Unless there are cancellations, the first round of the Desmond Cup will be completed on Sunday.
The two games that were called off last Sunday are rescheduled and the forecast in them remains for AK United to win at home to Rathkeale B and for Newcastle West Town to win away to Killeaney/Bally Rovers.
Glin Rovers (Premier) v Killeaney/Bally Rovers Reserves (Division 2)
Glin Rovers flew the flag for the Limerick Desmond League in the FAI Junior Cup this season, reaching the 6th round in which they were beaten by VEC in Dublin. It will be a big shock if they don’t prove too good for their neighbours, who are mid-table in Division 2.
Forecast: Glin Rovers
Ballingarry (Premier) v Rockhill Rovers (Division 2)
Ballingarry haven’t won a game since they beat Shountrade 2-0 away in the Munster Junior Cup in late October but they will be expected to correct that on Sunday when they entertain Rockhill Rovers, who are in the bottom half of Division 2.
Broadford United Reserves (Division 2) v Pallaskenry (Division 2)
Pallaskenry have already won 1-0 away to Broadford United Reserves in the League and might just manage a repeat.
Abbeyfeale looking for repeat of famous win
The greatest day in Abbeyfeale United’s club history came the December 11 2016 when they beat St. Michael’s in extra-time in Newcastle West in the final of the Munster League Champions Trophy.
If Abbeyfeale are to stay on track to regain the trophy this season they will have to beat St. Michael’s again as the two teams meet in the semi-final in Cooke Park, Tipperary on Sunday at 2 pm.
St. Michael’s are on course to retain the Tipperary South League title, currently leading by seven points from Peake Villa.
They had a magnificent win last Sunday when they came from behind to beat Mervue United 2-1 at home. What makes the victory all the more special is that they had a player sent off in the 43rd minute just a minute after equalising.
They have three current junior internationals in their ranks, namely Jimmy Carr, Shane Ryan and Sean Guerin.
The centre-half partnership against Abbeyfeale two seasons ago was Paul Breen and James Walsh. Breen is still at the heart of the defence but Walsh has now moved into the management seat.
Abbeyfeale are out of the FAI Junior Cup and Munster Junior Cup and so this is their last remaining chance to do well in an outside competition. They are still very much in the hunt to retain their league title, though they currently trail Rathkeale by three points. Manager John Kelliher and his assistant, Tony Stout, have no major injury concerns, with Ray Lynch and Kevin Murphy both having returned to the side from injury recently.
It is for games like this that Lynch and Murphy were signed last summer and they can be expected to play leading roles on Sunday, as will Chris Smith, who was on the standby panel for the Junior international team to play Stephen Kenny’s home-based u-21 players this Wednesday. Cormac Roche and Joe Kelliher always play to a high standard and they will need to maintain that on Sunday.
Indeed, it will take a massive effort from everyone for Abbeyfeale to beat St. Michael’s, who have appeared in the final of this competition three times, winning once, and have won the Munster Junior Cup twice in the last five seasons as well as the FAI Junior Cup in 2014.
The effort will be there from this most genuine bunch of players but I feel that they will still just fall short against one of the best teams in Munster on their own patch.
Forecast: St. Michael’s