Frank Nelligan looks ahead to the 11 Desmond Cup first round games that take place this Sunday.
Killeaney (Premier Division) v Bally Rovers (Division 2)
This is a local derby and so an air of unpredictability hangs over it. Having said that, it will be a surprise if Killeaney don’t advance as, apart from a heavy defeat against Rathkeale, they have been competitive at home in the Premier Division and that should be enough to account for the challenge posed by Division 2 mid-table side, Bally Rovers.
Askeaton (Division 2) v Athea United (Premier)
This is a game where one could envisage a Division 2 side getting the better of a Premier Division team. Askeaton are looking good for promotion from Division 2, while Athea United occupy last place in the top flight. Askeaton have shown already this season that they can beat a Premier side, deservedly winning 3-2 at home to Abbeyfeale United in the FAI Junior Cup in mid-October. Askeaton lost away to Shountrade in the League Cup last Sunday but their League form since early November has been magnificent, winning seven and drawing one of the eight games played in that time.
Athea won’t want to be the victims of a shock and defeat could have a negative effect on their confidence as they try to retain their Premier Division status. They know that they have no room for complacency against an in-form Askeaton side and so they should be at their very best, which might just be good enough.
Forecast: Athea United.
Ballysteen (Division 3) v Ballingarry (Premier Division)
Ballingarry have lost home advantage as their pitch last Sunday was frozen but they remain favourites to win in their last outing before their Munster Junior Cup last 16 tie at home to Glenthorn Celtic, though Ballysteen’s home record in Division 3 of five wins and just one defeat has to be respected.
Broadford United (Premier Division) v Kildimo United B (Division 3)
It’s impossible to envisage anything but a win for Broadford United, who are still in contention to retain their League title, while Kildimo United B finished second from bottom in Division 3.
Forecast: Broadford United
Abbeyfeale United (Premier Division) v Broadford United B (Division 3)
Abbeyfeale United are flying on all fronts at the moment, leading the Premier Division, through to the last sixteen of the Munster Junior Cup and into the quarter-finals of the League Cup after last Sunday’s hard-earned 2-1 victory at home to Shannonside FC. Broadford United B have the Division 3 title play-offs to look forward to but the Desmond Cup is unlikely to concern them after this game.
Forecast: Abbeyfeale United
Glin Rovers (Division 1) v Adare United (Division 2)
Adare United’s 2-0 defeat at home to bottom-of-the-table Knockaderry in the Division 2 League Cup last Sunday doesn’t inspire confidence and so the odds favour Glin Rovers, who are just one point off top spot in Division 1.
Forecast: Glin Rovers
Athea United B (Division 3) v Abbeyfeale United B (Division 1)
Athea United B have lost every Division 3 game they have played since the 21st of September and so it’s very hard to see them upsetting Abbeyfeale United B, who were crowned Riedy Cup Champions last Saturday night.
Forecast: Abbeyfeale United B
Rockhill Rovers (Division 1) v Granagh United (Division 2)
Rockhill Rovers will be disappointed at their failure to capitalise on a winning position in the Riedy Cup Final against Abbeyfeale United B last Saturday night and so they will be looking to bounce back with victory against Granagh United, although the promotion-seeking Division 2 side will provide a stiff challenge.
Forecast: Rockhill Rovers
St Ita’s (Division 1) v Glantine B (Division 3)
St. Ita’s have home advantage after the frozen ground ruled Glantine B’s pitch out of action last Sunday. I fancied St. Ita’s when they were drawn away and so they get an even stronger vote now.
Forecast: St Ita’s
Shountrade (Division 2) v Ballingarry B (Division 3)
Both of these teams had good wins in their respective League Cups last Sunday. Shountrade’s defeat of high-flying Askeaton was particularly impressive and such form augurs well for the prospects of last season’s semi-finalists of beating Ballingarry B, mid-table in Division 3.
Shannonside FC B (Division 3) v Carrig Celtic B (Division 3)
This pairing means that at least one Division 3 team will progress past the first round and that is likely to be Shannonside FC B, who finished fourteen points ahead of Carrig Celtic B in the league.
Forecast: Shannonside FC B