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Limerick Desmond League Preview 26/2/2017

Weekly Observer Desmond Cup 2nd Round (extra time & penalties if required).
Rathkeale AFC vs Knockaderry AFC.

Our Desmond Cup second round tie is a replay of last year’s Semi Final as Rathkeale take on Knockaderry. Rathkeale are top of the Premier Division and it was business as usual for them in their first round tie as they defeated Carrig Celtic 5-0 away from home. Rathkeale have been unbeaten in their last eight games with six wins and two draws against solely Premier Division opponents. They have lost once at home which was in the second round of the FAI Junior Cup to Abbeyfeale United and have only lost twice from eighteen games in all competitions. They have kept two clean sheets in their last two games and will have their eyes on a third one in a row along with a third round away draw in Borrigone against Shannonside. Knockaderry are third in Division Three and will look to complete another cup upset this Sunday. They defeated Feenagh in the previous round and have won their last two games in a row with clean sheets thanks to a win over Glantine B last Sunday. Knockaderry are well used to facing uphill tasks in cup competitions this season with all four of their previous cup games being against either Division One or Division Two sides. Their victory over Askeaton in the Richard Hogan Cup is another example of how this side can pull off cup shocks but with Rathkeale being so strong this season I see the home side progressing.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Rathkeale AFC.

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

Ferry Rangers vs Athea United.

Ferry Rangers will look to pull off another Desmond Cup upset when they entertain Athea United in Tarbert. Ferry Rangers are joint top of Division Three and grabbed a 1-0 home win over Glantine to reach the third round of this competition. Their strength at home has been documented time and time again having defeated Rathkeale B 5-2 earlier in the season also, so they will have no shortage of confidence when it comes to overturning Athea. Athea United are ninth in the Premier Division and were slim winners against Killeaney in the previous round. With them facing off against a side three divisions below them in this round, they will be confident of a win but they will definitely be apprehensive of Ferry considering their previous results. Athea’s last game saw them lose 5-2 at home to Abbeyfeale United in the Premier Division League Cup but outside of that they have done well as of late with the previously mentioned win over Killeaney and a draw with Glin Rovers. They have shown that they can rise against challenges away from home in the past with a 3-3 draw away to Carrig Celtic earlier in the season but have only been able to garner one win on the road since then. Athea will be in unfamiliar surroundings this Sunday and while I expect them to win I do not expect Ferry to give them an easy time of it.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Athea United.

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

Shountrade AFC vs Glantine.

The first of two Riedy Joinery Cup Semi Finals sees Glantine travel to Kiltannan to take on Shountrade. Shountrade are joint fifth in Division Two and will be on a high following their upset win over St. Ita’s last Sunday which was also their second win in a row in all competitions. Shountrade have played great this season and have been rewarded with the three cup semi finals that they are in. They started off in this competition with a 2-1 win at home to Feenagh B and followed that up with a 6-2 win away to Ferry Rangers to reach this semi final. Their only loss in all cup competitions has come at the hands of Newcastle West Rovers while their home grounds have traditionally been a tough place to go to as they have won six and drawn once from ten games on home soil. Glantine are joint third in Division One and will look to go one step closer to retaining the Riedy Joinery Cup by defeating Shountrade. Glantine face their first away game in this competition this season as they defeated Bally Rovers 6-0 at home in the first round and edged out Adare United in the quarter final. This will also be their first game on the road since their loss to Ferry Rangers in the Desmond Cup and they will want to erase those memories with a win. From ten games away from home they recorded four wins and and two draws and they will need to be at the top of their game if they are to get a result against a very competitive side in Shountrade. With it being a semi final it will be a very competitive game, I see Glantine coming out on top but Shountrade will not make it easy for them.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Glantine.

Feenagh vs Creeves Celtic.

Feenagh will look to book their place in the Riedy Joinery Cup final when they take on Creeves Celtic. Feenagh are tenth in Division One and have been excellent in cup contests this season. Their Riedy Joinery Cup campaign started off with a win over the high flying Granagh United, followed by a 1-0 win away to Pallaskenry before defeating Abbeyfeale United B in a penalty shootout to reach the semi finals. They have earned their right to be in this semi final having had a very tough route so far but face a tough side in Creeves Celtic on Sunday. With nine games at home they have recorded three wins and one draw and while that form is not very remarkable their cup run as of late has been. Creeves Celtic are fifth in Division Three but are not to be taken lightly despite their league position. Creeves were originally knocked out in the first round by Breska Rovers but the result was overturned due to Breska’s fielding of a player under suspension and so Creeves progressed. They then proved why they deserved to be in the competition with a 3-0 win at home to St. Ita’s before making a huge statement with a 4-0 win away to Kildimo United. They were finalists last year where they were narrowly edged out by Glantine and they will really want to right the wrongs of last year by getting to the final and lifting the cup. This will be their first time outside of Newbridge since January and they will hope to improve from their 3-2 loss against Glantine B. They will be familiar with the field of play on Sunday as they travelled to face Feenagh B earlier in the season and were 3-1 winners. Their away form has seen them win twice and draw once from seven matches on the road but this is a side that is capable of blowing any team out of the water. This is a tough one to call and I would not be shocked regardless of which way it goes, I think that Feenagh have been very competitive as of late and will have enough for Creeves but nothing would shock me.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Feenagh.

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

St. Ita’s vs Adare United.

Our only Richard Hogan Cup game of the weekend sees St. Ita’s and Adare United face off for a place in the final. This game has been changed to Adare which makes it very interesting and could very well change the result. St. Ita’s are fifth in Division Two and will look to bounce back from an upset home loss to Shountrade last Sunday which left them eight points off of promotion with two games in hand. St. Ita’s defeated Creeves Celtic 1-0 away in extra-time in the first round, defeated Carrig Celtic B 5-0 away in the second round and grabbed another convincing win when they defeated Ballysteen 4-1 at home in the quarter final. With that huge win in the quarter final they will be confident of reaching the final but face off against a team that they lost out to in the league earlier in the season. St. Ita’s have a good away record behind them with seven wins and two draws from eleven with their losses coming against Rathkeale and Creeves Celtic. Callum Donoghue looks set to return to the side following an absence with injury and his presence alone could very well win them this game. Adare United are second in Division Two and are going into their fourth cup game in a row this Sunday. They had a tough win over Newcastle West B last Sunday in the Desmond Cup and will look to progress in another cup competition with a win over a side they earned three points against in their league encounter. In eight cup games they have emerged with six wins with their losses coming against two great sides in Ballysteen and Glantine. After a rough patch where they lost three games in a row they have bounced back excellently winning three of their last four. With the exception of that blip they have been good on home soil with six wins and one draw from ten games. With their victory last time around my prediction goes to Adare United but after St. Ita’s 4-0 victory over AK United in Adare I would not rule them out.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Adare United.

Weekly Observer Premier Division League Cup 1st Round (extra time & penalties if required).

Glin Rovers vs Broadford United.

Our first Premier Division League Cup contest sees Glin Rovers host Broadford United. Glin Rovers are fifth in the Premier Division where they are ten points behind Broadford United in third who have two games in hand. They were edged out by Abbeyfeale United by a single goal in their last game but will look to return to winning ways when they return to Glin to face a side who put four past them last time around. Cup form has been good with Glin Rovers with their only two losses coming against Abbeyfeale United. Home is where Glin have always been at their strongest with five wins and one draw from ten games. Only this League Cup and the Desmond Cup are the competitions that Glin can still contest for so they will want to pick up the win. Broadford United have been in great form as of late scoring five goals in their last three games along with winning their last four in a row. Like Glin, Broadford have shown great prowess in cup games with six wins out of seven with their only loss coming to current league leaders Rathkeale. Broadford have won their last three games away from home and have only lost three in total from their ten away trips. Glin has always been a difficult place to go to but with Broadford coming out on top last time I am confident that they will do so again this Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Broadford United.

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

Carrig Celtic vs Killeaney.

Carrig Celtic will take on Killeaney for the second time in as many weeks in the quarter final of the Premier Division League Cup. Carrig Celtic are sixth in the Premier Division and will look to make amends for last week’s loss at the weekend. Carrig have been inconsistent as of late trading wins and losses almost every week so they will look to begin a steady run of results with a victory. Carrig have been strong in cup competitions with six wins from nine but have had a tendency to lose by a high scoreline when they have lost with sixteen goals conceded and none scored in their three defeats. Killeaney are seventh in the Premier Division and have had a great revival as of late with two wins from their last three. Their victory over Carrig Celtic last Sunday came as a shock and so they will be high in confidence going into this cup tie. Those previously mentioned victories are their first two of the season with the only highlights from earlier in the season being their draws with Athea United and Glin Rovers along with taking Broadford United to extra-time in the Munster Junior Cup. Despite Killeaney’s win last week I think that Carrig will bounce back and so I see the home side advancing although it could be anyone’s game if it goes to extra-time.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Carrig Celtic.

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

Pallaskenry AFC vs Abbeyfeale United B.

Our only Division One League Cup game sees Pallaskenry take on Abbeyfeale United B in the first round. Pallaskenry pulled out a 5-0 victory over Granagh United in the Desmond Cup and will definitely want to keep that momentum rolling in the league cup. They will be facing off against Abbeyfeale B for the second time this season and with recent results in mind they will be confident of getting the win this time around. Pallaskenry have only played four cup games this season but have come out as winners in three of them with their only loss coming against Feenagh in the Riedy Joinery Cup. They have won three and drawn once from ten home games but if they can perform like their last game then there’s no reason why they can advance this Sunday. Abbeyfeale United B are joint third in Division One and were convincing 5-1 winners at home to AK United last Sunday. Like Pallaskenry they have not had much participation in cup competitions this season but have had been generally successful with two wins from three along with their only loss coming in a penalty shootout against Feenagh. They have a strong away record of six wins from ten and with a 6-2 win over Pallaskenry earlier in the season I think they will advance this Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United B.

Weekly Observer Premier Division.

Abbeyfeale United vs Ballingarry AFC.

After a tough game last Sunday Abbeyfeale United will hope to pick up another three points when they host Ballingarry in our first Premier Division game of the weekend. Abbeyfeale are slowly catching up on their games in hand and a win this Sunday would see them go joint third with Broadford United with a game in hand. Abbeyfeale’s win over Glin last Sunday was their third win on the bounce and their second clean sheet in three weeks and they will be confident of a win over Ballingarry considering their contrasting league table positions. Abbeyfeale are hitting their stride again as of late and have shown their quality in the past with them reaching the sixth round of the FAI Junior Cup along with wins over local sides including Broadford United, Rathkeale and Newcastle West Rovers. Ballingarry suffered a second successive defeat when they lost out to Newcastle West Rovers last Sunday and face a tough task this Sunday if they are to end that dry run. Having played their last nine games at home, Ballingarry will venture outside of the Paddocks for the first time since mid-November when they lost 2-1 to Carrig Celtic. Their time spent on the road has not gone in their favour with one win and one draw from five games. Abbeyfeale will be keen to win all of their games in hand so I see them taking the points on Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Abbeyfeale United.

Newcastle West AFC vs Newcastle West Rovers.

The Newcastle West derby will take place for the second time this Sunday when Newcastle West AFC take on Newcastle West Rovers in the Demesne. Newcastle West AFC are tenth in the Premier Division with their survival hopes being damaged by the recent revival of Killeaney. Their last outing saw them fall 4-2 at home to Glin Rovers, a game where they showed great capability but were ultimately let down by defensive errors which were pounced on by Glin. Their home record has seen them get two victories from six along with a narrow loss to Carrig Celtic on the first day. They were unfortunate in their last game against Newcastle West Rovers and were more than good enough to get the win. If they can rally the troops and put together a strong eleven then there is absolutely no reason why they cannot win this Sunday. Newcastle West Rovers were convincing winners when they put three past Ballingarry without reply and will look to pick up another win on Sunday and put themselves two points off of the top of the table. Rovers have shown great strength in the league, having only lost once in twelve games along with being unbeaten in their last eight league fixtures. They have won three and drawn one of their seven away games but will not be afraid of their local rivals following their last meeting. Seoirse Joyce was on the mark yet again for Rovers last Sunday as was Daragh McCarthy who has often appeared on the score sheet despite playing in midfield, if they can keep up their attacking form this Sunday then there should be no fear of them not getting the win. It was 3-1 to Rovers last time and I see Rovers coming out on top for the second time this Sunday.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West Rovers.

Weekly Observer Division 1.

Shannonside FC vs Granagh United.

There’s only two Division One games this weekend but this first one is huge as Shannonside take on Granagh United in a top of the table clash. Shannonside are top of the table and a win would see them go five points clear of Granagh United in second. With fourteen league games under their belt they have yet to lose once and if they can get past Granagh on Sunday they will put one hand on the league title with only three games remaining. Shannonside have won their last seven games in all competitions and have not lost in their past eleven, with no losses on home soil and a win over Granagh United earlier in the season they will be confident in their ability to do the double over their title competitors. Granagh United suffered a big loss last Sunday as Pallaskenry beat them 5-0 in the Desmond Cup and a win over the unbeaten Shannonside would be a great way to return to form. Granagh have declined as of late losing to Abbeyfeale United B in the league, narrowly getting past Rathkeale B, who they defeated earlier in the season, on penalties in the Desmond Cup before falling to Pallas in their last game. They have not thrived in cup competition but have done great in the league with wins over the majority of the division. They face an away trip to Borrigone this Sunday with their away form being above average this season with five wins, one draw and four losses. Shannonside have proven their worth time and time again this season and with Granagh going through a rough patch I feel that Shannonside will take all three points.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Shannonside FC.

Breska Rovers vs Kildimo United.

While our other Division One fixture sees Breska Rovers welcome Kildimo United to Clarina for their second league meeting of the season. Breska ended a four game losing streak when they convincingly defeated Rathkeale B at the weekend and will have their eyes set on another victory when they face Kildimo United. Breska’s home record makes them favourites on Sunday with their only losses coming against Shannonside and AK United while they have defeated Glantine and Rathkeale B along with a 0-0 draw with Granagh United. Breska Rovers were 2-1 winners in Kildimo and seem to be emerging from a rough patch so they will be difficult for Kildimo United to overcome this Sunday. Kildimo United will have their first game since their 2-1 extra-time loss to Newcastle West Rovers B in the Desmond Cup and will be keen to get a win on Sunday in order to boost their survival hopes. Kildimo are ninth in the league table and a win would move them out of the drop zone by two points. Kildimo have shown what they can do on the road in the past, defeating Rathkeale B, Glantine and Pallaskenry convincingly along with running Shannonside close in their encounter. Their last away game saw them defeat Pallaskenry 7-1 and if they can reach those heights this Sunday then Breska will have a task on their hands but I see the home side winning this one.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Breska Rovers.

Weekly Observer Division 2.

Bally Rovers vs Ballysteen AFC.

Bally Rovers will host the undefeated table toppers Ballysteen in our first Division Two game. Bally Rovers are fourth in Division Two and fourteen points behind Ballysteen with the same number of games played so a victory would be a great way for them to catch up. Their loss to Askeaton last Sunday marked their second in a row but they will hope that their return to their home grounds for the first time since the beginning of January will bring greater fortunes. Rovers have won three of their seven home games but will go into this game as underdogs with Ballysteen’s 5-1 victory over them from last time around taken into consideration. Ballysteen will return to league action for the first time since their draw against St. Ita’s and will look to extend their lead at the top. A win on Sunday would see them go ten points clear of Adare United in second with the same number of games played with only four league games remaining. They have only managed a draw from their last two games but will be confident of a win with the result they recorded over Bally Rovers at home previously. With five wins and one draw from eight games on the road they have been very strong and so I see them picking up the three points.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Ballysteen.

Glin Rovers B vs Askeaton AFC.

We will wrap up Division Two with the meeting of Glin Rovers B and Askeaton for the second time this season. Glin are ninth in Division Two and are four points behind Rockhill Rovers in eighth with two games in hand. A win on Sunday would really boost their survival hopes and there’s every chance of that with it being so close last time. They shared the points in their last game which was a draw with Newcastle West Rovers B so they will look to get their first league win since November at the weekend. They have won two of their nine home games this season and will need to improve that record starting this Sunday if they are to stay in Division Two. Askeaton are third in Division Two and are six points off of the promotion zone with two games in hand. They came out on top in their last game with a 3-2 win against Bally Rovers but they will be keen to get their first league win since the start of January. They had no luck in their last away game as they lost out to Adare United and have not had good fortunes this season on the road with two wins and one draw from eight games. There’s a lot of stake for Askeaton in this game and despite their away record I think they will come out on top.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Askeaton AFC.

Weekly Observer Division 3.

Newcastle West B vs Feenagh B.

Our one and only Division Three game sees Newcastle West B host Feenagh B in what is a crucial game for the home side. Newcastle West B are second in Division Three and while promotion is guaranteed, they will want to win their remaining games to guarantee a league title playoff at the very least. Newcastle were unfortunate to be edged out by Adare United in the Desmond Cup last week but this league title will be their ultimate goal so they will be determined to win on Sunday. Newcastle drew 2-2 with Feenagh B on the second day of the season but have improved leaps and bounds since then with two victories over Division Two sides along with wins over the majority of Division Three. Their only two home losses have come against quality opposition in Adare United and Ferry Rangers so Feenagh B will have a challenge on their hands if they are to win. Feenagh B lost 3-1 at home to Carrig Celtic B on Sunday and will be hopeful of a result this weekend considering the outcome of their last meeting with Newcastle West B. They have recorded two draws this season, one at home to Newcastle West B and one away to Glantine B, but have not been far behind Carrig Celtic B, Shountrade and Ferry Rangers in defeat. I think that there is so much at stake for Newcastle West B that they will come away with the win.

StoppageTime.ie Prediction: Newcastle West B.

About James Kirwan

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