Desmond rivals meet in Munster Junior Cup

Frank Nelligan


Frank Nelligan


Desmond rivals meet in Munster Junior Cup

Ronan Lannigan, Avenue United, gets a tackle in on Gary Enright, Rathkeale, during their sides clash in the Munster Junior Cup 4th Round in Rathkeale

Two of the four Munster Junior Cup second round ties take place this Sunday and the winners will meet each other in the third round.

Rathkeale (Premier) v Abbeyfeale United (Premier)

Sunday brings another instalment in the deadly rivalry between these two heavyweights of the Limerick Desmond League. Rathkeale have the edge in the last four meetings between the sides. They beat Abbeyfeale in the Desmond Cup and League Cup Finals last season and won 1-0 in Riverside Park in the FAI Junior Cup in mid-October. In between Rathkeale’s two Cup victories, Abbeyfeale comprehensively beat their rivals in a play-off for the League title.

Rathkeale will be very hard to beat if they can replicate their excellent first-half performance against Avenue United in the FAI Junior Cup last Sunday. Their starting eleven all played so well that manager Alan Doyle is unlikely to make any changes, even though his strong bench includes the likes of Mikey Lyons, Mark O’Sullivan and Steven Power.

The good news for Abbeyfeale manager, John Kelliher, is that goalkeeper Billy Quirke has recovered from a hand injury. In front of Quirke, leadership will be provided by the likes of Cormac Roche, Joe Kelliher, Pakie O’Connor and Ray Lynch. Centre-forward Jamie O’Connor has been linking up very well with his team-mates in recent matches and it is vital for Abbeyfeale’s chances that he continues to do so.

I usually tip Abbeyfeale in these confrontations but I was so impressed by Rathkeale last Sunday that I will go the other way on this occasion.

Forecast: Rathkeale.

Killeaney/Bally Rovers (Premier) v Glin Rovers (Premier)

The winners of this tie will be away to either Rathkeale or Abbeyfeale United in the 3rd round. That enticing prospect makes this derby game even bigger than normal.

There is little between the two sides in the League table, with Glin two points ahead but having played a game more. Glin will be looking for big performances from Gary Culhane, Ed Horan and Paul and Darren Sheehan, as well as hoping that Eoin O’Connor can continue his scoring exploits after getting both goals in the 2-1 victory against Turnpike Rovers in the FAI Junior Cup last Sunday.

Cathal Commane scored the goal that looked to have given Killeany/Bally Rovers victory against Castleisland in the FAI Junior Cup last Sunday until the visitors equalised late on and won on penalties. He will be a key player for Anthony Collins’ side on Sunday, along with Dara Noonan, Gary Kelly and goalkeeper Seanie Lynch.

This game could also go all the way but whatever way it is decided I think that Glin will just about come out on top.

Forecast: Glin Rovers

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