Busy weekend on the Limerick Junior Soccer Front

There are five fixtures in the Limerick District League Premier Division on Saturday evening. All games have a 6.15 start which is 15 minutes earlier than usual time due to the incoming darkness.

The only fixture not included on round 7 is the clash between Aisling Annacotty and Ballynanty Rovers as Aisling are hosting the club fundraiser against Liverpool Legends on the same day.

The biggest game on paper sees Fairview Rangers host Janesboro at the Fairgreen.

Fairview will be disappointed with one win from their previous four encounters and find themselves five points behind leaders Ballynanty Rovers early on.

Last Sunday, Jason Purcell’s side drew 3-3 away at Aisling Annacotty after falling two goals behind.

The ‘View will be looking to improve their discipline with both Paul Danaher and John Mullane receiving red cards in their last two matches.

The squad depth is significant at the Fairgreen but a settled team is proving hard to come by for Purcell and assistant Stuart Fitzgerald.

At one stage of the recent game with Pike Rovers, Fairview had four natural centre-backs playing across the back four, including Dermot Fitzgerald in an unusual left-back role.

The defensive midfield 2 have been changed regularly as well although Jeffrey Judge has proved a constant.

Fairview will need front pair Ross Mann and Daragh Rainsford to quickly gain consistency if they are to challenge for the title this season.

Janesboro bounced back from a home defeat against Geraldines with a comfortable 0-4 victory over Kilmallock with Arron Nunan (2) and Aidan Hurley (2) grabbing the goals.

There have been big changes to the squad at Pearse Stadium this season and young players like Tyrique Leamy and Evan Cusack may take time to settle into their new surroundings.

Losing the likes of club stalwart Shane Clarke, Danny O’Neill, Adrian Power and Niall Hanley would adversely affect any squad and Shane O’Hanlon and Aidan Ryan will know that it will be extremely difficult to win a fourth title in a row, particularly with a new look side.

Midfielder Mike Ryan will come back into contention soon and will be like a new signing for ‘Boro.

The southsiders will be desperate to beat on of the acclaimed top six rivals this season. They have beaten Kilmallock, Aisling Annacotty, Regional and Mungret Regional this season but the desire will be to defeat Fairview, who along with top two Pike and Ballynanty, have been hotly tipped to take the title from Janesboro.

Pike Rovers host Nenagh at Crosagalla in a game which they will be expecting to gain maximum points from.

Pike were rampant in a 7-0 victory over Prospect on Sunday with five different players getting on the scoresheet including Colin Daly and Eoin Hanrahan.

Nenagh have had a poor run of results in the last week with a 3-2 defeat to Prospect and a 0-7 reverse at the hands of Ballynanty.

However, with two wins from their opening six games, the Tipperary outfit are competing much more than least season already but Ruairi Walshe will be hoping for further improvement.

Regional United host Prospect at Dooradoyle as they look to recover from a shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of newly promoted Coonagh last weekend.

From last year’s squad, Regional have lost Jack Lynch, Clyde O’Connell, Alan Murphy and brothers Evan and Declan Cusack from the squad.

Despite the loss of such important players, Shane O’Donoghue’s men have won four from six games including an impressive 4-1 victory away to high flying Geraldines.

Last season, the club’s home form was exemplary and they will be hoping to replicate that form this season and will be hot favourites to add to a good start against Prospect.

Prospect are a squad full of committed players including the experienced Philip Naughton and Darren Glasheen but a small squad has been fully stretched so far this season.

They have managed to pick up points against perceived relegation rivals in Coonagh and Nenagh which gives great hope but Saturday’s game may be a step too far.

Coonagh play host to Geraldines as they look to build on a very impressive 2-0 win over Regional United at the same venue last week.

When speaking to Coonagh manager John Spillane at the start of the season, he explained the importance of home form and more clean sheets. His side score have scored plenty of goals in the premier already but have also conceded 19 in six games. Spillane will be hoping the rear guard action will continue.

If Coonagh are to keep a clean sheet, they will have to stop the powerful Kevin Barry who has had a very bright start to the season, including bagging a brace last week against Mungret.

Player-coach Bobby Tier has been instrumental at the back for Geraldines and recent returnee Danny O’Neill has added to the squad both defensively and offensively.

It remains to be seen whether Geraldines can cement a surprise title charge, but they have started with real intent.

Basement side Kilmallock are the only side without a victory in the Premier Division this season and will be hoping to get off the mark when they entertain Mungret.

Both sides find themselves at the wrong end of the table in the early stages with Kilmallock suffering heavy defeats to Pike, Janesboro and Aisling Annacotty.

Next Tuesday, Aisling face Ballynanty in Annacotty and will be hoping to continue their recent mini-resurgence.

Three losses in a row at the beginning of the season caused heads to turn but Mike Aherne’s side are now unbeaten in 3 games and the capture of Shane Clarke is sure to add to their firepower.

Aisling will be disappointed not to have secured all three points last week against Fairview having been 2-0 ahead. They will have to produce a similar performance if they are to defeat league leaders Ballynanty.

Donal Magee’s men have been boosted by the arrival of Connor Ellis who has scored two hat tricks in his opening two games.

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