Weekly Observer Premier Division.
Athea United vs Rathkeale AFC.
The first game in the last round of Premier Division games sees Athea United host title hopefuls Rathkeale. Fifth placed Athea have little to play for and at worst will drop to sixth in the final league standings. They will undoubtedly be up for this game and will not want to see any side lifting the title on their home soil. They go into this final game in great form having won their last two games with their latest victory coming against Abbeyfeale United. A fantastic result for them will no doubt give them confidence ahead of a game against a side who were two goals better than them last time around. This will be their first home game in two months with their last game ending in a 3-2 victory over Ballingarry but it was also their only win from their last five at the Vales. First placed Rathkeale hold a two point lead at the top of the table and a win will guarantee the title regardless of how Broadford United fare in Carrigkerry. They bounced back from their loss to Broadford by easing past Carrig Celtic less than forty-eight hours later and while they will be confident of defeating Athea once again, they will be wary of them following recent results. They have only won two of their last five, with two of their three defeats coming in penalty shootouts but they have a fantastic league record which has seen them win fourteen of their seventeen games thus far. I expect Rathkeale to win this but I do not think Athea will lay down for them in the slightest.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Rathkeale AFC.
Ballingarry AFC vs Abbeyfeale United.
Ballingarry host Abbeyfeale United in a game that could go either way. Eighth placed Ballingarry are safe from relegation but could boost themselves up to seventh should they pick up the win and Glin Rovers fail to do the same in their game. Their last game was a victory away to Newcastle West AFC but they have rarely done well at home with just two wins from eight in the league. Twice they have played Abbeyfeale and twice they have lost 3-0 away from home but with Abbeyfeale’s recent loss they will be hopeful of getting a result at the third time of asking. Joint fourth placed Abbeyfeale United will move into third if they can better Newcastle West Rovers’ result but will need to bounce back from a heavy loss if they are to do so. They lost 4-1 at home to Athea United last time around, a poor result considering Abbeyfeale had no problems against them in their two meetings prior to last Sunday. Abbeyfeale have not had any problems against Ballingarry in the past but at this stage of the season it’s a case of who wants it more. I would not rule out any result with it being the final day of the league but I will take Abbeyfeale here.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United.
Carrig Celtic vs Broadford United.
Carrig Celtic host Broadford United in a game where only three points will do for the visitors. Sixth placed Carrig Celtic were well beaten by Rathkeale in their last outing as they wont down 4-0, and they face another side with everything to play for this Sunday in the shape of Broadford United. Carrig have won once in their last five home games with that being their most recent victory against Newcastle West Rovers. They lost out 5-1 in their trip to Cove Park in January and will have a hard time trying to overturn this Broadford side. Second placed Broadford United will have one thing on their mind this Sunday and that is to win. Anything less than three points for Broadford will mean that Rathkeale will be champions so they will go into this game with only victory in mind. Broadford have been firing on all cylinders as of late having won their last six games with three clean sheets. They have the upper hand having beaten Carrig previously and have not lost away from home since October. With everything to play for, I cannot see anything but a Broadford victory.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Broadford United.
Glin Rovers vs Newcastle West Rovers.
Glin Rovers take on Newcastle West Rovers in their last game before their Desmond Cup final. Seventh placed Glin Rovers head into this game off the back of two successive losses and it seems like they may be resting their squad for their far more important Desmond Cup final. Their last meeting with Newcastle West Rovers saw them lose 3-1 away from home and while they will have the home advantage this Sunday that they have utilised so well all season, this advantage may be balanced out by their lack of star players if they are to be rested. Newcastle West Rovers are joint third and will look to complete the season with their second win in a row. They edged out Killeaney last Sunday and will fancy their chances considering that Glin Rovers will have their priorities elsewhere. The fact that Newcastle have only won twice in their last five away games is not favourable although any time they have won on the road it has been by a convincing margin. Yet again it’s a case of who wants it more in this fixture and I see that being Newcastle West Rovers.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West Rovers.
Weekly Observer Division 3 Shield Final (extra time & penalties if required).
Feenagh B vs Knockaderry AFC.
Feenagh B and Knockaderry will face off in Clounreask on Sunday with the Division Three Shield at stake. Feenagh B finished third in the group and upset the odds having qualified ahead of Creeves Celtic and Newcastle West B, along with finishing higher than their opponents this Sunday. It was their 5-3 win away to Newcastle West B in their final group game that got them to this stage and in recent games they have won three of their last five. Unfortunately all three previous meetings with Knockaderry have not gone their way as they have been kept scoreless in all three of their defeats. Brian Geary has often been a scorer for Feenagh B and will need to be on form if they are to finally register a goal against Knockaderry whose games are generally low scoring anyway. Fourth placed Knockaderry grabbed a point in their final group game to reach this shield final and will be confident of winning here with recent results taken into consideration. Like Feenagh B they have won three of their last five but the fact that they have yet to lose to Feenagh B is a very favourable statistic to have. Their rate of scoring and conceding has always stood out as they had the second lowest amount of goals scored in the group stage at ten whilst having the second least amount of goals conceded at eight. Knockaderry have had some great cup results throughout the season having beaten Feenagh A and Askeaton along with only losing 1-0 to Premier Division side Rathkeale. They have been to extra-time this season which is an advantage to have and so I think Knockaderry will take this one.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Knockaderry.