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Limerick Desmond League Preview 21/5/2017

Weekly Observer Division 2 League Cup Final (extra time & penalties if required).

Askeaton AFC vs Shountrade AFC.

Shountrade will look to complete a tremendous cup treble when they face Askeaton in the Division Two league final in Clounreask.

Askeaton finished their Division Two league campaign in fifth place and reached the final of this competition following a 3-2 home quarter final win over Bally Rovers and a 1-0 semi final win at home to Glin Rovers B. They have had the easier route to the final of the two teams but are deserving of their final spot nevertheless. Askeaton had a weekend of R&R ahead of this cup final as they received a walkover from Rockhill Rovers in their final league game with their game before that ending in a 3-1 away loss to Newcastle West Rovers B. Recent form has been poor as of late for Askeaton with only one win from their last five games while they have lost by two goals in all four of those losses. Brandon Murphy was the Man of the Match for Askeaton’s youths in their Division Two league cup final last weekend and is a real prospect having starred for their Junior side also. Askeaton have drawn twice with Shountrade in their two meetings this season (the most recent of which saw the result overturned due to Askeaton’s fielding on an ineligible player) and so they will fancy their chances of finally overcoming them on Friday.

Shountrade finished joint third in the final Division Two league standings following a comprehensive 6-0 win over Bally Rovers on Sunday, a result which made it twelve games unbeaten for the Kiltannan outfit. They are in the final stage of this cup following a 3-1 home win against Newcastle West Rovers B in the quarter final which was followed up by a very impressive 4-2 semi final win away to Ballysteen. They have improved leaps and bounds this season and have two cups already to show for it and they would love nothing more than to complete an historic treble. With two cups already to their name and a host of great players including Adam Reidy and Tim Frawley, I think Shountrade will clinch the treble this Friday night.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Shountrade AFC.

Weekly Observer Premier Division.

Ballingarry AFC vs Athea United.

Ballingarry will look to mark themselves as safe from relegation with a win on Friday night as they host Athea United. 

Ballingarry are eighth in the table and are five points ahead of Killeaney. Should Ballingarry get the victory and Killeaney lose away to Glin Rovers then Killeaney will be Division One bound. It was the previously mentioned Glin Rovers who halted Ballingarry’s two game win streak last Sunday and Ballingarry will be eager to make amends for their poor loss at the Vales in late March. Unfortunately for Ballingarry they have not impressed in recent home games with the two home wins that they have recorded from their last five coming against Feenagh B in the first round of the Desmond Cup and in extra-time against Newcastle West Rovers B in the following round. They have a Desmond Cup victory over Athea from earlier in the season but threw away three points when they last visited the Vales having dominated the first half only to allow Athea to come back into it in the second period and to go on to win the game. They seem to have learned some lessons since then with impressive wins away to Carrig Celtic and Killeaney and so if they can carry on that momentum they should be golden for Friday. 

Athea United sit seventh in the table on fifteen points and will be guaranteed safety regardless of the result of their game should Killeaney lose at Glin Rovers. This will mark their first game in two weeks having lost to Broadford United in their last outing and they will be hoping to return to the form which saw them beat three fellow relegation fighters over the course of a month. Athea picked up some great results to emerge from the drop zone and will still more than likely survive regardless of the result this Sunday. The fact that Athea have a win over Ballingarry at home already along with having won three of their last five on the road means that they will have every reason to go into this game with confidence.

Recent form would probably favour Athea but I will take Ballingarry here.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ballingarry AFC.

Carrig Celtic vs Newcastle West Rovers.

Carrig Celtic will be in search of a win when they face Newcastle West Rovers on Friday.

Carrig are joint fifth and have lost their last three games in a row. Their last game took place almost a month ago where they lost out to Ballingarry and they will seek to recreate their great 3-2 win in Woodfield from October this Friday. They have lost their last four games on home soil while being kept scoreless in three of those defeats. Although they might have beaten Rovers the first time around, Rovers would strike back just three weeks later winning 8-2 and so they will definitely have the upper hand ahead of this one. 

Newcastle West Rovers are one of the two sides that make up joint third and they will be looking to bounce back from a slim defeat away to Broadford United. Their recent form has been very stop-start for them having not won back to back games since January but they will be confident of getting a bit more stability in their results with a home meeting against Killeaney and an away trip to Glin Rovers to follow after this Friday.

Having come out on top last time around along with picking up some good results since then, I see Newcastle West Rovers getting the three points.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West Rovers.

Glin Rovers vs Killeaney.

It’s derby day on Friday as Glin Rovers host Killeaney.

Glin are nine points above the drop and while they are as good as safe, a point on Friday will guarantee safety. They have had good fortunes as of late winning their last four games with two clean sheets and will be confident of grabbing three points against a side they recorded a late draw against last time around. Glin are a force at home as mentioned countless times before, losing once in their last five home games while only losing inside ninety minutes twice all season. They were deserving winners in their Desmond Cup semi final against Rathkeale three weeks ago despite it taking a penalty shootout for them to advance, and they will be very optimistic about the prospect of three points this Sunday considering their recent victories.

Ninth placed Killeaney are five points away from safety and will be hoping that they can get three points and that Ballingarry will lose to Athea to boost their survival hopes. Their last game saw them lose 3-0 away to Abbeyfeale United and they are now four games without a victory. Despite their run of losses Killeaney have not been as poor as their results might show having played most of the soccer in their home loss to Ballingarry along with narrowly losing out to Athea United. They drew 1-1 at home to Glin Rovers despite leading for the majority of the game and have had most of their luck on the road with their last two victories coming away to Carrig Celtic and Ballingarry.

This game will be competitive but I see Glin Rovers taking the three points.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glin Rovers.

Newcastle West AFC vs Abbeyfeale United.

Only three will do Newcastle West AFC on Friday night when they face Premier Division league cup winners Abbeyfeale United.

Newcastle will need to win this game to stand any chance of surviving in the Premier Division but they will also need Ballingarry to lose to Athea United also. They are tenth in the table and face their third tough fixture in a row having lost out to two heavyweights in the form of Broadford United and Rathkeale in their last two games. They have lost their last five games in a row and have lost by three and four goal margins in their two fixtures with Abbeyfeale this season.

Joint third placed Abbeyfeale United will go into this game off the back of their penalty shootout win over Rathkeale in the Premier Division league cup final and they will be confident of a win considering their previous results against Newcastle. They have won their last two games in a row and have rarely lost to Desmond competition this season with the exception of Broadford United and Rathkeale.

Considering the recent results of both sides, I see Abbeyfeale picking up an away three points. 

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United.

Rathkeale AFC vs Broadford United.

The big Premier Division game sees league leaders Rathkeale take on their nearest title challengers Broadford United.

Rathkeale are first in the table where they are five points ahead of Broadford United. Three points for Rathkeale on Friday would hand them the league title with two games to spare and they will be keen to do so on their home turf. Rathkeale once again fell to defeat in a penalty shootout as their double hopes were dashed by Abbeyfeale United in the Premier Division league cup final and so they will have their eyes solely on the league title prize on Friday. In fifteen league games Rathkeale have yet to lose and have only lost inside ninety minutes once all season. They have won their last five home games and have a win over Broadford from their last meeting at the start of the new year.

Broadford United are second in the table and could reduce Rathkeale’s lead at the top to two points should they pick up the maximum on Friday. They have won their last four games, keeping clean sheets in two of those, and will hope to make up for their defeat to Rathkeale last time around by giving a performance as good as their Munster Junior Cup comeback against the same side from back in November. They will be glad of the fact that they have been successful with their last four games away from home but undoubtedly cautious considering it will be their first visit to Holycross this season. Both sides are in their position in the league for a reason and both are very capable of winning this game.

While Broadford have improved greatly over the last few months, Rathkeale have been consistent since last August and so I see them taking three points and the league title.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Rathkeale AFC.

Weekly Observer Division 1 Relegation Playoff (extra time & penalties if required).

Feenagh vs Rathkeale B.

Feenagh and Rathkeale B will meet in Clounreask on Sunday evening in a Division One relegation playoff to decide who will remain in Division One and who will be demoted to Division Two.

Feenagh had a fantastic end to the season as they picked up thirteen points from a possible eighteen in their last six league games to force this relegation playoff. They have only lost once in their last six games and will be confident of remaining in Division One having overturned Rathkeale B by the odd goal in five back in March. Remarkably, they have also grabbed clean sheets against Granagh United and Abbeyfeale United B who are the first and fourth highest scoring Division One teams respectively in two of their last three games which is a defensive form they will look to keep up considering Rathkeale B have averaged two goals per game in the league. Despite having not won silverware this season, Feenagh pulled off some great cup results this season with three wins from six cup ties and were victors in one of their two cup games which went to penalties.

Rathkeale B will be upset for letting themselves get into this situation but will be more baffled as to how Feenagh have managed to come out of nowhere and catch them. Despite losing their last two games of the season they have done okay in recent games having won two of their last five including a big league victory over Shannonside. Their recent defeats have been somewhat heavy having lost out by two goals or more in all three, and they will need to recreate the performances that have seen them defeat the likes of Granagh United and Feenagh if they are to play Division One soccer next season. With it being a cup final like affair, it will favour Feenagh with Rathkeale B having only won two of their five cup games along with having not gone beyond ninety minutes either.

All the momentum seems to be with Feenagh and so I see them taking this one narrowly.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Feenagh.

Weekly Observer Division 3 League Cup Final (extra time & penalties if required).

Ferry Rangers vs Carrig Celtic B.

Ferry Rangers will look to make it an undefeated league cup campaign when they face Carrig Celtic B in the Division Three league cup final.

Ferry Rangers won their final group game 2-1 away to Creeves Celtic to give them plenty of momentum heading into this one. They have won their last four games and have not lost since the last day of the league season. This will be their fourth meeting with Carrig Celtic B, a side they have good fortunes against having come out on top in their first two meetings but it was honours even when these two sides met in Tarbert back in April with it finishing 3-3. With it being a cup final, Ferry will look to past cup victories against Rathkeale B and Glantine of Division One as signs of how capable they are.

Carrig Celtic B qualified for the final with a draw on the final day and have been the dark horse of the league cup. Despite finishing joint fourth and ten points off of promotion in the league, it seems they have saved their best for this league cup where their only defeat was a very narrow loss away to Newcastle West B. They will look to get a victory over Ferry at the fourth time of asking and with it being so close in all three encounters, Carrig could very well take it to extra-time and penalties where they have already been this season having defeated Glin Rovers B on spot kicks. There has never been much between these two sides and I expect it to be close this Sunday too.

Carrig will feel that they are due a win after three unsuccessful attempts but I think Ferry will emerge victorious once again.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ferry Rangers.

Weekly Observer Premier Division.

Abbeyfeale United vs Athea United.

Sunday will also see the second round of Premier Division games this weekend which will commence with Athea United’s trip to Abbeyfeale. Both sides will be hoping that they will enter this game with a win under their belt from two days prior. Abbeyfeale United will also look to pick up their third win over Athea having won convincingly in their two meetings prior and with their recent form I see that happening.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United.

Broadford United vs Glin Rovers.

Broadford United and Glin Rovers will meet this Sunday in a dress rehearsal for their Desmond Cup Final which is due to take play on June 2. Broadford will be after their biggest league game of the season less than forty eight hours before this game and will want to get a victory against Glin ahead of their next encounter twelve days later. Broadford’s league chances could be either over or better than ever come Sunday which makes this slightly difficult to predict. Glin Rovers will have played Killeaney in a derby game two games prior and will want to pick up a victory against Broadford having not done so this season. One thing that will go against Glin despite their recent form is their away record when they have only won once in the league this season. With Friday’s games yet to be played it is hard to call but I think Broadford will take this one.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Broadford United.

Newcastle West AFC vs Ballingarry AFC.

Newcastle West AFC take on Ballingarry on Sunday in what could be a pointless game for the home side. Should Newcastle lose to Abbeyfeale United on Friday they will be relegated so there would be nothing at stake for them. While Ballingarry will be facing their second relegation tie of the weekend and will have something to play for and so I see them collecting the points.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ballingarry AFC.

Newcastle West Rovers vs Killeaney.

Newcastle West Rovers host Killeaney in our second to last game of the weekend. This will be the second meeting between these two sides with Rovers emerging as 4-0 victors in Knockdown last time around. Rovers are out of title contention while Killeaney may have something to play for provided they pick up the three points against Glin Rovers. With Killeaney having lost their last four games I see this going in favour of the home side.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West Rovers.

Rathkeale AFC vs Carrig Celtic.

Our final game sees Rathkeale take on Carrig Celtic. Rathkeale will either have the title wrapped up come Sunday or they will have Broadford United hot on their tail so they will want a result regardless. Carrig Celtic have lost their last three games and lost 3-1 to Rathkeale recently so I see Rathkeale taking three points here.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Rathkeale AFC.

About James Kirwan

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