The FAI Junior Cup last 32 games will take place this weekend with plenty of Limerick interest. Pike Rovers, Glin Rovers, Newport and Aisling Annacotty are all in action on Sunday afternoon.
Arguably, Pike Rovers face the toughest draw in the competition when they face Sheriff YC in Dublin (2pm). The rivalry between these sides goes back to 2016 when Sheriff narrowly beat the Hoops 1-0 in the final at the Aviva Stadium. In truth, Sheriff were the better side on the day and were in the middle of a four in a row FAI Junior Cup run which was ended last year.
Mick Sheil’s side will have experience of tough Dublin trips as they overcame a stiff challenge from St. Kevin’s Boys in the capital in the fifth round. Johnathan Grant scored the winner and the top scorer in Limerick will have to be at his poaching best for the Crosagalla outfit to advance.
There is plenty of experience in the Pike ranks with the likes of Gary Neville, Pat Mullins, Eddie O’Donovan, Wayne Colbert and Shane Walsh all playing in at least two FAI Junior Cup finals. However, Sheil will be hoping it will be third time lucky for him and his team this season as the club have been narrowly defeated in their least two finals in 2016 and 2018.
There is a local derby in Annacotty in the last 32 with Aisling Annacotty hosting surprise package Newport Town on Sunday (2.15). Aisling inflicted a heavy 4-0 defeat on Cork opponents Blarney in the last round with Aaron Murphy and Jason Lipper among the goals. On any given Sunday, the premier division side would expect to beat their 1B rivals.
However, Newport manager Marc Barry has recruited the likes of Christy Doyle, Jimmy Fyffe and Dave Ryan to the club this season. The Tipperary outfit beat a much fancied Carbury FC on penalties in the last round but in truth, Barry’s men should have won the game in normal time as they hit the woordwork on several occasions. It promises to be a great occasion on the astroturf pitch and one Limerick representative is guaranteed to be in the hat for the last 16 draw.
Limerick Desmond League side Glin Rovers travel to Dublin to take on VEC FC. The Dublin outfit began 2019 with a 3-1 victory over Arthur Griffith Park FC. Glin Rovers warmed up for the FAI clash with a 2-1 victory over Kildimo with Shane and Gary Culhane accounting for the home side’s goals. The game will kick off at 1.30 on Sunday.
It will be a quick turnaround for Nenagh after facing Fairview in the Tuohy Cup as they will have to negotiate a game with Regional United on Saturday in Dooradoyle. Regional have a superb home record and will be hoping to take advantage of the quick turnaround for the Tipperary men. In contrast to previous years, Nenagh are in a relegation dogfight as they are level on points with Kilmallock and just five points clear of second bottom Charleville.
In the PJ Matthews Premier Division two of the top four are in action as Ballynanty face Prospect at Limerick Institute of Technology and Geraldines renew hostilities with Janesboro at Garryowen Green. Both games kick off at 11am. Ballynanty will be hoping to take advantage of the fact that Regional and Pike are in cup action to close the gap. They will move up to third with a win but Prospect are a stubborn unit who boast the fifth best defensive record in the league.
Geraldines recently knocked Sunday’s opponents Janesboro out of the Munster Junior Cup with a victory at Pearse Stadium. Derek Hannon’s men will be looking to halt ‘Boro’s title push with a victory which would move them to within one point of the top half sides. Aidan Ryan and Shane O’Hanlon will be hoping that their team can increase the gap at the top to seven points despite Pike having a game in hand at present.