Weekly Observer Desmond Cup Semi Final (extra time & penalties if required).
Rathkeale AFC vs Glin Rovers.
The first of two Desmond Cup Semi Finals takes place this Friday night as last year’s runners up Rathkeale meet the reigning champions Glin Rovers in Clounreask. Rathkeale are top of the Premier Division and their campaign in the Desmond Cup began with a 5-0 win away to Carrig Celtic in the first round. Despite the big divisional gap, their second round tie away to Knockaderry saw them win just 1-0 but they would return to their form of comfortable victories as they defeated Shannonside 3-1 in Borrigone and reached the semi-final through an 8-1 win at home to Pallaskenry. In four games they have had two away wins, two home wins, seventeen goals scored, two conceded and two clean sheets. That’s an impressive record that will give them oodles of confidence ahead of this tie along with the fact that they have not lost in their last fourteen games and have beaten Glin Rovers twice this season also. Their only two losses have come against two of the best in the Desmond League in Abbeyfeale United and Broadford United with both losses coming in cup competitions and only one coming inside ninety minutes. Having lost the final to Glin last year there is no doubt that they will want to win this game more than anything.
Glin Rovers are seventh in the Premier Division and defeated Glin Rovers B 6-0 in the first round of the competition. They received a bye to the third round where it took a last minute winner for them to defeat 3-2 Newcastle West AFC in the demesne with their quarter final game seeing them defeat Adare United 3-0 at home. They have won twice at home, once away, scored twelve, conceded two and have kept two clean sheets. It’s not as impressive of a record as Rathkeale’s but having won the Desmond Cup last year there is no doubt that they are a very capable side when it comes to cup competitions. They have won their last two games in a row and of their eight cup games this season they have won five. Of their three cup losses, they have only lost inside ninety minutes once coming against Abbeyfeale United with their other two losses being an extra-time loss to Abbeyfeale and a penalty shootout loss against Broadford United.
It is a tough one to call with Rathkeale defeating all that have came before them and with Glin Rovers being such a strong cup team. It will be an evenly contested game which could go either way but I see Rathkeale recording a hat-trick of victories over Glin Rovers.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Rathkeale AFC.
Abbeyfeale United vs Broadford United.
While on Saturday night the other side that will contest the final will be decided as Abbeyfeale United and Broadford United will meet in Clounreask. Abbeyfeale United are third in the Premier Division and will be more than keen to reach the final with this being the competition they have the greatest chance of winning. They started out in the Desmond Cup with a 9-0 win at home to Breska Rovers and followed that up with a 7-0 win against St. Ita’s at the Manor Fields, Adare in the third round. While their quarter final game saw them defeat Premier opposition as they put three past Ballingarry without reply to reach this stage. With two home wins, one away win, nineteen goals scored, none conceded and three clean sheets, there is no doubt that Abbeyfeale have the best record of the four remaining teams in this season’s Desmond Cup. Abbeyfeale’s last game ended in defeat as they lost 2-0 at home to Rathkeale and with it being their second loss in three games they will not want to lose their third game in four on Saturday night.
Broadford United are fourth in the Premier Division and have cruised through the Desmond Cup so far. They received a walkover from Carrig Celtic B in the first round and following a bye to the third round they defeated Newcastle West Rovers 4-1 at home. Their quarter final tie saw them ease past Athea United at home with a 5-1 victory which brings us to Saturday’s semi final. They have won two games at home, scored nine and conceded two which is still a very credible record considering they have only played two games with both coming against fellow Premier Division sides. They will no doubt be looking to return to winning ways having lost their Munster Junior Cup semi final to St. Michael’s last week and will not want to be dumped out of another cup competition. They have lost two of their last five games but will be optimistic about reaching the final having up a win over the Fealesiders just a few weeks ago.
Both sides hold a win over the other as Abbeyfeale defeated Broadford 2-1 at home last September while Broadford came out on top in their encounter three weeks ago. This is easily the toughest of the two semis to call but I will have to very narrowly give my vote to Broadford.
StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Broadford United.