FAI Junior Cup returns this weekend

There are two Limerick junior clubs in action in the last 16 of the FAI Junior Cup this weekend as both Regional and Aisling Annacotty face tough tasks in order to reach the quarter final of the national competition.

Also, Prospect Priory travel to Cork to replay their Munster Junior Cup 4th round game against Pearse Celtic. The PJ Matthews Premier League also has three fixtures down for decision.

On Saturday, Mike Aherne’s Aisling Annacotty side are first to represent Limerick in the FAI Junior Cup as they face Ballymun United in Dublin.

The game will take place at the Ballymun Soccer Complex at 2pm. Annacotty have a really young side which can work as both a positive and a negative.

The youngsters may have no fear of a trip to Dublin although in the physical exchanges, it may be tough for such a young bunch to compete.

https://twitter.com/aislingannafc/status/1092042263465807872

Annacotty launched their new club patronage scheme last week at the Castletroy Park Hotel in conjunction with their awards night.

It was clear to see the success the club are having at underage level. So much so that Aherne has handed a debut to 15 year-old Ronan O’Dwyer this season.

Regional United host Waterford side Tramore on Sunday at Dooradoyle (2.15). The visitors are currently 7th from ten teams in Waterford’s premier league. With Regional’s home form this season, manager

Shane O’Donoghue will be hopeful that his side can advance to the last 8. Despite being tight knit defensively with 17 goals conceded in 11 games, the Waterford side have scored just 15.

Regional certainly wont change their approach and key to that are centre-backs Jack Lynch and Clyde O’Connell who are extremely comfortable in possession at the back. The wide astroturf pitch will certainly help the home side.

Evan Cusack has been in fine form for Regional. Photo: Regional United Facebook

Prospect Priory travel to Lehenaghmore for the second time in three weeks to play their fourth round Munster Junior Cup clash against Cork outfit Pearse Celtic.

The first game was abandoned at half time due to a serious leg injury to Pearse player Eoin Harrington. The game was level at 1-1 as Prospect equalised through Phillip Naughton. Prospect come into the game after a hard fought 2-2 draw against Geraldines.

After twice falling behind, James Cleary and Darren Hanlon scored to restore parity. Cleary has been a key attacking player for Derek Braddish’s side this year and the southside club will be hoping he can provide opportunities for their front men. The winners will face Avondale Utd in the last 16.

In the PJ Matthews Premier League, second placed Pike Rovers game with Kilmallock has been postponed due to the recent spell of bad weather.

Pike are the only team to remain unbeaten this season with 12 wins and three draws. Pike’s recent addition of University of Limerick player Ian Fletcher has proved shrewd as he has scored 2 in 2 games.

Pike banished their recent penalty shoot out defeat against Sheriff by defeating local rivals Fairview in the Tuohy Cup semi final in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw after extra time.

It will be an extremely difficult task for Kilmallock to pick up anything from this game as Pike have conceded just ten league goals all season. The county side still have three games in hand on second bottom Charleville.

The Pike Rovers team that beat Charleville 10-1 last weekend. Photo: Pike Rovers Twitter

Fellow title rivals Ballynanty Rovers host Geraldines at Limerick Institute of Technology on Sunday morning (11am). Despite losing just two matches all season and conceding just 13 league goals in 4 games, Ballynanty find themselves six points adrift of Janesboro, albeit with a game in hand.

The gap can be reduced to three on Sunday but if the pace being set by both Pike and Janesboro has been ferocious.

Donal Magee’s men easily brushed aside the challenge of Kilmallock last week with a Dermot Fitzgerald hattrick and a Dave Donnan goal.

However, Geraldines have proved on a number of occasions that they are tough opponents as league leaders Janesboro will know. Derek Hannon’s side are without a win in three league games.

Nenagh host Fairview Rangers after climbing above Prospect in the league and eight points clear of the relegation zone. Goalkeeper Aaron Savage has been a key player for the Tipperary outfit in a season of struggle.

With two games in hand on the bottom two as well, Nenagh’s premier division status is all but secured for next season. Visitors Fairview arrive off the back of a penalty shootout defeat to Pike in the Tuohy Cup semi-final.

Fairview were denied victory in the final moments through a great save from Gary Neville and suffered the frustrating shootout loss.

They have been strengthened by the return of Jeffrey Judge from Janesboro. Jason Purcell’s men have fourth place Regional in their sights as the Dooradoyle men are pre-occupied with the FAI Junior Cup.

On Saturday, Limerick District League Youths led by Martin Sugrue and Jim Nugent, travel to take on Carlow District League at Carlow IT (2pm). A draw will be good enough for Limerick to advance to the next phase of the competition.

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