Following last week’s flurry of FAI Junior Cup action, attention returns to the Limerick District League Premier Division this week with four games taking place on Sunday morning and afternoon. Also, the Tuohy Cup contest between Prospect Priory and Nenagh, which was due to take place a fortnight ago, is to be decided tonight at Jackman Park (7pm).
Both Prospect and Nenagh have struggled for form in the league this season and just one point separates the sides in the league with the Hyde Road side occupying one of two relegation places at present.
Last weekend, Nenagh had a free weekend while Prospect were knocked out of the FAI Junior Cup following a 2-1 defeat to Premier A side Newport on Sunday. It isn’t the first time that Anthony McCormack’s side have suffered defeat at the hands of lower league opposition as they were beaten by Cappamore in the Munster Junior Cup earlier this season.
It promises to be a close contest with both sides desperate for victory which may provide them with confidence heading into the relegation fight for the remainder of the league season.
Nenagh re-joined the league four years ago in Premier A and following swift promotion, enjoyed a superb season in the Premier Division as they challenged household names Janesboro and Pike for the title right up until the last game of the 2017 season.
Following the loss of goalkeeper Aaron Savage to Fairview this season as well as other key players in the last two seasons, the Tipperary outfit have been unable to stave off relegation trouble since. The winners of tonight’s game will advance to the quarter final of the Tuohy Cup.
On Sunday morning, the Premier Division takes centre stage with four of the bottom six action. Nenagh manager Ruairi Walshe will have to deal with a quick turnaround from the Tuohy Cup fixture as they host Aisling Annacotty. Annacotty will be looking to bounce back from an FAI Junior Cup exit to Fairview Rangers.
It was the end of the road for Mike Aherne’s side in the competition following last season’s eventful run to the semi-final of the competition. The club will be hoping to continue an impressive recent run of results in the league in a bid to finish in the top six of the league.
Home form will be key for Annacotty as they have beaten both Geraldines and Ballynanty on home turf recently while also drawing with Fairview Rangers.
Excitingly, unlike recent seasons, the league table is very congested and there are just ten points between Mungret in eight and Fairview Rangers in first place.
Mungret have made a big impression since returning to the top division. It is refreshing to see a young squad become so competitive at this level and although Eddie Storan and Keith McNicholas will not want to lose sight of the four sides below them, they are also just one point behind sixth place Janesboro.
Mungret impressed during their recent 1-1 draw with title chasing Pike Rovers at home. Having taken the lead through Kian Barry, it took a late equaliser from Ian Fletcher to earn the point for Robbie Williams men.
Last season’s 1A double winners have impressed more illustrious managers and opponents with their defensive organisation which was a key feature of their success last year. The team have the best defensive record outside of the top three sides and Janesboro which is testament to the concentration in defence.
Mungret travel to Coonagh on Sunday morning (11am) in the battle of last year’s promoted sides. Both teams enter the game on a high and in particular Coonagh who last week ensured their passage to the last 64 of the FAI Junior Cup with a 4-1 win over Kilfrush Crusaders.
Arguably, the biggest game of the day will take place at Garryowen Green as age old rivals Geraldines face near neighbours Fairview Rangers in a local derby with a lot more importance on it than in recent seasons.
Fairview are currently leading the way with 23 points but their hosts are in fourth with 20 points. A win for Derek Hannon’s Geraldines will put the cat among the pigeons in the title race. The Garryowen outfit will feel that they have to win the game to remain in with a chance of continuing their surprising challenge for league honours.
Having narrowly lost to Ballynanty two weeks ago, a defeat to another top four rival would severely dent confidence and leave a relatively big gap to close.
On the evidence of this season, ‘Dines have been more than a match for their rivals after a hard earned draw with Pike Rovers and a narrow defeat to Ballynanty. Unfortunately for Hannon and coach Bobby Tier, it has been the final quarter of games which have cost them dearly.
This was certainly the case when losing in both the Tuohy and FAI Junior Cup to Aisling Annacotty and in the recent league defeat. A full 90 minute performance will be needed to overcome a Fairview side who are full of confidence and still competing on all fronts, despite an objection threatening their participation in the Munster Junior Cup.
In the final league game of the weekend, last season’s champions Janesboro will host Ballynanty at Pearse Stadium (2pm). Ballynanty will be desperate to make up for the FAI Junior Cup defeat last weekend and may end the day on top of the table if other results go their way.
Despite the well documented loss of players and being without Aidan Hurley this weekend, Janesboro will hope that the likes of former Limerick FC pair Aaron Fitzgerald and Ger Barry can show their worth on the big day along with former Ballynanty man Arron Nunan who will be desperate to impress.
In the Munster Junior Cup, Pike Rovers host Kilmallock in Crosagalla (2pm). Pike can make it a perfect two week period following last weekend’s FAI success against rivals Ballynanty. They will be red hot favourites and with the squad currently available to Robbie Williams, it would be foolish to bet against the Hoops.