Excitement Builds for FAI Junior Cup Ties

The excitement is building this weekend for the beginning of the ‘out of town stages of the FAI Junior Cup with 6 Limerick District League sides in action. Four fixtures will take place on Saturday while two fixtures are fixed for Sunday with five of the Limerick contestants facing tough away draws.

On Saturday afternoon, Wayne Colbert’s Prospect side travel to Dublin to take on Tolka Rovers at Frank Cooke Park (2pm). Prospect have enjoyed a decent season with a small squad this season and have reached the latter stages of both the Munster Junior and the FAI Junior Cup. Colbert knows all about the competition as he suffered heartbreaking final defeats on two occasions with Pike Rovers and he will be looking to pass on his experience to his young side. Prospect defeated Pike B 0-5 last week with promising player Dylan Kelly scoring a hattrick. The team will be well supported with a supporters bus organised for the occasion.

Wayne Colbert will lead his Prospect side on Saturday against Tolka Rovers

At the same time on Saturday, Pike Rovers travel to Cork to take on Dunbar Celtic. Considering the form that Pike are in heading into the game, they will be clear favourites to advance. Robbie Williams side have won all 9 of their Premier Division games this season and have safely engineered their way through the local rounds of the junior cup. Following the disappointing manner in which they exited the competition to eventual winners Fairview Rangers in 2020, the club will be desperate to get back to the latter stages.

Regional United make the long trip to Cavan to take on Kingscourt Harps on Saturday (2pm). Regional are currently 5th in the Premier Division but will fancy their chances at an extended run in the national competition. Everybody remembers the ill-fated 2018 run where the club had reached the semi-final stage before player registration issues meant elimination for the Dooradoyle club. With former Treaty player Ed McCarthy adding quality to the midfield along with former Oscar Traynor Youth winning captain Ewan O’Brien and a front combination of Kieran O’Connell and Jack Arra, Tom O’Connell’s side will be a tough match for any outfit on their day.

24 July 2021; Fairview Rangers manager Jason Purcell during the FAI Cup First Round match between Fairview Rangers and Finn Harps at Fairview Rangers AFC in Limerick. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Later that day, current champions Fairview Rangers make the short trip to Cork to take on Carrigaline United (5.30). Since an early season defeat to Regional United, the Fairgreen outfit have been in superb form in both league and cup. With the return of Stephen Bradley in midfield next to Shane Duggan, there is hardly a combination better in the country.

AJ O’Connor’s transition to centre-back has been seamless and competition is at an all time high in the forward ranks with the likes of Ross Mann, Eoin Duff, Russell Quirke and AJ Moloney all vying for a starting berth. Jason Purcell’s side will be expected to advance and have shown no signs of complacency at any point so far.

30 October 2021; Steven Bradley of Fairview Rangers scores the winning goal in the penalty shoot-out of the President’s junior cup final match between Fairview Rangers and Willowbank FC at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

On Sunday afternoon, there is a huge tie for Limerick Division 1B side Star Rovers in Lee Estate as they take on Ennis Town (2pm). Star were the only side to gain home advantage which will be a huge help in their first venture to this stage in a few years. Following a relatively slow start in the league, Star are now right in the promotion mix and currently sit third in the league and will not be fearful of the Clare outfit this weekend.

Ballynanty Rovers make the trip to the capital to face Oliver Bond Celtic and Dave Dunphy’s team have plenty of players who have experienced either success or defeat in an FAI Junior Cup decider. John Connery tasted success with St. Michaels while Stephen McNamara, Daragh Hughes and Dermot Fitzgerald were all part of a Balla side who were beaten by the Tipperary outfit in 2014. Ballynanty’s form has picked up again with back to back league wins without conceding a goal and confidence will be high heading to Dublin.

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