The FAI Junior Cup 5th round, which is the first of the open rounds, takes place on Sunday and there are three Limerick Desmond League teams bidding for a place in the last 32.
Glin Rovers (Premier) v Lakewood Athletic (Cork AUL Premier A)
Lakewood Athletic play in Ballincollig and so they have plenty of players to draw upon for their 26 teams from under-age to junior. They were a Munster Senior League side for three seasons but returned to the AUL eight years ago. They lost a few key players at the start of last season and suffered the consequences when they were relegated from the top flight to Premier A. They are going fairly well at the moment, with two wins and one defeat from their three league games.
With victories over Sporting Ennistymon, Strand Road and Turnpike Rovers, Glin Rovers are well worthy of their place in the last 64. They are also still in the Munster Junior Cup, having beaten neighbours Killeaney/Bally Rovers 2-1 away a couple of weeks ago. Paul Sheehan scored a brilliant winner in that game but he will be unavailable on Sunday as he will be flying to Holland to play with the Irish army team. While others will no doubt step up to try and offset Sheehan’s loss, I think that it could prove to be costly in what is likely to be a game of fine margins.
Forecast: Lakewood Athletic.
Peake Villa (Tipperary South Premier) v Carrig Celtic (Premier)
Carrig Celtic certainly didn’t get ideal preparation for this tough encounter when they lost 6-0 at home to Abbeyfeale United in the league last Sunday.
However, it has to be said that, for a variety of reasons, they were missing seven key players last Sunday, namely, Declan Greaney, Sean McSweeney, Chris Moxey, Seanie King, Sean Kelly, Killian Enright and Denny Greaney. All of those are expected to be available for the trip to Thurles, though, on the minus side, they may be missing some players due to u-21 football.
Carrig, with impressive victories over Lifford Celtic and Shannon Olympic behind them, will need to be at their best on Sunday. Peake Villa are a clear second to St. Michaels’ in the Tipperary South League, with six wins, one draw and one defeat. They reached the quarter-finals two seasons ago and with home advantage will be expected to take another step towards a repeat.
Forecast: Peake Villa.
Gorey Rangers (Wexford Premier) v Rathkeale (Premier)
Rathkeale showed true grit to come from 2-1 down at half-time to win 4-2 away to Newcastle West Town in the league last Sunday. Defeat in the Demesne would have been damaging to morale as Rathkeale were knocked out of the Munster Junior Cup by Abbeyfeale United the previous week. Declan Nash scored one of the goals against Newcastle but he will be missing for the trip to Gorey, as will Jack Hennessy.
Gorey Rangers are a long-standing Premier team in Wexford. They won the Wexford Cup last season and are unbeaten in this league campaign, with one win and two draws. They are consistently one of the top three sides in Wexford, along with current leaders, Shamrock Rovers, and FAI Junior Cup holders, North End United. They got to the last 16 two seasons ago, beaten by eventual winners, Sheriff YC.
Rathkeale will miss the penetration of Hennessy and the link-up play and scoring ability of Nash.
Forecast: Gorey Rangers