The FAI Junior Cup is the showpiece in Limerick junior soccer this Sunday with a host of fixtures taking place at 10.30 while three games are fixed for 2pm.
Last season’s semi-finalists Aisling Annacotty will host fellow Premier Division side Kilmallock in Annacotty (10.30). Mike Aherne’s side had an eventful and unexpected run in the competition last season and will be hoping to go one better this season and reach the final.
In 2018, Annacotty overcame two objections from Westport who claimed striker Aaron Murphy was ineligible which was correctly thrown out. Annacotty were then narrowly beaten by Sheriff in the semi-final and had an objection of their own rejected by the FAI Junior Council.
With the addition of experienced duo Shane and Thomas Clarke at either end of the pitch, Aherne may fancy that his team can go on a similar run and they are entering the game full of confidence with six games unbeaten following a relatively slow start. Kilmallock are struggling and find themselves bottom of the Premier Division. Annacotty will be red hot favourites to advance.
In the only other all Premier Division clash, Mungret Regional host Coonagh United with both sides looking to bounce back from Munster Junior Cup exits.
Mungret were defeated 3-1 by near neighbours Regional as Dave Cowpar grabbed an unlikely double. Although Coonagh were also knocked out, it was a much bigger shoch with a loss to a side two division below in Patrickswell.
Coonagh have been producing results in the Premier Division and manager John Spillane will be hoping the result doesn’t set his side back in their progress. It will be a tight game in Mungret with Eddie Storan hoping home advantage can prove to be the difference for his side.
Prospect Priory will be hoping to avoid being on the end of a second giant killing in as many weeks when they host an in-form Patrickswell at Priory Park. Prospect were defeated 5-4 in a thrilling game against Premier A side Cappamore in the Munster Junior Cup. Coupled with that, the loss of manager Daithi O’Donoghue and poor league form makes the home side vulnerable.
Patrickswell produced the cup upset of the week last weekend when the Division 1B side beat Premier Division side Coonagh 4-2 thanks to a hatrick from Martin Harty and a goal from Stephen Dooley. Therefore, Patrickswell will have no fear heading to their more illustrious opponents and with Jamie Shinnors and Lee Carey in midfield, they will provide trouble for the opposition.
It doesn’t get any easier for Wembley Rovers who suffered an 8-0 defeat at the hands of Geraldines last weekend as they travel to Ballynanty Rovers. Donal Magee’s side inflicted a heavy defeat on Pallas United in LIT last week with Connor Ellis scoring an incredible seven goals.
Balla will be expecting to advance once more and will have their eyes on an extended run thi season following last year’s exit in the last 32. With Ellis and Adrian Power in great goalscoring form and the imminent arrival of Jason Hughes, Magee will be confident his side can cause trouble for the opposition.
Janesboro will make the short trip to Hogan Park to take on Premier A side Hill Celtic. Shane O’Hanlon will be desperate to gain a victory following a tubulent couple of weeks with the loss of Aidan Ryan and news that Tyrique Leamy has decided to return to Kilfrush Crusaders.
Following three league title successes in a row, it seems incredible that the Pearse Stadium outfit have lost 14 squad players since the end of last season. The club will be looking to avoid early exits in the FAI and Munster Junior Cups again this season, after last week’s defeat to Fairview in the provincial tournament.
Regional United begin their FAI Junior Cup adventure against Division 1A side Shelbourne at Shelbourne Park. The Dooradoyle club were embroiled in a controversial battle last season after beteaing Sheriff 3-2 in dramatic circumatances.
Once the game was completed, Sheriff lodged an objection against the eligiblity of Sosuke Kimura and following a dispute which went all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Shriff were re-instated to the competition at Regional’s expense.
It was a bitter blow for the club and now all Limerick clubs are well aware of the Internation cleanrance rule following Regional’s troubles. Shane O’Donoghue will be hoping that the new competition will be a lot more straight forward with all the action taking place on the field of play.
Pike Rovers face Pallas United at Crosagalla with Robbie Williams men hoping for another comfortable victory over lower league opposition. Pike contested two finals in the past four years only to be defeated twice by narrow margins in a 1-0 defeat and a penalty shoot-out loss. With most of the squad hitting their peak year and havng been together for many years, the club will be hoping that an FAI Junior Cup success isnt far away.