SLIDESHOW: Limerick Desmond League weekend preview

Frank Nelligan

Reporter:

Frank Nelligan

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sport@limerickleader.ie

Abbeyfeale United are through to the quarter-finals of the Munster Junior Cup after a 5-0 victory at home to Wilton United in a contest that was every bit as one-sided as the scoreline suggests.
The quarter-finals will take place on March 8 and Abbeyfeale’s opponents will either be holders St. Michael’s or Regional United B, whose game last Sunday was called off because of Storm Denis.
The weather also played a part in the Riverside Park encounter, with referee Ger O’Connor twice calling a temporary halt to the proceedings because of hailstone lashings. However, the weather didn’t’ deter Abbeyfeale from a very impressive first-half performance, making light of the conditions with some great one-touch football.
Abbeyfeale managers John Kelliher and Thomas Cahill can feel pleased with this performance.
All the players were on the same passing wavelength, to such an extent that the player on the ball often had two or three passing options. When the team was required to counter-attack, they did so with great speed, which augurs well for future contests when opponents will have more possession than Wilton enjoyed.
The managers will also be very happy with the manner in which Liam Collins and Dylan Quirke, still a Youth and just a year out of Youths, respectively, have embedded themselves in the side.

Abbeyfeale United: Peter Collins, Thomas Sexton, Adam Riordan, Liam Collins, Cormac Roche, Billy Quirke, Dylan Quirke, Fiachra Cotter, Paudie Smith, Barry Sheehy, Kevin Murphy. Subs: Nigel O’Connor for Cotter (h-t), Maurice O’Connor and Peter Browne for Sexton and Roche (53 mins), Shane Mulvihill for Murphy (54 mins), Pa O’Connor for Quirke (58 mins), Joe Kelliher, Kieran Wynne, Chris Smith, Shane O’Connell.
Wilton United: Patrick Kenneally, Dane O’Sullivan, Denis Young, Colm Ward, David Young, Wayne Flood, Shane Forde, Jason Meehan, Michael Barry, Dylan Holland, Aaron Geary. Subs: Shane Dunne and Keith Ryan for Holland and O’Sullivan (62 mins), Alan Cassidy for Denis Young, inj (64 mins), Liam Hewitt, Daniel Luxford, Andre O’Sullivan, Talvan Henning.
Referee: Ger O’Connor.
Assistant Referees: Tony Fitzmaurice and Pat King.
Fourth Official: Pat O’Connor.
GLIN BACK ON TOP
All domestic games Saturday and Sunday were called off because of Storm Denis. Getting in ahead of the storm, the Premier Division game between Adare United and Glin Rovers was played in the Manor all-weather on Friday night.
Glin won 4-1 with a brace each from Sheagh O’Connor and Paul Sheehan and now lead the table by two points from Rathkeale.

LIMERICK DESMOND MEET KILKENNY FOR PLACE IN OSCAR TRAYNOR LAST FOUR
Limerick Desmond’s long-awaited Oscar Traynor quarter-final takes place this Sunday when they meet the Kilkenny League in Evergreen Park at 2.30.
Kilkenny were in a group with United Churches League and Kildare League and won both games. Kilkenny have a very impressive record in the competition.
Winners on five occasions, they were beaten in the last two Finals, by Limerick District (Janesboro) last season and Carlow the season before.
Their players are mainly drawn from Evergreen, Freebooters and Thomastown. They have a couple of former junior internationals in the side in centre-half Niall Andrews and big centre-forward Sean Barcoe. In the centre of midfield, Peter Higgins has played in the League of Ireland with Waterford.
The game will be played in Evergreen’s astro pitch and in preparation for that Limerick Desmond played a challenge game against Regional United in the city side’s all-weather surface during the height of Storm Denis last Sunday. Since the 2-1 defeat at home to Clare in the final group game in early January, Limerick Desmond have also played against Newcastle West and Aisling Annacotty and have lined up an outing against Kilcornan this Wednesday.
Alan O’Shea was injured in the game against Clare and he will not play any further part in this campaign. However, manager Jim Neenan didn’t want to lose O’Shea’s positive influence and so he has included him in his management team, joining Gary Egan and Tom Kelly.
Apart from O’Shea and another long-term injury, goalkeeper Andrew Ruddle, Limerick Desmond have a fully fit squad available, led on the pitch by captain Gary Enright in the centre of midfield and vice-captain Joe McAuliffe at centre-half.
It’s good news that Pa Ahern has returned from injury as the well-being of the Rathkeale striker is crucial to Desmond’s prospects of hurting Kilkenny, while the pace and penetration of the Murphy brothers, Kevin and Darren, will also be key.
To achieve victory on Sunday, Limerick Desmond will need to conjure up a combination of the resolve they showed in the scoreless draw away to Kerry and the sparkle that was evident in the 4-0 win at home to Limerick District. Certainly, a repeat of the sluggish performance against Clare will not be good enough.
With their home advantage and pedigree, Kilkenny are rightly favourites and Limerick Desmond will need as much support as possible in Evergreen Park on Sunday if they are to cause an upset.

Panel: Goalkeepers: Michael Stack, Patrick Stack, Sean Richards. Defenders: Cormac Roche, Joe McAuliffe, Sean O’Shea, Gary Culhane, Dylan Kelly, Seamus Brosnan Bryan Hannigan. Midfielders: Sean Brosnan, Gary Enright, Fiachra Cotter, John Hayes, Tim Larkin, Jack Hennessy, Shane Stack, Kevin Murphy, Jack Pierce. Strikers: Kevin Murphy, Darren Murphy, Pa Ahern, Jamie Keane, Brian Ahern. Injured: Andrew Ruddle.

BALLINGARRY BID FOR PLACE IN LAST FOUR IN MUNSTER YOUTHS CUP
After wins against Granagh United, Broadford United, St. Ita’s and Ballinroad of Waterford, Ballingarry qualified for the quarter-finals of the Munster Youths Cup. They were drawn away to Carrigaline and that game takes this Saturday at 3 pm on one of the two astro pitches in Ballea Park.
Carrigaline won the competition for the first time in their history last season but that shouldn’t worry Ballingarry as the opposition they will meet is a totally new team, apart from last season’s sub goalkeeper. This season, Carrigaline are mid-table in the Premier Division of the Cork Youths League.
Managed by Dean Clancy and his father, John, Ballingarry have been successful on their travels outside the League already this season, winning 2-1 in extra-time against Ballinroad in Waterford in the last round in late January. Since then, they have moved into a challenging position in the league with a 1-0 victory away to leaders Askeaton on the first day of February.
Darragh Casey ran the show for Ballingarry in the victory over Askeaton, along with his central midfield partner, Josh Quille. Lee Madigan looked to be their most exciting attacking player. Michael Southgate impressed after coming on as a substitute, scoring the match winner, and it will be interesting to see if he has forced himself into the Clancys’ starting team.
While this seasons’s crop may not match the vintage of last season, it has to be noted that Carrigaline have a huge pick, with two Youths teams and three u-17 sides. This strength in depth and their familiarity with their own astro surface are reasons to believe that they will get the better of Ballingarry in the end on Saturday.
Forecast: Carrigaline