Several Limerick clubs look to progress in the FAI Junior Cup this Sunday

Ten Limerick District League teams will be looking to advance to represent Limerick in the fifth round of the FAI Junior Cup this weekend. The winners will move onto the open draw which introduces the possibility of playing any junior club in the country. All games will kick off at 2 o’clock.

The big clash of the weekend sees Janesboro entertain Ballynanty Rovers at Pearse Stadium. The clubs have built up a rivalry this season with Janesboro knocking their visitors out of the Munster Junior Cup.

However, the northside club enacted revenge as they knocked the current Limerick District League Premier Division champions out of the Touhy Cup. A Thomas Clarke header gave Janesboro a crucial 0-1 win at Shelbourne Park in the league in August. This will be the fourth meeting between the clubs already.

Only six points separates the teams in the league with Shane O’Hanlon’s Janesboro in first and Tom Daly’s Ballynanty in third place. It is a shame that both clubs have drawn eachother at such an early stage of the competition as Limerick will be losing a possibly challenger for the tournament outright.

In the other all premier division tie, surprise package Regional United face a tough test against Nenagh in Dooradoyle. Regional are currently 2nd in the league and will be looking to bounce back from last week’s 2-1 defeat to Pike Rovers in the league.

Kieran O’Connell had given them the lead only to beaten by goals from Pat Mullins and Colin Daly. Nenagh sit in sixth position having won five of their 11 games so far. However, only seven points separate the sides so this will certainly be an even contest and a hard one to call.

Kilfrush Crusaders face a daunting task as they welcome Pike Rovers. Although just two divisions are between the teams and anything can happen in a cup game, the return of Mick Shiels as manager has seen an improvement from the Crosagalla outfit. Having reached the final under Shiels in 2015, this group of players, many of whom were playing against Sheriff that day, will be desperate to reach the latter stages again.

Struggling premier division outfit Holycross play host to 1B side Shelbourne. These clubs have endured differing seasons so far. Hoylycross are bottom of the premier division and are without a single point. They also endured a nightmare 4-1 defeat to 1A side Cappamore in last week’s Munster Junior Cup tie. Meanwhile, Shelbourne lie in second place in 1B and will be looking to upset the odds.

St. Patricks are at home to Hill Celtic in Patrickswell and the reward is massive for both clubs who currently ply their trade in the third tier of Limerick junior football. Hill Celtic comfortably beat their hosts in a league game earlier this season but with just nine points between them in the 1B table, that result will have little bearing on the outcome of this game. It will be a great achievement for whichever of these clubs is representing Limerick in the open draw.

There appears to be less of a gap between teams in every division of Limerick soccer over the last few seasons. 2B side Kennedy Park pulled off a shock victory over premier division club Moyross in the first round and 2A side Hyde Rangers beat Aishling Annacotty in the same round. Coonagh United will play host to Kennedy Park in the other 4th round fixture which is expected to be played Sunday week.

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Adrian Finnin