The Desmond Cup begins this weekend and Frank Nelligan previews the 11 games fixed for this Sunday.
Eleven of the 21 Desmond Cup first round ties take place this Sunday. There’s no major clash and big guns, Broadford United, Newcastle West and Rathkeale, are all expected to advance at the expense of lower-division opposition.
Broadford Utd (Premier) v
Ballysteen (Division 2)
After being knocked out of both the FAI Junior Cup and Munster Junior Cup in January, Broadford can now focus on domestic competition.
Winning the Desmond Cup will be in the top two of their list of targets, especially after losing 1-0 to Shannnoside FC in the Cup Final replay last season. Their defence has been strengthened by the signing of John Kelliher, hitherto synonymous with Abbeyfeale United. Player-manager Ray Lynch, still out of action through injury, will be a loss up front but Broadford should still have too much firepower for Ballysteen, who have been conceding a lot of goals in Division 2.
Prediction: Broadford Utd
Newcastle West (Premier) v
Breska Rovers (Division 1)
Winners of the competition two seasons ago, Newcastle West are unbeaten against domestic opposition this season, a record preserved by Daniel Power last Sunday when he scored the equaliser in the 1-1 draw at home to Abbeyfeale United.
Power and his striking partner, Seoirse Joyce, will expect to get among the goals against a Breska Rovers side that have conceded an average of three goals in each of their eleven Division 1 games.
Prediction: Newcastle West
Creeves Celtic (Division 2) v
Rathkeale last captured the Desmond Cup in 2010 and they will be among the favourites to do so again.
They have been inconsistent in the league but, having said that, they are only three points off top spot. Creeves Celtic’s priority for the rest of the season will surely be to preserve their Division 2 status, which hangs by a thread.
Newcastle West Rovers (Premier) v Rathkeale Reserves (Division 2)
These two sides are two divisions apart but they will be playing in the same division next season if current league positions remain until the end of the season.
Rovers’ prospects for the rest of the season have been boosted by the signing from Newcastle West of Peter Shanahan and James Cussen, who both played starring roles for the Limerick Desmond Youths this season. The impetus provided by these exciting signings might prevent high-flying Rathkeale Reserves from causing an upset.
Prediction: Newcastle West Rovers
Carrig Celtic (Premier) v
Athea United (Division 1)
These two teams soldiered for a long time in the same division but Carrig Celtic have outsripped Athea United in recent seasons.
Local bragging rights will ensure a keenly-contested affair but Carrig’s superior position in the rankings should be reflected in the result on the day.
Prediction: Carrig Celtic.
Shountrade (Division 4) v
Shountrade are looking good for promotion from Division 4, while Killeaney are in a three-way dogfight to avoid relegation from the top flight.
Killeaney have reached the quarter-finals in two of the last three seasons and are expected to stay on track for a repeat.
Old Mill (Division 1) v
Glantine (Division 1)
We have league form as a guide in this one and it clearly favours Glantine who won both encounters, 2-0 at home and 5-2 away.
The two sides are separated by seventeen points in the league table.
Bally Rovers (Division 4) v
St Ita’s (Division 1)
St Ita’s were nine points off the Division 1 promotion places in early October but that gap has now been reduced to just one point.
They should become even more of a force for the remainder of the season with the return from Broadford United of striker Alan Fitzpatrick. There are no such signs of momentum from Bally Rovers, mid-table in Division 4.
Prediction: St. Ita’s
Granagh United (Division 2) v
Askeaton (Division 1)
Granagh United remain on the fringes of the promotion race in Division 2, while Askeaton are just one point above the drop zone in Division 1.
It’s a recipe for stalemate and the forecast is for Askeaton to advance in a penalty shoot-out.
Kilcornan (Division 1) v
Newcastle West B (Division 2)
Kilcornan are battling hard to ensure Division 1 survival despite an exodus of players last summer.
A good run in the Desmond Cup would come as some respite and last Sunday’s 2-1 win at home to Adare United suggests that they might overcome the hurdle posed by Newcastle West B, who would be delighted if they retained their current Division 2 mid-table position at the end of the season.
Feenagh (Division 2) v
Creeves Celtic B (Division 4)
Both sides are perilously close to the bottom two in their respective divisions, although that’s of no concern in the case of Creeves Celtic B.
Feenagh’s home record is only moderate but that should be enough against Creeves, who have lost all four away games in Division 4.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.