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Limerick Desmond League Preview 16/4/2017.

Weekly Observer Desmond Cup Quarter Finals (extra time & penalties if required).
Abbeyfeale United vs Ballingarry AFC.

Friday night sees the first of four Desmond Cup quarter finals take place as Abbeyfeale United host Ballingarry at Riverside Park. Abbeyfeale suffered defeat at the hands of Broadford United and with their chances of league title glory being decreased they will want to reclaim the Desmond Cup after a year’s absence. This Sunday will be their biggest challenge in the competition yet following 9-0 and 7-0 victories in the first and third rounds respectively although they will be anticipating a victory as they defeated Ballingarry 3-0 at home in mid-March. They have not lost at home since January against Navan Cosmos and have kept clean sheets in their last four home games. Ballingarry have lost their last two games and face a stiff challenge if they are to make it to the semi final. They have had a somewhat easy time in the Desmond Cup defeating Feenagh B 5-0 at home but they were made to sweat for their place in the quarters as it took a goal in extra-time for them to get the better of Newcastle West Rovers B. They have not won their last four away games and so I see Abbeyfeale taking this one.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United.

Riedy Joinery Cup Final (extra time & penalties if required).

Creeves Celtic vs Shountrade AFC.

Saturday night sees the final of the Riedy Joinery Cup as Creeves Celtic and Shountrade meet in Rathkeale. There is unfinished business between these two sides as a 3-2 victory for Shountrade over Creeves on the final day of last season meant that Creeves would be relegated to Division Three instead of Shountrade. What’s more, Creeves lost the final of the Riedy Joinery Cup last season to Glantine due to a goal in the ninety fourth minute and so they will want nothing more than to gain redemption for those two defeats.

Creeves path to the final started out with a 4-2 defeat to Breska Rovers but Creeves would receive a victory due to Breska’s fielding of a suspended player. And so they would advance to the second round where they convincingly defeated St. Ita’s 3-0 at home and made a even bolder statement in the quarter final with a 4-0 win away to Kildimo United. The semi final stage saw them get their best victory yet as they put five past Feenagh at the Thatch. Creeves are fourth in Division Three and have not had the best of league campaigns but they can justify that having had such great cup results. Their last game ended in a 2-0 defeat away to Knockaderry and their recent record in all competitions has seen them win three and lose two of their last five. Having scored as high as seven this season there is no doubt that the firepower is there for this Creeves side with the likes of Seamus Mangan and Tom Shanahan being two great examples.

Shountrade had a much easier path to the final, starting off with a 2-1 win at home to Feenagh B and a 6-2 win away to Ferry Rangers. Their semi final result made up for all of this as they defeated Glantine 2-0 away from home to setup this showdown. In league competition they are third in the table and won 5-1 at home to Newcastle West Rovers B in their last game. They have not lost in their last seven games with five wins and two draws and have averaged over two goals a game also.

Creeves have impressed the most when it comes to reaching this stage of the competition but Shountrade have been grinding out great results with a long time now and while I think this game will be close, I see Shountrade coming out on top.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Shountrade.

Weekly Observer Desmond Cup Quarter Finals (extra time & penalties if required).
Rathkeale AFC vs Pallaskenry AFC.

While on Sunday morning the remaining three Desmond Cup quarter finals will be played with Rathkeale facing Pallaskenry. Rathkeale are first in the Premier Division and have not lost in twelve games. In three Desmond Cup games this season they have only conceded once having kept clean sheets against Carrig Celtic and Knockaderry against whom they recorded 5-0 and 1-0 victories against in the first and second rounds respectively, while their third round game saw them defeat Shannonside 3-1 away from home. Pallaskenry are tenth in Division One and have flourished in cup competitions this season. They edged out Creeves Celtic on penalties in the first round but their 5-0 win against Granagh United and 5-1 victory over Abbeyfeale United B in the second and third rounds respectively were two massive results for them. In total they have recorded three wins and three draws away from home with two of those victories coming in cup competitions. Despite Pallaskenry’s great cup form I see Rathkeale taking the win here.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Rathkeale AFC.

Broadford United vs Athea United.

While Broadford United face Premier Division competition when Athea United travel to Cove Park. Fourth placed Broadford now have an outside chance at winning the Premier Division following last week’s win but have even better chances in winning the Desmond Cup. Their only Desmond Cup game saw them defeat Newcastle West Rovers 4-1 at home and they will no doubt be confident of a semi final place having defeated Athea 6-1 at the Vales earlier in the season along with having home advantage. Seventh placed Athea United seem to have escaped relegation and will look to try and get closer to silverware with a win on Sunday. Their two Desmond Cup games saw them defeat Killeaney 2-1 away from home and Ferry Rangers 4-1 at home and they are in great form at the moment with two wins on the bounce. Despite this I see this game going in the favour of Broadford following last week’s great result.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Broadford United.

Glin Rovers vs Adare United.

Reigning champions Glin Rovers will have to overcome Division Two’s Adare United if they are to reach the last four. Glin are sixth in the Premier Division and just scraped past Newcastle West AFC in the last round. They have the huge advantage of being on home soil this Sunday where they have managed five wins and two draws from eleven games but were unfortunate to lose out to Broadford United on penalties in the Premier Division League Cup and Abbeyfeale United in extra time in the Munster Junior Cup. Adare United are second in Division Two and seem to be Division One bound but they will want to snatch some silverware in what is one of the two competitions they remain in. They lost their last game away to Ballysteen and are without a win in their last two in all competitions. This Sunday will mark their third away trip in a row but it will be made less daunting by the fact that they were successful when they took on Glin Rovers B away from home back in December. They have a decent away record with only four losses over the course of the season but Glin are a superior side and I see them advancing.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glin Rovers.

Weekly Observer Division 1 League Cup Semi Final (extra time & penalties if required).
AK United vs Rathkeale B.

A place in the final against Kildimo United awaits the winner of this one as AK United take on Rathkeale B in the Division One League Cup semi final. AK had a great 2-1 win away to Glantine last week in the quarter final and will be confident of reaching the final having won 4-1 against Rathkeale B at the beginning of the month. Rathkeale B are eighth in the table and hang one point above the drop zone. Their last two games ended in defeat but having defeated Granagh United in the last round, along with taking them to penalties after drawing 4-4 in the Desmond Cup, there is no doubt that they are a side who can turn it on for cup competitions. They have a win over AK from last December and have travelled relatively well this season but I see AK advancing.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: AK United.

Weekly Observer Division 1.
Glantine vs Shannonside FC.

Shannonside have two more games to try and get to the top of the Division One table and face a stiff task in their second to last game with a trip to Glantine. Glantine are fifth in the table but have endured a poor run as of late losing their last three games in a row, all of which on home soil. With promotion being out of the question along with being out of all cup competitions, a fourth loss would not be a shock. Second place Shannonside are guaranteed promotion back to the Premier Division but will want to claim the league title having spent so much of the season on top of the table. They are four points behind Granagh United with a game in hand and will need to win these remaining games to stand a chance. Like Glantine they have lost their last three in a row but have a lot more to play for this Sunday. They have only lost twice at home this season with those two losses being in their last two games and I expect to see a change from this side at the weekend. Considering they have everything to play for, Shannonside get my vote.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Shannonside FC.

Weekly Observer Division 2.
Askeaton AFC vs St. Ita’s.

Two teams with an outside chance of promotion face off this Sunday as Askeaton host St. Ita’s. Askeaton are fifth in the table where they are one point behind St. Ita’s. They have only managed a draw from their last three games and will have their promotion chances whittled away if the result is anything but a win for them. Askeaton have the added advantage of having a victory over St. Ita’s already this season as they defeated them 3-0 in Ashford back in September along with a good home record of five wins and one draw from ten games. St. Ita’s ended a long winless run with a victory as they defeated Bally Rovers 5-1 last Sunday. That was a well needed result and they will probably feel more comfortable in Pairc Eas Geitne this Sunday considering their away record is far superior than their record at home. On the road they have won seven and drawn two in thirteen away games with their losses coming against Adare United twice and one each against Creeves Celtic and Rathkeale. It could go either way but I’ll take St. Ita’s here.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: St. Ita’s.

Weekly Observer Division 3 League Cup (90 minutes).
Ferry Rangers vs Carrig Celtic B.

Ferry Rangers will look to pick up their first three points of the Division Three League Cup when they face current leaders Carrig Celtic B. Ferry’s first game saw them draw 2-2 with Newcastle West B, a good result considering Newcastle are one of the top sides in the Division and they will consider it as one point gained rather than two points dropped. Of the two times Ferry Rangers have met Carrig Ferry have only won by a goal and so they will be glad of their home advantage  where they have only lost three times this season and only once to a Division Three side. Carrig have two wins from two after their 2-1 win against Feenagh B and this Sunday will be their first away game of the League Cup and their first in all competitions since late February. They are faced with the unfortunate task of having to travel to Tarbert in their one-off game against Ferry but having won three and drawn once in eight away games they will still go into this game optimistic about the possibility of a result. With Carrig playing well as of late it makes it a difficult one to call and so I see this ending in a draw.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Draw.

Newcastle West B vs Knockaderry AFC.

After a heavy loss last week, Newcastle West B will attempt to pick their first three points at the third time of asking when they welcome Knockaderry this Sunday. Newcastle lost 4-1 away to Glantine B last Sunday and will need to pick up points in order to grab a top four place at the very least. It was their first loss against a Division Three side since November but they will be confident of getting back on track this weekend with two wins over Knockaderry to their name. After a four game stint on the road they will return to the demesne where they have only lost once in all competitions. Knockaderry have yet to lose in their league cup campaign and are unbeaten in their last three games. Having defeated Ferry Rangers away from home on the last day of the league season they will definitely be more confident to achieve a result away from home while their away record over the course of the season has seen them lose twice in seven games. They have kept clean sheets in four of their last five games and have established themselves over the course of the season as a side who both concede and score very few goals with them having the third least amount of goals scored and the fewest goals conceded in Division Three despite finishing third. Knockaderry will most definitely fancy their chances considering Newcastle suffered a heavy loss last week but I think the home side will take this one.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West B.

Feenagh B vs Glantine B.

Glantine B will look to keep the momentum from their win over Newcastle going when they travel to face Feenagh B. Feenagh had no luck in their trip to Carrig Celtic B last Sunday and will be confident of achieving a result having drawn with Glantine away from home back in November. Glantine B had a big win last week but have still yet to get a result away from home. All seven away games have ended in defeat for them and they have been kept scoreless in four of those but with there being very little between the sides stats may be irrelevant come Sunday. Glantine B have recorded great results at home and will have a challenge to do it this Sunday but I see them getting three points.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glantine B.

About James Kirwan

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