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Limerick Desmond League Preview 5/2/2017

Weekly Observer Desmond Cup 1st Round (extra time & penalties if required).

Abbeyfeale United vs Breska Rovers.

The first of eighteen Weekly Observer Desmond Cup games this Sunday sees Abbeyfeale United take on Breska Rovers in Riverside Park. Abbeyfeale United are fourth in the Premier Division where they are fourteen points behind league leaders Rathkeale with four games in hand. They seem to have hit a slight purple patch as of late with one draw and two losses from their last three but they will see this game against a side one division beneath them as a chance to eradicate that run. Those two losses are their first two of the season and they have yet to lose to a Desmond League side with only Glin Rovers, Newcastle West Rovers and Rathkeale coming close in draws. Their ability to both score high and keep concession of goals to a minimum is a key factor in their success with them scoring four goals or more on nine occasions as well as conceding no more than two goals in a game. Breska Rovers sit fifth in Division One and are sixteen points off of the top with a game in hand so a good cup run will be a target for them. Last Sunday’s loss in Borrigone to Shannonside made it three successive defeats for the Clarina side and a big upset against a top side like Abbeyfeale would be the best way to overcome those losses. This will not be their first visit to Riverside Park this season as they travelled there back in October to take on Abbeyfeale United B where they were on the receiving end of a 6-0 defeat. That was an off day for Breska as can be seen by the fact that they would win 7-0 at home to Feenagh the following week and defeat Glantine the week after. Abbeyfeale United and Breska Rovers are undoubtedly good sides despite recent results but I think Abbeyfeale will take this one.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United.

Abbeyfeale United B vs Bally Rovers.

We move from Abbeyfeale United A to Abbeyfeale United B as they take on Division Two’s Bally Rovers at the late kick-off of 2:30PM. Abbeyfeale United B are currently fourth in Division One and are in the midst of a two game win streak following their win over Granagh United two weeks ago. That game also marked their fifth home game of the season of which they have only lost once, an important factor going into these one-off cup ties. Their wins over the likes of Breska Rovers, AK United and Granagh United show what they are capable and that they will be more than ready for this Bally Rovers side. Bally Rovers are currently fourth in Division Two and their last outing two weeks ago saw them record a 3-2 win away to Glin Rovers B. They have been one of the more inconsistent sides in their league this season with almost as many wins as losses. They have recorded three wins from seven on the road and did not fare too well the last time they took on a Division One side as they fell 6-0 away to Glantine so I see Abbeyfeale United B joining the A’s in the next stage of the competition.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United B.

Adare United vs Ballysteen AFC.

Two of the heavyweights of Division Two face off for the third time this season and the second time in cup competitions as Adare United take on Ballysteen. Adare United are second in Division Two where they are three points behind Ballysteen who have three games in hand to their advantage. After a run of three straight defeats they returned to winning ways last Sunday when they defeated Askeaton 2-1 at home and will want to defeat Ballysteen after two unsuccessful attempts this season. Their cup form this season has been great as four wins out of five has seen them reach the quarter final of the Riedy Joinery Cup and the semi final of the Richard Hogan Cup with their one loss coming in a penalty shootout at home to Ballysteen in the preliminary round of the Munster Junior Cup. With nine games at home this season they have come out on top five times, drawing once and losing three times and if they can learn from the mistakes of their previous encounters with Ballysteen then there is no reason why they cannot progress on Sunday. Ballysteen are first in Division Two and have won their last three games in a row. If they can win for the third time against Adare United it will give them great assurance that they can defeat them again in the league when they face off at home later on this season. They have been in cup action five times this season and have come out on top in three of them. Ballysteen have only lost once away from home this season against St. Ita’s in the Richard Hogan Cup but have been successful in their other six games with five wins against sides including St. Ita’s and Shountrade and a draw with Rockhill Rovers. Ballysteen have defeated Adare twice already this season and were convincing winners in their second and most recent encounter but I see this one being as close as their first encounter in the Munster Junior Cup with Ballysteen emerging as winners again.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ballysteen AFC.

Killeaney vs Athea United.

One of the bigger ties of the first round sees Killeaney take on fellow Premier Division side Athea United in Knockdown. Both sides will be familiar with each other as they shared the points at The Vales earlier in the season in a 1-1 draw. Killeaney are ninth in the Premier Division and overtook Newcastle West AFC last Sunday following their 3-2 win away to Ballingarry which marked their first win of the season. They return home this weekend where they have yet to record a win but were very close to doing so with a draw against Glin Rovers along with a one goal loss to Carrig Celtic. Their three goals last Sunday was the highest amount they have scored in a game all year and if they can keep that up then they could very well reach the next round. Athea United are not that far ahead of Killeaney in the Premier Division table as they are one place above them by a point in eighth position with a game in hand. They were unable to play Newcastle West AFC last week but recorded a draw in their last game two weeks ago in a 2-2 stalemate with Glin Rovers. Like Killeaney, they have two wins to their name this season but held Carrig Celtic to a 3-3 away draw earlier in the season and were unfortunate to be pipped at the post by Tralee Dynamos in the second round of the FAI Junior Cup. There is not a whole pile between either of these sides and they are close to each other in their league table for a reason. With their big win against Ballingarry behind them, Killeaney will certainly be up for this one and it would not surprise me if they advanced but I feel that Athea United just might have enough to take it in this close encounter.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Athea United.

Askeaton AFC vs Shannonside FC.

Askeaton face off against Division One table toppers Shannonside in their first round game. Askeaton are third in Division Two and are nine points off of league leaders Ballysteen who have one less game played. Their game last week saw them lose out away to Adare United and they will return to Pairc Eas Geitne for the first time since November this Sunday with the hopes of grabbing yet another result at home. From six games at home they have won four and lost two which includes two convincing wins over Adare United and Newcastle West Rovers B. Their run in cup competitions has seen them lose three times from as many games along with being kept scoreless in all of those games and they will need to improve if they are to overcome a side who have been one of the top sides in Division One this season. Shannonside sit atop of Division One by two points and have only lost twice from their sixteen games in all competitions this year. Both of those losses came in cup competitions so they will want to get their first win in a cup competition this season at the third time of asking. They have played seven times at home this season with five wins and two draws and with great form like that against some strong opposition I see them advancing to the next round on Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Shannonside FC.

Ballingarry AFC vs Feenagh B.

Ballingarry will look to return to winning ways on Sunday when they take on Division Three’s Feenagh B. Ballingarry are seventh in the Premier Division where they are two points above the relegation zone with two games in hand. They fell to their second successive defeat last weekend as a late Killeaney goal denied them a draw and will be back in the Paddocks this Sunday with the hope of ending that run against a side three divisions beneath them. With wins over Glin Rovers, Athea United and Shannon Olympic on their own turf previously in the season, they will be expecting a win on Sunday. Feenagh B sit seventh in Division Three and have yet to record a win this season with two draws from eleven games this season. With the divisional gap between the two sides it is hard to look past a Ballingarry victory.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ballingarry AFC.

Broadford United vs Carrig Celtic B.

Another game between a Premier and Third Division side sees Broadford United take on Carrig Celtic B in Cove Park. Broadford United scored five goals for the second game in a row as they defeated Carrig Celtic 5-1 last Sunday to make it three wins on the trot. They are joint second in the Premier Division where they are eight points behind Rathkeale with a game in hand and have only lost once at home this season. They have seven clean sheets from their seventeen games in all competitions and have won by three goals or more on six occasions so they will be more than capable of taking on Carrig B. The visitors this Sunday are fifth in Division Three and have lost their last three games along with being kept scoreless in their last two. Their penalty shootout victory away to Glin Rovers B  in the Riedy Joinery Cup will go down as one of their best results of the season and is a sign of what they can do away from home against teams in a higher division. I think that with how ruthless Broadford have been against teams in their own division that they will be too much for Carrig Celtic B on Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Broadford United.

Carrig Celtic vs Rathkeale AFC.

What is arguably the biggest tie of the round sees two Premier Division sides clash as Carrig Celtic meet Rathkeale. Carrig are fifth in the Premier Division and are eighteen points behind their opponents this Sunday with one less game played. Carrig fell to a 5-1 defeat away to Broadford United last week and will look to recover from that defeat as well as their loss to Rathkeale earlier in the season with a win this Sunday. They have had good success at home having only lost twice from eight games and have shown their ability to get the job done in cup competitions also with wins over Turnpike Rovers, Newcastle West Rovers and Ballingarry to name a few. They have been known to concede a lot in games having conceded twelve in total from their last two losses and they will most definitely need to stay strong at the back as they face off against a team who seem to score for fun. Rathkeale are on top of the Premier Division with an eight point lead and a game more played than Broadford United and Newcastle West Rovers in second. They drew for the second week in a row last Sunday when they shared the points with Newcastle West Rovers in Woodfield and there is no doubt that they will want to win this competition following their loss in the final last year. Rathkeale’s last loss came in November when Broadford edged them out in extra-time in the Munster Junior Cup and they have recorded two wins and four draws since then. They are undoubtedly one of the most ruthless teams in the Desmond League having won by three goals or more on six occasions and even striking as high as nine once. They have beaten almost every team that has come before them so far this season and with them emerging as winners the last time they travelled to Carrig, I see them winning again this Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Rathkeale AFC.

Creeves Celtic vs Pallaskenry AFC.

Division One takes on Division Three when Pallaskenry travel to Newbridge to take on Creeves Celtic. Creeves are fourth in Division Three and still have a chance of being promoted to Division Two as they are four points behind Newcastle West B in second. They will look to bounce back from two successive losses to Glantine B and Knockaderry with an upset win over a side two divisions ahead of them. While Creeves have had some mixed results in their league campaign, they have shown their worth in cup competition as they find themselves in the semi-final of the Riedy Joinery Cup thanks to a 3-0 home win against St. Ita’s of Division Two and a 4-0 win away to Kildimo United of Division One. Last year they reached two cup finals and were unfortunate to lose them both marginally. With six games under their belt at home this season they have won four and lost two with their last loss coming in their third game of the season. Pallaskenry sit eighth in Division One and are one point above the relegation zone with a game in hand. They fell to a 7-1 loss at home to Kildimo United last week and will want to recuperate with a win on Sunday. Pallas’ only involvement in cup competition this season saw them edge out Newcastle West B by the odd goal in five before losing 1-0 to Feenagh in the next round of the Riedy Joinery Cup. With seven games already played away from home, Pallas have emerged with one win, three draws and three losses with that victory coming against Kildimo United in September. Pallaskenry have a tendency to leave in goals as mentioned last week which is something that Creeves Celtic could very well take advantage of. My bold prediction of the week goes to Creeves Celtic to advance with a win.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Creeves Celtic.

Ferry Rangers vs Glantine.

Division Three leaders Ferry Rangers take on Glantine of Division One in Tarbert with the hope of making another upset against a Division One side. Ferry are top of Division Three by nine points with a game more played than Newcastle West B in second and have only lost twice in fourteen games this season. As previously mentioned Ferry grabbed a shock win beating Rathkeale B 5-2 at home in the Riedy Joinery Cup and they will see this game as one they can win with that result taken into consideration. Ferry’s two defeats this year have come at the hands of Division Two sides in the form of Glin Rovers B in the Richard Hogan Cup and Shountrade in the Riedy Joinery Cup. Ferry’s nine games on home soil have seen them win six, draw once and lose twice which is a good record to have when coming up against a side like Glantine. The visitors this Sunday are third in Division One and are eight points off of the promotion zone. They returned to winning ways last Sunday with a 3-2 win away to Kildimo United and will be keen to get a good cup run this year. Glantine are another side with good fortunes in cup competitions having won the Riedy Joinery Cup last season and they find themselves in the quarter-final of that competition this season also. Glantine’s run on the road has been decent with four wins, two draws and three losses and I think that they will come out on top in this one.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glantine.

Glantine B vs Newcastle West AFC.

Newcastle West AFC travel to Templeglantine on Sunday to take on Glantine B. Glantine B are sixth in Division Three and were without a win up until recently when they won two on the trot against Carrig Celtic B and Creeves Celtic. They are building up a great run of form which would be even better if they were to beat this Premier Division side on Sunday. Glantine B’s home form has been their best aspect by far this season as they have only lost once at home and have grabbed all eight of their league points on their home turf also. Newcastle West AFC sit tenth in the Premier Division and have been without a win in their last four matches. Their only victories this year have come against Shannonside and Killeaney but they have shared the points with Glin Rovers in a 6-6 draw and have ran it close to Newcastle West Rovers also. Newcastle will be urgent to grab a win after a spell without one and with the difference in standard of both sides taken into consideration I think that they will come out on top.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West AFC.

Glin Rovers B vs Glin Rovers.

It might not be the most exciting tie of the round but it is definitely the most peculiar as Glin Rovers A begin their bid to retain the Desmond Cup by facing off against Glin Rovers B. Glin Rovers B are ninth in Division Two and were unfortunate to lose out to Bally Rovers last Sunday. They have not come out on top in their last five games and face a challenge to end that run against Glin Rovers A. Their luck in cups this year has seen them win one from three when they defeated Ferry Rangers back in September but they have also pulled it out of the bag in the past in other competitions also with a home win against Rockhill Rovers along with a draw away to Adare United. Glin Rovers A sit sixth in the Premier Division and enter this game off the back of a 2-2 draw away to Athea United two weeks ago. A good result for them considering they have generally not fared well away from home and while they are technically the away side on Sunday they will be very comfortable in these familiar surroundings. Their dominance in Glin has always been one of the key factors to their results with only Rathkeale, Broadford United and Abbeyfeale United being able to defeat them there so far this season. Strong wins over Kildimo United, Athea United and Carrig Celtic show how good they can be when playing in Glin and so my prediction goes to Glin Rovers A to come out on top in this one.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glin Rovers A.

Granagh United vs Rathkeale B.

Two Division One sides will do battle as Granagh United host Rathkeale B on Sunday. Granagh United are second in Division One where they are two points behind leaders Shannonside but are eight points clear of Glantine in third.  Their loss to Abbeyfeale United B two weeks ago allowed Shannonside to overtake them in the league and they will be keen to return to winning ways against a side they were winners against last time around. They have not had any luck in cup competitions this year, losing both of their games to Feenagh and Dingle Bay Rovers. They will be very confident of a win on Sunday considering they have only fallen to defeat once at home and have defeated strong teams such as Glantine, Breska Rovers and Abbeyfeale United B on home soil. They have averaged three goals per home game and have won by two or more in six of their seven victories which makes them a force to be reckoned with at home. Rathkeale B are sixth in Division One and recorded a good 2-0 win away to Kildimo United which could be a good omen going into this tough fixture. Their only cup game this season saw them lose out to Ferry Rangers in the Riedy Joinery Cup and they will want to improve from their last cup outing. With seven away games under their belt they have won three, drawn one and lost three. It is not the best away form but they have gotten results more often than not and will be hopeful of one again on Sunday. Granagh United were winners last time around and will want to recover from a loss two weeks ago and so I see them getting the win on Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Granagh United.

Kildimo United vs Newcastle West Rovers B.

Kildimo United play host to the reigning Richard Hogan Cup champions when Newcastle West Rovers B come to Kildimo on Sunday. Kildimo United are ninth in Division One and will go into this game full of confidence following their 7-1 win away to Pallaskenry last Sunday. They have only managed one win from nine games at home which was a 5-1 victory over AK United in the Riedy Joinery Cup and they will want to erase the memories of their last cup game where they lost 4-0 to Creeves Celtic. Newcastle West Rovers B are seventh in Division Two and will be playing their first game since their 4-3 victory away to Adare United. That was a great result for the reserve side and they will be keen to to use that momentum to cause a cup shock this Sunday. They had great cup luck last season going all the way in the Richard Hogan Cup but have not fared as well this season with just an away win against Bally Rovers from their three cup ties. Their ability to win away to both Glin Rovers B and Adare United show that they are capable of going to tough places and emerging with a result which will stand to them on Sunday but I feel that Kildimo United will get the better of them.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Kildimo United.

Knockaderry AFC vs Feenagh.

Two sides who faced off in the quarter-finals of last year’s competition will meet in the first round of this year’s competition as Knockaderry welcome Feenagh back for this cup tie. Knockaderry are third in Division Three and are three points behind Newcastle West B who have a game in hand. They fell to defeat at the hands of the previously mentioned Newcastle West B in their last game and will look to return to winning ways on their home turf against a side they edged out on penalties last season. Their thirteen games this season have been relatively tame affairs with them winning by only two goals or more twice, losing by two or more goals twice along with their games averaging three goals in total between the two sides. All three of their cup games this season have been against sides in divisions higher than them and in those games they have recorded one win over Askeaton of Division Two along with two losses to Adare United of Division Two in extra-time and Abbeyfeale United B of Division One. Feenagh are tenth in Division One and have not had a win in their past four games. This Sunday will mark their third cup game of the season with their past two being Riedy Joinery Cup victories over fellow Division One sides Granagh United and Pallaskenry who are both higher than Feenagh in the Division One table. Feenagh showed prowess in cup competitions last year when they reached the quarter final of the Desmond Cup as previously mentioned along with the final of the Division One League Cup and they will want nothing more than to get a win over a side that denied them a semi final spot last season. Only one of their three victories has come on the road this season and while I feel that they will come out on top this Sunday, I definitely would not be shocked if Knockaderry were to win.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Feenagh.

Newcastle West B vs Rockhill Rovers.

Newcastle West B will take on Rockhill Rovers for the second time this season on Sunday. Newcastle West B are second in Division Three and are in a good position to be promoted to Division Two. They have won their last two games on the trot and will be confident going into this game considering they were winners last time around in the Richard Hogan Cup against the same opposition. They have played three times in cup competitions this season as they lost 3-2 to Pallaskenry in the first round of the Riedy Joinery Cup before winning their last two games against Rockhill Rovers and Glin Rovers B who both ply their trade in Division Two to put themselves into the semi final of the Richard Hogan Cup. With seven games at home this season they have won five, drawn one and lost one and with a record like that there is no reason why they cannot win again on Sunday. Rockhill Rovers are sixth in Division Two and were 1-0 winners at home to Adare United in their last game. They will be delighted with that win which shows how strong they are at home with only two losses from eight games on home soil. Unfortunately for Rockhill their away form is in total contrast to that of their home form as they have only managed one draw from eight games on the road. With the result of their previous encounter and Rockhill’s away form taken into consideration, I see Newcastle West B winning again on Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West B.

Newcastle West Rovers vs Shountrade AFC.

Newcastle West Rovers will meet Shountrade in the Desmond Cup for the second year in a row this Sunday. Newcastle West Rovers are joint second in the Premier Division and will be looking to bounce back from a draw with league leaders Rathkeale along with making it five games undefeated. Seoirse Joyce grabbed a hat trick in that game and will be on the lookout for more goals in this game on Sunday. Newcastle West Rovers have only lost once from their nine games at home and with a home record like that they will be confident of a win. Shountrade are eighth in Division Two where they are seven points above the drop zone and they will look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Ballysteen two weeks ago. They will be familiar with Newcastle West Rovers from their game last season and will be even more familiar with Woodfield as they have travelled their twice this season to face Newcastle West Rovers B where they lost once and won once. They have grabbed four wins, one draw and three losses from eight games away from home but with the difference between both teams I see Newcastle West Rovers emerging as victors.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West Rovers B.

St. Ita’s vs AK United.

Our final game of the weekend sees two sides who will be familiar with each other face off as AK United travel to Ashford to take on St. Ita’s. St. Ita’s are fifth in Division Two but are nine points behind Adare United in second with four games in hand. With the exception of a walkover from Ballingarry B at the start of January, St. Ita’s have yet to play a competitive fixture in 2017 with their last game being a 4-1 win at home to Ballysteen in the quarter final of the Richard Hogan Cup in mid-December. They have not lost in their last three games and have done relatively well in cup competitions with three wins from five. It was in the first round of last season’s Desmond Cup that St. Ita’s pulled off a shock 3-0 win away to Rathkeale B and with it being so close between St. Ita’s and AK when they met in Ashford last season they will definitely fancy their chances. Their home form has seen them win three and lose three and they will want to improve that form come Sunday. AK United are seventh in Division One where they are three points above the drop zone with two games in hand. They lost out by the odd goal in three in their last game at home to Shannonside and will see this game against a side they were winners against twice last season as a great opportunity to return to winning ways. Their run in cup competitions this season has not gone to plan as they have lost convincingly to Newcastle West Rovers and Kildimo United in their two games. Their away form has seen them record just one win and one draw from seven games and while I feel that they might edge out St. Ita’s on Sunday, I would not rule out the result going the other way.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: AK United.

About James Kirwan

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