt from earlier in the season I see them advancing.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Granagh United.
Weekly Observer Desmond Cup 3rd Round (extra time & penalties if necessary).
Newcastle West B vs Adare United.
Whilst in the third round, Newcastle West B will take on Adare United in the Demesne. Newcastle West B will have a spring in their step arriving to this game on Sunday as they gained promotion to Division Two following their win over Creeves Celtic last Sunday and will look to pick up a fifth win in a row against a side one division above them. Newcastle West B are currently top of Division Three on goal difference and reached this stage of the competition due to a walkover from Rockhill Rovers. Despite not playing in the last round they have shown what they can do against teams from outside their division in the past with wins over Glin Rovers B and Rockhill Rovers of Division Two along with running Pallaskenry of Division One close in a 3-2 loss. Only Ferry Rangers have defeated Newcastle West B in the Demesne (a result which has since been overturned) so Adare United will be very wary heading into this one. Adare United are second in Division Two and will look to advance to the next round after a close 3-2 win after extra-time at home to Ballysteen in the previous round. Their last cup outing on Sunday saw their exit from the Riedy Joinery Cup as they lost 2-1 to Glantine but they will be confident of a win in this cup tie considering the results they have gotten in the past against some great opposition. This is the their second week in a row away from home and they have excelled against tough sides including Glin Rovers B, Knockaderry and St. Ita’s. For this reason I think Adare United should progress.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Adare United.
Weekly Observer Division 1 League Cup 1st Round (extra time & penalties if required).
Glantine vs Feenagh.
Two sides who could potentially meet in the final of the Riedy Joinery Cup will face off in the first round of the Division One League Cup when Feenagh travel to Glantine this weekend. Glantine are third in Division One and are eight points off of the promotion zone and will be keen to get far in cup competitions with promotion being improbable. This Sunday will mark Glantine’s third cup game in a row and they will look to emulate their victory over Adare United last week and make it two wins on the bounce. They have won two of their four cup games so far this season defeating Bally Rovers and Adare United along with losing to Ballingarry and Ferry Rangers. Glantine have home advantage this Sunday and have made it count in all competitions this season as they have not lost in their last four home games and have only lost twice from their eight games on home soil in total. This will mark the third meeting between these two sides with Glantine coming out on top by a single goal in both side’s grounds so it should be just as close this Sunday. Feenagh advanced to the semi final of the Riedy Joinery Cup thanks to a penalty shootout win over Abbeyfeale United B and will be confident of keeping that momentum going with a win against a side they have been unfortunate against in the past. Feenagh are tenth in Division One but seem to be saving their best for cup competitions with three wins from four. Four of their last five games have been on the road so it will not be too daunting of a task to travel to Glantine along with it being their third meeting of the season. Feenagh have only won once on the road in a 1-0 victory against Pallaskenry in the Riedy Joinery Cup and while I think Glantine will take the win, I would not rule out Feenagh at all.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glantine.
Weekly Observer Division 2 League Cup Quarter Final (extra time & penalties if required).
Askeaton AFC vs Bally Rovers.
Our one and only Division Two League Cup game sees two sides who are very close to each other in the league table face off as Askeaton host Bally Rovers. Askeaton are third in Division Two and sit one point above Bally Rovers who have a game in hand. Askeaton exited the Desmond Cup at the hands of Shannonside last Sunday and face a side they have had mixed results against in the past this Sunday. Askeaton lost their first game to Bally Rovers 4-3 at home before avenging that loss in the new year with a 3-2 away win. Askeaton have had poor runs of form at times throughout the season but tend to come back stronger following them. They will consider their loss to Shannonside as a lesson learned and look to move closer to silverware with a win. Bally Rovers left the Desmond Cup in their last game when Abbeyfeale United B put five past them without reply in Riverside Park and a win against one of the stronger Division Two sides this Sunday would be a fantastic result. Having won in Askeaton’s backyard in the first game of the season they will have no doubt in their ability to deliver and they can back that up with two great wins away to Rockhill Rovers and Glin Rovers B. It is a hard one to call with the two varying results these sides have had but I am inclined to lean towards Askeaton to make it two out of three.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Askeaton AFC.
Weekly Observer Premier Division.
Abbeyfeale United vs Glin Rovers.
For the fourth time this season Abbeyfeale United will square off against Glin Rovers in our first Premier Division game of the weekend. Their first encounter saw a 2-2 league draw in Glin, their second game in the FAI Junior Cup saw Abbeyfeale win 2-1 at home while their most recent meeting in the Munster Junior Cup needed extra-time to separate the two sides as Abbeyfeale would win by the odd goal in five in Glin. Abbeyfeale United picked up their second win in a row when they defeated Athea United in the quarter-final of the Premier Division League Cup which was a good result considering they seemed to have hit a purple patch a few weeks ago. Abbeyfeale are fourth in the Premier Division and are fourteen points of the top with four games in hand so every point will count if they are to retain their league title. They have yet to lose in the league from their eight games they have played and will not want to lose that record against a side that they have had some great battles with this season. Glin Rovers made it four games without a loss and picked up their first away three points of the season when they defeated Newcastle West AFC 4-2 last Sunday and will look to pick up their second away victory this weekend against one of the top sides of the Premier Division. Their away form has always been their weakest point but last week’s victory may be a sign of change. They have toppled great sides like Carrig Celtic and Athea United in previous games and have consistently been within touching distance of Abbeyfeale United in their three encounters which is a strong sign of how tough of a side they are. There has never been much between either of these two sides and I see Abbeyfeale making the most of their home advantage and taking the win.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United.
Ballingarry AFC vs Newcastle West Rovers.
Ballingarry take on league title contenders Newcastle West Rovers at the Paddocks this Sunday. Ballingarry lost out to Carrig Celtic in extra-time in the first round of the Premier Division League Cup and will look to return to winning ways on Sunday. Teams have been finding it relatively easy to get results in Ballingarry this season as they have just won six of their twelve home games and three from their last eight. Newcastle West Rovers played Rathkeale for the second time in three weeks last Sunday where they were eliminated from the Premier Division League Cup on a 3-0 scoreline. With just the Desmond Cup and the Premier Division being all that Rovers can contest for they will want get their hands on at least one of the two. That game at the weekend was only their sixth away game this season where they have a record of two wins, one draw and three losses. Their away defeats have come against quality opposition in Rathkeale and Avenue United and so they will be confident that they will have what it takes to overturn Ballingarry considering their league position and results from earlier in the season. It was a 1-1 draw when these two sides met in Woodfield earlier in the season but I think Rovers will win this time.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West Rovers.
Carrig Celtic vs Killeaney.
Carrig Celtic will look to keep their winning form rolling when they take on Killeaney at the weekend. Carrig booked their place in the next round of the Premier Division League Cup thanks to an extra-time win away to Ballingarry and will look to make it two wins on the bounce against a side they edged out by a goal in Knockdown. Carrig’s only losses at home have come against Abbeyfeale United and Rathkeale twice and while their losses were heavy they have been able to hold their own against sides closer to them in the table on home soil. Killeaney were eliminated from the Desmond Cup at the hands of Athea United in their last game but survival in the Premier Division will be their main focus for the rest of the season. Their hopes of staying up were boosted immensely when they defeated Ballingarry at the end of January and thanks to that win they sit ninth in the table and one point behind Athea United who have a game in hand. Their only win this season has come away from home and they can also boast a 1-1 draw against Athea United at the Vales. Killeaney will be up for this game following their last league outing but with Carrig’s strong home record I see them getting the win.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Carrig Celtic.
Weekly Observer Division 1.
Abbeyfeale United B vs AK United.
With only two Division One games this weekend we start off with Abbeyfeale United B as they take on AK United. Abbeyfeale will be hurting after their penalty shootout loss to Feenagh in the Riedy Joinery Cup and will look to return to winning ways against a side they were successful against away from home. With the exception of that cup loss Abbeyfeale have done very well as of late with victories over great sides like Granagh United and Rathkeale B and will look to keep up their great home record on Sunday. They have only lost once at hone with that defeat coming back in September so confidence will be high going into this one. AK United grabbed a 2-0 win away to Pallaskenry last Sunday and will look to make it two wins in a row on Sunday. Their away form has seen them pull off great results in the past with a win over Breska Rovers and a draw with Shannonside being the most noteworthy. Abbeyfeale United B have shown how good they are in the past and I see them returning to form following last week’s loss.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United B.
Breska Rovers vs Rathkeale B.
Breska have had some poor results as of late while Rathkeale B were unfortunate to lose out to Granagh United last week so I see a draw in this one.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Draw.
Weekly Observer Division 2.
Ballysteen AFC vs Rockhill Rovers.
League leaders Ballysteen will look to maintain their title push when they host Rockhill Rovers this Sunday. Ballysteen held off St. Ita’s last Sunday in a 0-0 draw which is a result they will be content with considering they still have a four point lead at the top with two games in hand over Adare United. They face Rockhill Rovers this Sunday and will be out for revenge as they had to share the points when they faced them away from home at the start of the season. Ballysteen have been dominant whether they are at home or away and will be confident of a win with Rockhill’s away form taken into consideration. Rockhill Rovers will have their first outing since their 1-0 win at home to Adare United but they will have a challenge on their hands if they are to pick up their first away win against the top side in Division Two. With just one draw from eight away games and having conceded relatively heavy in most of those games it’s hard to see anything but a Ballysteen win.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ballysteen AFC.
Newcastle West Rovers B vs Glin Rovers B.
Newcastle West Rovers B take on Glin Rovers B in our second of three Division Two games. Newcastle were knocked out of the Division Two League Cup by Shountrade and would put themselves ten points above the drop zone with a win against Glin. Their run at home has been slightly inconsistent with them winning winning two and drawing two of their seven home games. Having defeated Glin away earlier in the season they will be confident in their ability to deliver and pick up the win on Sunday. Glin are ninth in Division Two and will need all the points they can get if they are to survive in Division Two. They have lost their last six games in all competitions with their last taste of victory coming at the beginning of November so a win on Sunday would be a perfect way to maintain a push for survival. Their away form has ultimately let them down this season with their only win on the road coming away to Ferry Rangers in the Richard Hogan Cup and while I expect Newcastle West Rovers B to win I do not think there will be much between them.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glin Rovers B.
St. Ita’s vs Shountrade AFC.
Our last Division Two game sees Shountrade travel to Ashford to take on St. Ita’s. St. Ita’s went five games unbeaten after a 0-0 stalemate away to Ballysteen last Sunday and will look to pick up their first league three points of 2017. Things have gone well for Ita’s in recent games with their last loss coming against Creeves Celtic in the Riedy Joinery Cup in November and a win on Sunday would move them up to third in the table. With St. Ita’s last home fixture against AK United being moved to the Manor Fields in Adare, the Saints will return home for the first time since December where they have improved as the season has progressed as they have not lost from their last three. Their encounter with Shountrade in October saw them come out on top on a 4-1 scoreline and with the familiar surroundings in Ashford they will fancy another win against them on Sunday. Shountrade bounced back from their Desmond Cup loss to Newcastle West Rovers A by defeating Newcastle West Rovers B in the Division Two League Cup to reach their third semi-final of the season. It has been a good season for Shountrade and they will travel away from home for the tenth time this season with the hopes of picking up their fifth win. Their most impressive victories away from home have seen them overcome Ferry Rangers and Newcastle West Rovers B along with a draw against Rockhill Rovers which is impressive considering the teams that Rockhill have defeated at home. Shountrade are a good side but I see St. Ita’s taking this one.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: St. Ita’s.
Weekly Observer Division 3.
Creeves Celtic vs Ferry Rangers.
While the race for promotion may be over, the race for the league title is just beginning as Ferry Rangers travel to Creeves Celtic with the hope of maintaining their title push. Creeves Celtic are fourth in Division Three and are out of contention for promotion so pride is all that is stake for their last two games. Their loss to Newcastle West B last Sunday ensured Newcastle’s promotion to Division Two along with being Creeves’ fourth successive loss. Their last two losses have come at home which is a bad sign going into a game against one of Division Three’s top sides. They have pulled it out of the bag in cup competitions with wins over Kildimo United and St. Ita’s in the Riedy Joinery Cup but haven’t seemed to turn it on in the league. Ferry Rangers are joint top in Division Three and will need to win their remaining two games if they are to get a league title playoff at the very least. The overturning of their victory away to Newcastle West B due to their fielding of an ineligible player has really thrown a spanner in the works for them along with ending their flawless league streak as they are now in a fight for the league title with Newcastle West B. Not everything is doom and gloom for Ferry as they picked up a 1-0 win over Glantine in the first round of the Desmond Cup which made it four wins on the bounce and their third clean sheet from four games. With the exception of the overturned game against Newcastle West B, Ferry Rangers have yet to lose away from home and have been the standout side in Division Three. Only Glin Rovers B and Shountrade have beaten Ferry this season and even though Ferry had to fight back to grab a draw when they last faced Creeves I think that their is a lot more at stake for the Tarbert based side and that Creeves will be focusing on their Riedy Joinery Cup Semi-Final so my prediction goes to Ferry Rangers.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ferry Rangers.
Feenagh B vs Carrig Celtic B.
Feenagh B host Carrig Celtic B in our second Division Three game. Feenagh B’s last outing ended in defeat as Ballingarry put five past them without reply in the Desmond Cup. That loss made it five games since their last result which was a 2-2 draw and Feenagh B’s time is limited if they are to pick up their first league win of the season. Their two draws this season have come against Newcastle West B and Glantine B and they will fancy their chances this Sunday considering there was just one goal between the two sides last time around along with Feenagh having the home advantage. Carrig Celtic B will hope to end a four game losing streak this Sunday and push themselves a bit farther up the table before the the league season ends. This will mark their eighth away game of the season and so far on the road they have grabbed two wins, one draw and four losses. Their away form is not favourable but having defeated Feenagh B at home earlier in the season they will be confident in their ability to do the same again. Carrig were winners last time and I see them coming out on top again this Sunday.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Carrig Celtic B.
Knockaderry AFC vs Glantine B.
The final game of the weekend sees Knockaderry take on Glantine B. Knockaderry defeated Feenagh in their Desmond Cup game two weeks ago and will be confident of another home win on Sunday. They have won their last two home games in a row and despite sharing the points when they last faced Glantine B, they will be more confident of a win with their home advantage. Glantine B’s two game win streak was ended by Newcastle West AFC in the Desmond Cup two weeks ago and they are faced with the tough task of getting their first away result of the season in one of the most difficult grounds. With their respective home and away forms taken into consideration I see Knockaderry taking this one.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Knockaderry.