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Limerick Desmond League Preview 2/4/2017

Weekly Observer Desmond Cup 3rd Round (extra time & penalties if required).

Shannonside FC vs Rathkeale AFC.

Shannonside host Premier Division opposition this Sunday when Rathkeale visit Borrigone for this third round clash. Shannonside are second in Division One after their first league loss last Sunday to Granagh United. That was also their first home loss this season and their second defeat in a row with them facing a tough challenge to prevent it from being three on the trot this Sunday. They will be familiar with Rathkeale having been in the Premier Division last season and they also have had a previous encounter with a Premier Division side this season as they lost 3-2 after extra-time to Newcastle West AFC in the Munster Junior Cup. They will also look to improve on a cup record that has only seen them win one of their four previous cup ties. Rathkeale maintained their stranglehold on first position in the Premier Division with a 4-2 win at home to Glin Rovers and will have their eyes on a Quarter-Final place this Sunday. They are now ten games unbeaten and have only lost twice all season, the first at home to Abbeyfeale United and the second away to Broadford United in extra-time. Having had such great results almost everywhere my prediction goes to Rathkeale to advance.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Rathkeale.

Newcastle West AFC vs Glin Rovers.

The Desmond Cup tie of the weekend sees Newcastle West AFC host Glin Rovers in Ballygowan Park. Tenth placed Premier Division side Newcastle had a strong showing away to Abbeyfeale United last week despite losing 3-0 in the Premier Division League Cup and they will look to build on that against Glin Rovers. They had a well deserved victory over Broadford United on St. Patrick’s day and while they will be more focused on surviving in the Premier Division than progressing in the Desmond Cup, some wins in this competition would be great for morale booster for the side. Their last home game was a league loss to Glin Rovers and thus far this season they have two wins from six at home. Glin Rovers are sixth in the Premier Division and last had a victory when they defeated Newcastle in mid-February having lost their last three games since then. Despite that losing run they have had strong showings in all of them and they will be confident of a win this Sunday having done it before. Outside of that win they have three draws away from home which shows how difficult of a side they can be to overcome. Glin Rovers will be the natural choice for most people and they will narrowly take my prediction but never rule out Newcastle.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glin Rovers.

Richard Hogan Cup Semi-Final (extra time & penalties if required).

Shountrade AFC vs Newcastle West B.

Shountrade will look to reach their second final of the season while Newcastle West B will look to move closer to a double when these two sides meet in the Richard Hogan Cup Semi-Final in Kiltannan. Shountrade are fourth in Division Two and made it five games unbeaten when they drew 1-1 at home to Adare United last Sunday. They started off in this competition with a 4-0 win at home to Glantine B and followed that up with a 5-2 win away to Newcastle West Rovers B. Although their action has been limited in this cup competition, they are already in the final of the Riedy Joinery Cup along with having a place in the Semi-Final of the Division Two League Cup. They have only lost twice at home this season and will go into this game filled with confidence because of that. Division Three Champions Newcastle West B have not lost their last three games and will look to get a victory over a Division Two side for the third time this season having defeated Rockhill Rovers twice and Glin Rovers B once. Their campaign started off with games against the two previously mentioned teams as they picked up a 1-0 win over Rockhill Rovers and a 4-3 win over Glin Rovers B in the second round and Quarter-Final respectively with both being on home soil. They have only lost twice on the road all season which were against Ferry Rangers and Pallaskenry of Division one with their only being a goal between them in both games. Both sides have proven themselves this season but Shountrade have been so convincing as of late that my prediction goes to the them to reach the final.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Shountrade AFC.

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

Ballysteen AFC vs Adare United.

First plays second as Ballysteen and Adare United clash for the fourth time this season in the Quarter-Final of the Division Two League Cup. Having already picked up the league title, Ballysteen will look to make it a double by advancing to the last four with it being the only other competition they remain in. They have not lost in their last four games with their last loss coming away to Adare United in the Desmond Cup after extra-time. In the three times these two sides have faced off it has taken place on Adare soil every time so Ballysteen will fancy their chances at home having won two of those three along with having only lost twice at home this season to two strong sides in Carrig Celtic and Listowel Celtic. Second placed Adare United have a very strong chance of being promoted and will have their eyes on some silverware also as this is one of the two competitions that they can still win. They have not lost in their last five games and have kept clean sheets in two of those. Adare are a capable cup side with them being in the Final of the Richard Hogan Cup along with them being in the Quarter-Final of the Desmond Cup. They have gone to extra-time three times this season with two of those being against Ballysteen so they will be more than capable of playing for more than ninety minutes. With twelve away games played already this season they have won eight, drawn one and lost three and with Ballysteen having home advantage I see the home side progressing.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ballysteen AFC.

St. Ita’s vs Glin Rovers B.

Our other Quarter-Final sees the reigning Division Two League Cup holders St. Ita’s host Glin Rovers B. Fifth placed St. Ita’s held Newcastle West Rovers B to a 1-1 draw last Sunday and will be keen to pick up a win having only gotten two draws from their last six games. St. Ita’s are a strong cup side having reached the Semi-Final of the Richard Hogan Cup this season and despite a rough start have improved on home turf with three wins and one draw from eight games. Glin Rovers B are ninth in Division Two but have begun to creep out of the drop zone following their great 2-0 win at home to Askeaton last Sunday which will act as a warning to their opposition this Sunday.  It ended a run of three games without a goal and eight without a win but they face the challenge of picking up their first result away from home since February this Sunday. In eight games away from home they have won once and drawn two and with St. Ita’s have defeated them in Glin earlier in the season, I see a St. Ita’s victory again this Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: St. Ita’s.

Weekly Observer Division 3 League Cup (90 min).

Creeves Celtic vs Glantine B.

Creeves Celtic will look to pickup their first three points in the Division Three League Cup when they host Glantine B this Sunday. They had a poor start to their League Cup campaign losing 2-0 away to Carrig Celtic B and will look to make amends for that result along with their 3-2 loss away to Glantine B last time around. Creeves have home advantage this Sunday and will look to make it count like they have in the past with five wins and five loss from ten games. They have only won two from their past five games at home to Glantine B will not see this trip as too daunting. Glantine B will also look to pick up their first league cup win following a good 1-1 draw with Knockaderry last week. They will be out of their comfort zone this Sunday having not garnered a result away from home this season and will need to pick up one against Creeves if there are to get into the shield or cup final. Creeves Celtic are strong at home and are a good side and so my prediction goes to them.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Creeves Celtic.

Feenagh B vs Ferry Rangers.

Our only other Division Three League Cup game sees Feenagh B start off their campaign with the visit of Ferry Rangers. Feenagh B finished seventh in Division Three and will hope they will find greater fortunes in the league cup. They have recorded two draws this season, at home to Newcastle West B and away to Glantine B, and will be hopeful of grabbing at least a point with there only being one goal between the two sides in their previous two meetings. The highest amount of goals they have scored in a game is three which came at home to Ferry Rangers so if they can emulate that this Sunday then there’s no reason why they cannot get a result. Ferry Rangers shared the spoils with Newcastle West B in their opening game and will look to record a hat-trick of victories over Feenagh B this Sunday. They have not won in their last three games and will be keen to pick up a win to end that streak. Despite only having played away from home five times this season they have done well with four wins and one draw. My prediction goes to Ferry Rangers to win this one but I see Feenagh B giving them a good run for their money at the very least.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ferry Rangers.

Weekly Observer Premier Division.

Killeaney vs Ballingarry AFC.

It’s another relegation six pointer this week as Killeaney host Ballingarry in our first Premier Division game of the weekend. This is the third meeting between the sides with Ballingarry winning 4-0 in their first meeting at Knockdown in the FAI Junior while Killeaney won the second encounter 3-2 at the Paddocks in the league. Killeaney are eighth in the table and this Sunday will be their first league game since their 2-0 win away to Carrig Celtic in late February. A lot has changed since then with Ballingarry now being pulled into the mix to make it a four horse race and having defeated them in the Paddocks previously they will be optimistic about a result on Sunday. Surprisingly Killeaney have only got one point at home which was a draw against Glin Rovers with the remaining seven coming in the form of two wins against Carrig Celtic and Ballingarry along with a draw with Athea United. A win would put them four points clear of the drop and while their home record is not fantastic they have shown that they can beat strong sides. Ninth placed Ballingarry are one point behind Killeaney and suffered a second successive defeat when they went down 3-2 to Athea United at the Vales. It was a poor result for Ballingarry and they will no doubt be kicking themselves after having a 1-0 half-time lead only to lose out by the odd goal in five. After a ten game stint at home they face their third away trip in a row this Sunday where their only win is the previously mentioned FAI Junior Cup game against Killeaney along with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle West Rovers at the start of the season. While Ballingarry’s away record is not fantastic, neither is Killeaney’s home form which makes this an interesting encounter. A huge game for both sides, I’m going to take Killeaney here.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Killeaney.

Newcastle West Rovers vs Abbeyfeale United.

While at the other end of the table, Newcastle West Rovers take on Abbeyfeale United in a game that both teams need to win and neither team can afford to lose. Newcastle West Rovers are joint second with Abbeyfeale United but have a game more played than the Fealesiders. They were eliminated from the Desmond Cup last Sunday by Broadford United and now solely have the Premier Division to contend for. They return to Woodfield this Sunday for the first time since the beginning of February and will be hoping to continue the four game unbeaten run they are on at home that began in November. They have been scoring high in recent league games with an average of almost five per game in their last five but they will struggle to hit that high against a team with a defence as strong as Abbeyfeale’s. Abbeyfeale go into this game with seven wins in a row behind them and will need a win if they are to contend for the league title. The defence of Abbeyfeale was previously mentioned and is backed up by the fact they have five clean sheets from those seven wins. They have still yet to lose to a Desmond League side this season and only a win will do them this Sunday if they are to challenge at the top of the table. These are two good sides but I think that Abbeyfeale will be that bit better come Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United.

Weekly Observer Division 1.

Abbeyfeale United B vs Pallaskenry AFC.

For the third time in four weeks Abbeyfeale United B will meet Pallaskenry in what is a crucial game for the visitors. Abbeyfeale are joint third and will not want to lose to Pallas for the third week in a row this Sunday. They will be more confident of a win with it being a league tie having defeated Pallas convincingly in the league earlier in the season along with currently have a three game win streak in Division One. Tenth placed Pallaskenry are really feeling the heat of the relegation battle with two fantastic victories from Feenagh meaning that their battle to survive has been made that bit tougher. Following a 5-3 loss after extra-time to Breska Rovers in the Division One League Cup they will return to the league for the first time since mid-February and it will be very interesting to see if they can carry over their fantastic cup form. Having defeated Abbeyfeale in their last two meetings I am inclined to lean towards Pallas but I would not be shocked at an Abbeyfeale win with it being a league game.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Pallaskenry AFC.

AK United vs Rathkeale B.

Next up is AK United taking on Rathkeale B. There’s only a point between these two sides with AK being a point above Rathkeale in sixth position. Having lost their last two games they will be keen to end that drought and will be hopeful of doing so with home advantage. Their record at home has seen them win two, draw two and lose three with those losses coming against the top three sides in the table. Rathkeale B were unsuccessful in their last league game against Feenagh and will travel to Kilcornan with the hopes of returning to the form of the week before where they defeated Granagh United in the Division One League Cup. They are well used to the road having played away from home eight times already this season with three wins, one draw and four losses. They will look to make it a double over AK and will be confident thanks to a decent away record despite their low league table position. This is a difficult one to call as both sides are somewhat safe from relegation but I am going to go for AK.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: AK United.

Glantine vs Breska Rovers.

Fourth placed Glantine host fifth placed Breska Rovers in our second to last game. Glantine have spent a lot of time in cup competitions as of late and will look to bounce back from a Riedy Joinery Cup Semi-Final loss to Shountrade with a win in their first league game since late January. That last game was a 3-2 win away to Kildimo United which is an impressive result despite their contrasting league positions with Kildimo being such a strong side at home. With that said, Glantine have been great at home having only lost three of their ten games on home soil this season and could move up to third in the table should Abbeyfeale United B fail to beat Pallaskenry. Breska will arguably be favourites for this game after their 4-1 home win earlier in the season but with there being little to play for at this stage of the season it could be a very different story. Breska won their last game in the Division One League Cup and will look to pick up a second successive win in what has been an inconsistent few months. They have not won two games in a row since the turn of the year but will still fancy their chances on Sunday due to their good away record of four wins and one draw from nine games. My prediction goes to Glantine for this one.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glantine.

Kildimo United vs Feenagh.

Our final game is a huge relegation clash as Kildimo United face Feenagh. Kildimo are eighth in the table and are two points ahead of Feenagh with one game more played. They have won their last two games against top sides in Breska Rovers and Shannonside but face a Feenagh side that are on the rise this Sunday. Kildimo will look to make the most of their home advantage which is something they have not done this season two wins from eleven games. They are a side that are capable of beating any side on their day having gotten great results including their previously mentioned victories against Shannonside and Breska as well as a win over Glantine. Feenagh will look to make it three in a row this Sunday as they have seemed to have done a complete 180° since their loss to Creeves Celtic in the Riedy Joinery Cup. Their away form is as good as Kildimo’s at home with two wins from ten and having beaten Kildimo at home earlier in the season they will definitely be optimistic about this game. Another very tough one to call, I’m going for a stalemate.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Draw.

About James Kirwan

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