Weekly Observer Desmond Cup 3rd Round (extra time & penalties if required).
Broadford United vs Newcastle West Rovers.
A place in the Quarter Finals awaits the winners of this contest as Broadford United host Newcastle West Rovers in the third round of the Desmond Cup. Broadford are third in the Premier Division sitting three points behind Rovers with a game in hand. Their 3-1 loss to Newcastle West AFC was a shock to many, and so they will be determined to advance in the Desmond Cup with it being one of the two domestic competitions they remain in. Having received a walkover in the first round and a bye in the second round, this will be their first official game in the competition this season but they have been successful in other cups with them being in the last four of the Munster Junior Cup along with having great endurance with three of their cup games going to extra-time this season. They have lost two of their nine home games this season and will have a point to prove after last week’s loss as well as their loss to Rovers in October. This will be Newcastle West Rovers first game in over a month and they will look to replicate their 3-0 win away to Ballingarry when they travel to Broadford. They have had one game in this competition so far which was a convincing win over Shountrade and they would be considered one of the most feared teams in the competition should they advance on Sunday. They have been fortunate enough to spend most of their time at home but have been able to record three wins and one draw from seven trips away from Woodfield. Despite Rovers coming out on top last time I feel that Broadford will be too much for them this Sunday.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Broadford United.
Weekly Observer Division 1 League Cup Quarter Final (extra time & penalties if required).
Pallaskenry AFC vs Breska Rovers.
For the fourth successive week Pallaskenry will be in cup action as they host Breska Rovers in the Quarter Final of the Division One League Cup. Pallaskenry are ninth in Division One but despite their low position have overturned some of the division’s top sides in cup competitions with two wins over Abbeyfeale United B and one against Granagh United. They are on a hot streak of three wins in a row and will be confident of making it four when they face off against a Breska side who fell to defeat last weekend. Breska Rovers are fifth in Division One and had an upset loss to Kildimo United last Sunday. This is the only competition they can still win this season and while they will fancy their chances with two victories over Pallas under their belt, they will be cautious of them considering their recent remarkable results. With the great run that Pallas are on I cannot see it stopping and so I see them advancing to the Semi Final.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Pallaskenry AFC.
Weekly Observer Premier Division.
Rathkeale AFC vs Glin Rovers.
Rathkeale will look to move closer to the league title when they take on Glin Rovers in our first of three Premier Division games. They have yet to lose from twelve league games but having drawn their last two they will be keen to get three points. They were made to earn their victory against Knockaderry but have done well otherwise having kept clean sheets in six of their last eight games in all competitions. They have only lost once at home all season and will be confident of a win considering they were able to grind out three points in Glin earlier in the season. Glin are sixth in the table and have been unfortunate in their last two games with them losing out on penalties to Broadford United in the Premier Division League Cup along with a narrow 1-0 loss to Abbeyfeale United the week before. This Sunday they face a third challenging fixture and an even more uphill task considering the contrast between their away record and Rathkeale’s home form. With only one win and three draws from eight trips away from home along with only one of those results coming against a team higher than them in the table, I see Rathkeale making it thirteen league games unbeaten.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Rathkeale AFC.
Carrig Celtic vs Abbeyfeale United.
Abbeyfeale will look to pick up their second win in four days when they travel to face Carrig Celtic at the weekend. Fifth placed Carrig made it two wins on the bounce when they defeated Athea United at the Vales and will be hopeful of making it three when they return to home soil for the visit of Abbeyfeale. They have been kept scoreless in their last two home games and will have a hard time ending that dry streak against a side they have only scored one goal against in their last two meetings. Abbeyfeale were 3-0 winners against Newcastle West AFC in the Premier Division League Cup midweek and a win this Sunday would put them joint second with Newcastle West Rovers with a game in hand. They have won their last five games and have kept clean sheets in four of those which is an excellent record that they will undoubtedly want to keep going. In the two times these sides have met this season Abbeyfeale United have come out on top on four and six goal margins so I see them taking the victory here.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United.
Athea United vs Ballingarry AFC.
Our last Premier Division game is a relegation six pointer between Athea United and Ballingarry. Ninth placed Athea are just one point behind Ballingarry and will fancy their chances having been unlucky to lose out to Carrig. Five of their six points this season have come at home which is a strong record that will stand to them against a side who have not fared well on the road. Ballingarry lost 3-0 away to Abbeyfeale United in their last game and will want to improve on their recent results. They have won two of their last five games with both of those victories coming against sides in Division Two and Three and have not beaten a fellow Premier side since the start of January. Their away record is not fantastic but they have gotten impressive results in the past including a 1-1 draw with Newcastle West Rovers and a 4-0 win over Killeaney. Only one goal separated the sides when they last met at the Paddocks in the Munster Junior Cup but I see this one ending in a draw.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Draw.
Weekly Observer Division 1.
Feenagh vs AK United.
Feenagh will look to continue their escape from the relegation zone when they face AK United this Sunday. They bounced back from their Riedy Joinery Cup Semi Final defeat by defeating Rathkeale B 3-2 in Holycross last Sunday and will look to make up for their loss to AK earlier in the year by grabbing three points this Sunday. Their last home game saw them defeat Abbeyfeale United B on penalties in the Riedy Joinery Cup Quarter Final while past victories over Kildimo United and Granagh United and a draw with Pallaskenry are worth mentioning also. AK sit sixth in the table and have been inconsistent as of late having not won two games on the bounce since October. This Sunday marks their fourth away trip in a row and they have only managed two wins and one draw from ten games on the road. It’s a tough one to call with both teams being relatively close but I think AK will take it.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: AK United.
Shannonside FC vs Granagh United.
Shannonside could book their place in next season’s Premier Division with a win over second placed Granagh United. While they have yet to be defeated in league competition this season, they suffered their first loss in eleven games when Kildimo United knocked them out of the Division One League Cup last Sunday. That loss will act as a wake up call to the side and they will want to get back in gear this Sunday with a win against a side they were able to deliver against away from home. They have only played seven games in Borrigone but are a force to be reckoned with on home soil with five wins and two draws. Granagh’s rough patch continued when they lost for the second game in a row against Rathkeale B two weeks ago. They will hope that they can return to the form that has put them second in the league table this Sunday but face a stiff challenge against the undefeated league leaders. Thirteen of their thirty four points have come on the road with four wins, one draw and one loss while they have won five and drawn one of their eleven away trips in all competitions. With Shannonside being so dominant in the league this season I cannot see anything but a home win.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Shannonside FC.
Weekly Observer Division 2.
St. Ita’s vs Newcastle West Rovers B.
Our coverage of Division Two begins with Newcastle West Rovers B’s trip to Ashford to take on St. Ita’s. Sixth placed St. Ita’s have endured a tough time of it as of late having lost their last four games along with being kept scoreless in four of their last five. They face a side this Sunday that they were unfortunate not to get three points from earlier in the season and they will be out to end that losing streak this weekend. They have done okay at home with three wins from seven and they will have to work hard for a win considering Rovers B have always had their number in past encounters regardless of form. Newcastle West Rovers B are two points behind them in seventh place and were denied an upset victory over Ballingarry in the Desmond Cup. They will take pride in having taken a Premier Division side to extra time and will look to build on that with a result this Sunday. They have not fared as well in the league as they have done in cup competitions but have still done well with one win, three draws and one loss from their last five league games. With ten away games under their belt so far this season they have gathered four wins and six losses so they will be up against it this Sunday. There is never much between these two sides so I see another stalemate.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Draw.
Glin Rovers B vs Askeaton AFC.
Glin Rovers B host Askeaton in our second Division Two game. Glin are four points away from safety with a game in hand and will need to make the most of it if they are to survive. They have done poorly as of late having not scored in their last three games and not picking up a win since November. With all that said they only lost out by a single goal when they travelled to Askeaton earlier in the season so hopes will be high about a result. Askeaton are eight points off of promotion with two games in hand and they will look to make up for their dropped points last Sunday. They drew with Shountrade for the second time this season in their last game and will need to improve on their away record of two wins and one draw from eight games if they are to win this Sunday. This should be another close game which Glin will fancy their chances in but I see Askeaton coming away with this one.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Askeaton AFC.
Shountrade AFC vs Adare United.
Adare United face a tough trip to Shountrade as they continue their bid for promotion. Fifth placed Shountrade picked up a good point away to Askeaton last Sunday and will fancy their chances at home to Adare United considering the results they have accumulated in recent times. They have not lost in their last four games and have only lost two of their last eleven. Shountrade have always been strong at home having won six and drawn once in nine games and have improved immensely since the beginning of the season. They have overturned some strong sides including Glantine and St. Ita’s and have been so consistent lately to the point that Adare will definitely be cautious heading into this one. Second place is all Adare United can compete for with Ballysteen clinching the title last week but they will be full of confidence that they can secure that spot after their 5-0 win over St. Ita’s last Sunday. They have won their last four games in a row but will not be facing the same side they defeated 7-1 earlier in the season. In those last four games they have scored a minimum of three goals in each and they will need their shooting boots on again this Sunday considering Shountrade have only let in two goals once in their last four games. This is a really tough one to call as they are two very strong sides and while I think it could go either way, my prediction goes to Adare after such a big win the week before.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Adare United.
Weekly Observer Division 3 League Cup (90min).
Glantine B vs Knockaderry AFC.
The first game of this season’s Division Three League Cup kicks off with Knockaderry’s trip to face Glantine B. Despite finishing sixth in Division Three, Glantine B had a very strong finish to the league and will look to carry over that momentum to the league cup. They have not gotten a result away from home this season but have shown their strength at home with two wins and two draws including one stalemate with Knockaderry. Knockaderry finished third in the league and had a great result on the last day of the league with a 1-0 win away to Ferry Rangers which was overshadowed by Newcastle West B’s clinching of the league title. That was a great result which will stand to them heading into this away tie considering along with their decent away record of three wins and one draw from six. They have been more than capable of making upsets inside of ninety minutes too with victories over Askeaton, Feenagh and a close game with Rathkeale in the Desmond Cup. Therefore my prediction goes to Knockaderry to win the first of three Division Three League Cup games.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Knockaderry AFC.
Ferry Rangers vs Newcastle West B.
The two sides who are Division Two bound will face off for the third time as Newcastle West B travel to Tarbert to face Ferry Rangers. Ferry will be out for nothing but a victory having lost out on the league title on the last day of the season and it would put them in a great position in the league cup if they were to defeat the title holders. From ten games at home they have won six and drawn one and will be favourites having defeated them at home earlier in the season. Newcastle West B will look to secure a double but face a stiff challenge in their first game. Their victory over Glantine B on the last day gave them the league title as well as being their fifth win in their last six games. Their only losses away from home have come against Ferry Rangers and Pallaskenry so if they can learn their lessons from past games then there is no reason why they cannot win on Sunday. These two sides have faced off twice with Ferry winning both games with the second victory being ruled out due to their fielding of an ineligible player. Despite this I think that Newcastle West B will come out on top here.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West B.
Carrig Celtic B vs Creeves Celtic.
Carrig Celtic B’s game against Creeves Celtic is our final game of the weekend. Carrig finished joint fourth with Creeves and lost out to them last week for the second time this season. They have won once in their last six games and have lost their last four home games along with being kept scoreless in three of those. Creeves Celtic will look to get some good results under their belt ahead of their Riedy Cup Final and could make it three on the bounce with a win this weekend. They finished the league strongly with two wins in a row after a horrid spell of four losses just before that. Their away record of three wins and one draw from eight games is not favourable but with two wins over Carrig already I’m inclined to lean towards them picking up a third win.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Creeves Celtic.