Limerick soccer sides chase Junior Cup glory

Pat Sheehan


Pat Sheehan


Limerick soccer sides chase Junior Cup glory

Ballynanty's Michael Guerin gets past a sliding tackle from Janesboro's Niall Hanley during the Munster Junior Cup 1st round tie at Jackman Park

The quest for FAI Junior Cup glory kicks off this weekend with a return of the famous trophy to Shannonside long overdue.

Pike Rvs win in 2011 was Limerick's last success in the competition and while Pike and Ballynanty Rvs have both reached the final since then, it ultimately ended in disappointment.

We are likely to never again see a side to dominate the competition like Fairview Rgs did in an eight year period from 1996 to 2004 but with the sides Limerick have built since then, it is surprising we have not more Limerick names on the trophy.

Caledonians win in 1970 and further Fairview success in 1965 and 2010 are the only other boasts while Wembley (1945), Pike (1948), Cals (1949 and 1971), Balla (1976 and 1983) and Mungret in 1996 were the other occasions we went to the decider before falling.

Conspicuous by their absence are the likes of Janesboro, Carew Park and Nenagh, who went close on a number of occasions throughout the years.

On Sunday Janesboro, on a high from their Munster win over ‘Balla’ last Sunday, welcome Granville Rangers to Pearse Stadium.

The strength in depth at ‘Boro’ was highlighted last Sunday when they were able to spring the likes of Adrian Power, Richie Mullins and new signing Keith Mawdsley from the bench. When you consider John Boyle and last season's player of the year Steven Bradley, have yet to start a game you get an idea of talent at the manager's disposal.

Niall Hanley has settled in perfectly and the form and work rate of Mike Ryan gives the League leaders a real solid shape and the faithful dare to hope this could well be their year.

Regional United, who had a good run in the competition a couple of times in the last few seasons, kick off on Saturday evening when they host Southend United. Regional will be looking to recover from a defeat to Charleville last weekend.

FAI specialists Fairview Rangers take on Nenagh in the tie of the round. Fairview are in a rebuilding phase but this competition seems to bring out the best in them. Nenagh are in good form despite going down 4-2 to ‘Boro’ in their last home game and will prove a major test for a young Fairview side.

Holycross will be hoping for a second win when they host Athlunkard Villa while Moyross face a tricky game at Kennedy Park.

Carew Park host Prospect Priory in another game that is sure to draw the crowds. Derek Braddish's Prospect side are flying high in Division 1A but will not have met a team as strong as Carew Park.

Hyde Rangers are another side in good form but the gap between Division 2A and the Premier League might be too much when Aisling Annacotty arrive.

Pity poor Herbertstown. They conceded nine goals to Geraldines on Sunday and this weekend face a trip to play a Ballynanty side itching to make up for last week's defeat to Janesboro.

Kilmallock United need to treat Murroe with the respect they deserve if they hope to repeat their good run from last season while Pike Rovers welcome Charleville in another all Premier bout.

The Cork side beat Regional Utd last weekend and seem to be finding their feet at their new level.

Pike Rvs, after a poor start, have been quietly building a good run of five successive wins. If they can handle the pace of the Charleville front runners they should have enough in attack to see them through.

Tonight (Wednesday) in the Tuohy Cup Pike Rvs take on Carew Park in what always produces an exciting affair. A 7.00pm kick off in Jackman Park should attract a good crowd.

Tomorrow evening in the Premier League Charleville host leaders Janesboro with the rest of the Premier clubs hoping the Cork side can stop 'Boro opening a five point gap at the top of the table.