Big weekend for several Limerick sides in Munster Junior Cup

Five Limerick District League sides are in Munster Junior Cup action this weekend as they all look to reach the quarter-final of the competition.

Three sides will be away from home while two will look to make the most of home comforts. There are also three games in the PJ Matthews Premier Division on a packed weekend on the junior scene.

Dermot Fitzgerald has been in fine form for Ballynanty Rovers this season. Photo: Ballynanty Rovers Twitter.

Firstly, Donal Magee’s Ballynanty Rovers travel to Cork to face Grattan United on Saturday (2pm). Magee will be hoping his side can show their league form on the provincial stage.

Balla’ have conceded just 13 goals all season and will be calling on goalkeeper Stephen McNamara and co. to ensure a solid display which was provided by Aisling Annacotty’s back four in their win at Ballymun last weekend.

On Sunday, Geraldines make the trip to Waterford to take on Piltown AFC (2pm). Derek Hannon’s side will fancy their chances as Pilltown are currently just two points above the relegation zone.

Geraldines are currently seventh in the premier division and secured a superb 3-0 win over Douglas Hall in the last round.

Pike Rovers will also be in action against Waterford side Hibernian FC at home (2.15). Unlike Piltown, Hibernian are having a great season as they are currently leading the way in Waterford’s premier division.

Just like their opponents on Sunday, the Waterford outfit are unbeaten this season having won 9 games from 12. Both teams possess mean defences with just 24 goals conceded between them in 27 games.

The Pike Rovers team that beat Charleville 10-1 earlier this month. Photo: Pike Rovers Twitter.

Pike’s recent signing of University of Limerick captain Ian Fletcher has proved inspired and was timely with the departure of Darragh Rainsford.

It remains to be seen whether Wayne Colbert and Pat Mullins will start the game on Sunday. Generally, both players appearances are limited to big games and this competition will be a priority for Mick Sheil and the Hoops.

Kilmallock make the relatively short trip to Clare on Sunday when they take on Sporting Ennistymon (2pm).

Sporting Ennistymon defeated Kilmallock’s close neighbours Holycross 3-2 in the last 32. Kilmallock had Barry Sheedy to thank for their 1-0 win over another Clare side in Avenue United.

It is a welcome distraction from the league for Kilmallock as they are currently third from bottom.

A quarter final place would be a massive achievement for the club. Some of the squad have experienced big days at underage level in the past and will be looking to prove themselves at provincial level.

The biggest game of the weekend in stature sees Regional United host Newmarket Celtic at Dooradoyle (2.15). Regional advanced to the quarter final of the FAI Junior Cup last weekend thanks to a 2-1 victory over Tramore.

Shane O’Donoghue’s side are the only local side with a chance of claiming a cup double but they will face an extremely stern test.

Regional captain Kieran O’Connell before their win over Tramore in the FAI Junior Cup last weekend. Photo: Regional Utd Facebook.

Evan Cusack has been a real livewire for Regional in recent weeks and on Sunday Kieran and Clyde O’Connell were both on the scoresheet from midfield.

With the recent departure of Sean McSweeney, the whole Regional team will need to continue to share the goal scoring responsibility.

Newmarket have consistently reached the latter stages of the Munster Junior and FAI Junior Cups in recent years. With the likes of Pat Purcell on the books, it wasn’t hard to see why.

They are leading the way in the Clare Premier League with nine wins from nine. The visitors have only conceded a meagre four goals while scoring 39.

Although the Clare League is not particularly strong, Newmarket are the exception and pose a real threat to Regional’s ambitions of a double.

Locally, in the PJ Matthews Premier League, Aisling Annacotty play host to Carew Park with confidence sky high following last week’s FAI Junior Cup win (11am).

For such a young team, Mike Aherne’s side defied critics who said the young and physically small side would be out fought in Dublin.

Led by goalkeeper Stephen Walsh, the whole team put in a stubborn defensive display beyond their years. Annacotty will almost certainly have too much for a Carew Park side who are looking to see out the season and rebuild the club next season.

Charleville are in ‘last chance saloon’ territory on Sunday when they travel to Prospect in the league.

Charleville have played three games more than Kilmallock and are still five points behind. They could drag Prospect into a fight but Derek Braddish side are seven points clear with two games less played. Realistically, even a win wont be enough for the Cork based outfit to avoid the inevitable drop in the coming weeks.

Nenagh take on leaders Janesboro in Tipperary on Sunday buoyed by the fact their premier division safety is all but secure for another season (11am).

‘Boro will look to extend their lead at the top to four points with Pike in Munster Junior Cup action.

Jeffrey Judge departed the club in recent weeks following a short spell. Having won the league for the past two seasons, the Pearse Stadium outfit will look to avail of the experience they possess to keep their rivals at arms length to retain the league for a club record third time.

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