The Weekly Observer Desmond Cup takes place this Saturday evening, with a unique paring of Glin Rovers and newly formed Dromore United. The blue-ribband event of the Limerick Desmond League season is the culmination of the knockout competition, which started with 33 sides. The 2022/23 decider is difficult to call, despite a gap in divisions between the sides.
The clash, which may benefit from the fine weather this weekend, is penciled in for a 7pm kick-off on Saturday evening, with Mick Hanley Park, Clounreask, Askeaton, as ever, the venue.
Weekly Observer Desmond Cup Final: Glin Rovers v Dromore United, Mick Hanley Park, 19.00, Saturday, 20th May.
Both these sides have fallen short of challenging for their respective league titles – Glin Rovers likely to finish fourth in the Premier Division – while Dromore United finish third in Division One.
Rovers have won this prestigious piece of silverware twice before. While Dromore, in their first season as a club, have annexed the Division One League Cup already this season.
The men in red and black are managed by Ambrose Lanigan and Anthony Collins. They will look to Shane Culhane, Tadhg Culhane and Zach Behan. Their goalkeeper is the reliable Michael Stack. Marty McSweeney captains the side from the defence, while his brother Christy is also in the squad.
Their run has been unspectacular, but such is the open draw, that is of little concern to them. Defeating three Division Three sides, one in extra-time, as well as a Premier Division rival, has brought them back to the final. Winners in 2009 and 2016, it took a Tadhg Culhane effort in the 115th minute to take them past Feenagh in the semi-final. Paul Sheehan struck the only goal of the game, as they knocked out Newcastle West Town in the last eight.
A defeat away to Breska Rovers last weekend, brought to an end a six-game winning streak, but that must be qualified by the resting of key players in anticipation for Saturday’s clash.
Managed by Billy O’Sullivan and Damien Neville, United will look to captain Barry Walsh, midfielders Darren Walsh and Ciaran Deegan, while attackers Oran Kelly and Eoin Mulvihill are potential match winners. The side has a fine blend of youth and experience, with Ben Higgins, Tiernan Meaney and Ciaran Galvin three of the new generation who are showing fine form this season. Defender Shaun Barry proved the match winner in the last four, the only goal of the game against Premier Division Rathkeale.
The Kildimo-Pallaskenry combination defeated Breska Rovers B (2-1), dethroned Abbeyfeale United (1-0) away, while also took out Kilcornan (3-0) in the last eight. The win over Rathkeale came three weeks ago, in a game that they defended gamely. Defeating champions Abbeyfeale has clearly given this side the confidence that is required to progress in a very competitive cup thus far. To take out effectively a third of the Premier Division without conceding a goal is impressive form. 2008 (against Newcastle West AFC) saw Kildimo contest the final, with captain this time around, Barry Walsh, involved in the early part of his junior career.
After sealing a Youths at the start of the month, it is clear that this amalgamation has already been a success and that the club is aiming high – a win Saturday would further add to the momentum the club has generated to date. A lack of match sharpness could count against them, with no game last weekend and a walkover in the League the week before – that said, it could be argued that after a long season, a recharge may have been welcomed ahead of such a clash.
Path to final – Glin Rovers
1st Round:Broadford United B 1-6 Glin Rovers A
2nd Round: Shannonside B 0-6 Glin Rovers A
Quarter-Final: Glin Rovers A 1-0 Newcastle West Town A
Semi-Final: Feenagh 0-1 Glin Rovers (AET)
1st Round:Breska Rovers B 1-2 Dromore United
2nd Round: Abbeyfeale United 0-1 Dromore United
Quarter-Final: Dromore United 3-0 Kilcornan
Semi-Final: Dromore United 1-0 Rathkeale
Glin Rovers: Michael Stack, Ajay Behan, James Wallace, Conor Shine, Jack Boland, Gary Kelly, Zach Behan, Marty McSweeney, Paul Sheahan, Christy McSweeney, Gary Culhane, Tommy Culhane, Brian O’Donovan, Shane Culhane, Sean Lyons, Tadgh Culhane, Jack Sheahan. Management: Ambrose Lanigan, Anthony Collins.
Dromore United: Garry Sheehan, James Ranahan, Sam Guerin, Rory Cullen, Ben Higgins, Mikey Heavenor, Shaun Barry, Barry Walsh, Tiernan Meaney, Ciaran Barry, Cian O’Sullivan, Darren Walsh, Cian O’Neill, Ciaran Deegan, Ryan Kelly, Evan Guinane, Cathal Shinnors, Oran Kelly, Luke O’Keeffe, Ciaran Galvin, Evin Kelly, Eoin Mulvihill. Management: Billy O’Sullivan & Damien Neville.
Match Officials: Pat O’Connor (Referee), Pat King (Assistant Referee), Eugene Noonan (Assistant Referee), Pat O’Donnell (Fourth Official).
Sporting Limerick Verdict: Glin Rovers 1-2 Dromore United.