In this week’s column, the Secret Junior Footballer looks at the intriguing battle for the Premier Division title.
At the almost-halfway point of the season, what is going on in the Limerick Premier Division? In my beloved lower leagues the season takes a familiar look by the fourth or fifth week but in the top tier this year it’s all a bit strange. You’ve got Ballynanty Rovers leading the way with a game more played than everyone else except for Carew Park.
Balla have been very hit and miss and are out of the big two cups already so to be top of the league at almost the halfway point and having taken points off both Pike and Janesboro, they’ve become a real Jekyll and Hyde club.
Who knows who’ll show up against that other Jekyll and Hyde club in the Fairgreen next Sunday morning. I gave the Greeners the kiss of death last week so this week I’m back to saying they haven’t a prayer against the team most often described as ‘last year’s FAI Junior Cup finalists’. But Fairview are on the up so who knows how that one will go.
Fancy Dans Pike Rovers have become Desperate Dans over the last few weeks and with Geraldines waiting in the long grass and only a point behind them in the table, they’re in for another tough time. Shane Clarke FC have to head across the river to face Moyross so we’ll see what they’re made of after both teams secured passage to the next stage of the Munster Junior Cup. Moyross of course are still in the FAI, unlike their big spending opponents. Big spenders on groundskeeping fees of course, nothing else. The basement teams are all facing each other which should make for interesting reading when the dust has settled.
Will Knockainey be cut adrift? Will Regional separate themselves from the pack ? Will the wacky tactics truck pull up in Annacotty to cover the Carew Park game? All signs point to yes. So this year there’s no real cream rising to the top.
All the ‘top’ teams have had quite a few slip ups this season and all the bottom teams have given themselves something to shout about. The question is, are the so-called weaker teams getting any better or are the stronger teams starting to lose it?
By now, there are clear leaders in many of the divisions except the Premier and that can only be good for top level soccer in Limerick, right? Either way, more equal local competition should hopefully lead to a better showing on the national junior stage.
The season has been interesting so far but really it’s been a strange one. IF the league title turns into a five horse race then it’ll be the best run-in for many years. IF the bottom teams remain in the mire coming into the new year it’ll be just as enthralling.
Though short on quality, the second half of the season has all the makings of a classic.