SLIDESHOW: Desmond League Soccer Review and Preview

Broadford United became the first Limerick Desmond League team to reach the Munster Youths Cup semi-finals since Glin Rovers were beaten 2-1 in the Demesne by Vereker Clements in the 1983-84 final when Colm Ryan scored in injury-time to earn a 2-1 victory away to Charleville.
Broadford now await the winners of the Killorglin v Villa FC quarter-final and the semi-final probably won’t be played until the end of March, with Broadford travelling once again.
The Broadford team and supporters will certainly have enjoyed the journey home from Charleville last Saturday night. They would have enjoyed it if James Molyneaux’s 32nd minute opener had proved sufficient but to have the strength of character to forge in front again after a resurgent Charleville had equalised through substitute Oran O’Connell in the 73rd minute made the historic occasion even more special and memorable.

Charleville: David Parajnak, Liam Connell, Daniel O’Connell, Killian Cagney, James Horgan, Matthew Howard, Joe Kavanagh, David O’Riordan, Joey Herbert, AJ Moloney, Jorge Gustavo. Subs: Oran O’Connell for D. O’Connell, inj (33 mins), Jason Collins for L. Connell (h-t), Jack Kavanagh, Sam O’Connell, Dylan O’Donoghue, Ben Herlihy.
Broadford United: Brian Stack, Jack Brennan, Cian Ryan, Jack Mullane, James Molyneaux, Ciaran O’Sullivan, TJ Kelly, Kieran O’Flynn, Conor Stack, Colm Ryan, Jamie Keane. Subs: Kenny Lynch for O’Sullivan (68 mins), Conor Davey, Graham Roche, Darragh Ryan, Mark Kelly.
NOTE: Broadford have another big game this Saturday. They will be crowned Youths Division 1 Champions if they win away to Ballingarry, kick-off at 2.30. On the other hand, Ballingarry will win the title if they win and go on to win their last game, away to Abbeyfeale United.

There are two more Desmond Cup second round games down for decision on Sunday, featuring four high-ranking teams.

Ballingarry (Premier) v Broadford United (Premier)
This tie has come at a good time for Ballingarry as their confidence will possibly be at the highest it’s been all season after they recorded their first League victory of the campaign when they won 5-3 away to Glin Rovers last Sunday. It was an especially memorable day for Alan Smith who scored a first-half hat-trick.
Broadford United were disappointed at the manner of their 3-0 defeat away to Carrick United in the 5th round of the Munster Junior Cup a couple of weeks ago and they will be keen to stay on track to recapture the trophy that they memorably won in extra-time against Glin Rovers in the final two seasons ago, especially now that their status in the League title race has been downgraded from challengers to outsiders.
Ballingarry drew 2-2 at home to Broadford in the middle of January and this game is also likely to be finely-balanced. Cup rules dictate that the two sides will have to be separated at the end and, by whatever means, I think that Broadford’s strength in depth will see them through.
Forecast: Broadford Untied

Shountrade (Division 1) v Newcastle West Town (Premier)
Shountrade are the prototype of the kind of team that could cause a shock in the Desmond Cup.
They have shown an ability to win big games, having won three Cup Finals in the last three seasons; their current form is good as they are in a challenging position in Division 1 and are through to the Riedy Cup Final for the third season in a row; and they have a striker in form in Adam Reidy.
For all these reasons, Newcastle West Town will have to be at their best to avoid an upset. They had put a run of four successive wins together until they lost 3-0 to Rathkeale last week, a game that was as good as over at half-time.
If Newcastle West Town can rediscover the drive that propelled them to a successful 2019 until last Sunday, then they should have the wherewithal to negotiate this undoubtedly tricky assignment.
Forecast: Newcastle West Town

Breska Rovers were crowned Youths Division 2 Champions with a game to spare when they won 6-3 away to Carrig Celtic on Saturday. Breska suffered an early setback when Rory Forrestal opened the scoring for Carrig in the 2nd minute. However, the visitors responded strongly, Josh Carey (2), Ross Kenny and Barry O’Connor scoring four goals between them from the 30th to the 40th minutes. John Hayes converted a free-kick to pull a goal back for Carrig before half-time.
In the second-half, Carey completed his hat-trick and substitute Dylan Kelly also got on the scoresheet before Luke Gleeson scored Carrig’s third. Breska are deserving League winners, having lost just one game all season. Well done to the players and manager Tom Clancy and his assistants, Kevin Foster and Conor McCarthy.

Youths Division 1
Askeaton relinquished any prospects of challenging for the Youths Division 1 title when they gave a walkover to Abbeyfeale United.

Desmond Cup
Pallaskenry came out on top in the last remaining Desmond Cup first round game when they won 6-1 away to Broadford United Reserves. Alan O’Donnell and Kieran Bourke both bagged a brace, with Kevin Madden and Paul Battles also on the scoresheet.
Askeaton are through to the third round after winning 2-1 away to Breska Rovers. Jeff Duggan opened the scoring in the 20th minute and Gavin O’Gorman doubled Askeaton’s lead in the 70th minute. Tom Clancy pulled a goal back for Breska in injury-time.
AK United join Askeaton in the last eight after winning 7-6 on penalties to resolve a scoreless tie away to St. Ita’s. St. Ita’s goalkeeper, Sean Richardson, prevented AK from winning it in normal time when he saved an 80th minute penalty.

Premier Division
Rathkeale maintained their six-point lead at the top of the Premier Division table when they won 3-0 at home to Newcastle West Town with first-half goals from Pa Ahern (2) and Steven Power.
At the foot of the table, Ballingarry recorded their first League victory of the season when they won 5-2 away to Glin Rovers.
The game between Kildimo United and Granagh United was abandoned in the 88th minute with Granagh leading 3-2.

Division 1
Shountrade moved into a challenging position in Division 1 when they won 4-3 at home to Ballysteen.
Rathkeale B kept their promotion hopes alive with a 3-2 victory at home to Shannonside FC.

Division 2
Rockhill Rovers replaced Glin Rovers B in the top half of the Division 2 table when they won 2-0 in Glin. The goals were scored by Shane Feehan and Michael Thompson, both in the first-half.

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