Limerick Junior Cup round-up

Four Limerick clubs have progressed to the 5th round ‘open’ draw in the FAI Junior Cup. Janesboro, Regional United, Shelbourne and Hill Celtic will represent Limerick in the national competition. Janesboro overcame premier division rivals Ballynanty Rovers by 3 goals to 1. Regional United came out on top in the other all premier division tie against Nenagh, defeating the Tipperary outfit 2-1 in Dooradoyle. Shelbourne provided the shock of the weekend as the 1B side beat premier division strugglers Holycross 2-4 in Holycross. The game of the round was played in Patrickswell as St. Patricks and Hill Celtic played out a 4-4 draw before the Hogan Park based Hill Celtic emerged victorious in a penalty shoot out.

Janesboro were the winners in a tense affair at Pearse Stadium as they faced Ballynanty for the fourth time this season. ‘Boro won the league game as well as knocking the northside outfit out of the Munster Junior Cup. Balla gained some revenge by eliminating their rivals from the Touhy Cup afterwards. However, it was Janesboro, the current league champions, who began brightly and were in front within the first ten minutes as great link up play between Keith Mawdsley and top scorer Shane Clarke resulted in the former putting the southside club in front. Tom Daly’s Ballynanty responded well and got their reward just seven minutes later when Kevin Nolan won a penalty and centre-back Dermot Fitzgerald converted the resultant spot-kick. The visitors gained the upper hand from here but chances from former Limerick FC pair Jason Hughes and Clyde O’Connell failed to test John Mulready significantly before the break.

With half time fast approaching and against the run of play, Shane O’Hanlon’s Janesboro regained the lead as Shane Clarke fired across the goalmouth, possession was retreated by Keith Mawdsley who delivered the ball into a dangerous area with Aaron Nunan waiting to finish. ‘Boro were awarded a penalty when John Boyle was fouled. Stephen McNamara, who had a brief spell with Janesboro at the beginning of the season, thwarted his former teammate Shane Clarke with a good save. With five minutes remaining, the home side sealed the win. Adrian Power raced down the left flank before sending the ball into the box. On this occasion the energetic Niall Hanley rescued possession before squaring for Aaron Nunan to grab his second of the game. Shane O’Hanlon’s side will certainly be in with a great chance of winning this competition, providing their key players such as Shane Clarke and Aaron Nunan avoid injury or suspension along the way.

Regional United passed another big test on Sunday afternoon as they overcame a stern test from Nenagh in Dooradoyle. The visitors took the lead with a soft goal as Ben Banaghan was on the end of a long ball to beat Rob Shier. Regional’s Andrew Cowpar set Willie Griffin clear to equalise for Ray Lynch’s side. Kenneth Nealon set up Griffin for his second of the game and what turned out to be the winner to send Regional through.

Shelbourne produced a fine display to overcome Holycross away with a 2-4 victory. Dave Hanrahan and Shane Bennis gave Niall Hogan’s side a two goal half-time lead. It got even better shortly after as Dave Hanrahan was quickest to react to a rebound to effectively finish the match as a contest. Holycross’ Daragh Glynn scored before Jack O’Donovan restored Shels’ three goal lead. Glynn grabbed his second goal late on but it proved to be a consolation effort.

Fellow 1B side Hill Celtic will join Shelbourne in the fifth round draw as they overcame a spirited come back from St. Patrick’s in Patrickswell. Dean Mitchell and Aaron Dawson gave Hill Celtic a two goal lead. Mitchell then scored a superb second to give the visitors what looked like an unassailable lead. However, a brace from Pats’ dangerman Paul O’Brien and a goal from Dwayne Bagnall forced the game into extra-time. Cian Quinn restored Hill Celtic’s lead from the penalty spot and it looked to be enough to secure the victory. However, Paul O’Brien completed a hattrick as St. Pats refused to be beaten. Hill Celtic emerged victorious in the shootout on a 4-2 scoreline. The club will relish the challenge of facing any club in Ireland with nothing to lose in the next round.

Kilfrush Crusaders and Pike Rovers was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and must be replayed at Crossagalla.

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