Limerick Junior Soccer action returns this weekend

The Limerick District League sides return to action this weekend following a two week break for Christmas. There are three games in the Premier Division, an inter-county Oscar Traynor Youths game and several Lawson Cup games to look forward to.

On Sunday afternoon, Martin Sugrue’s Limerick District League Youth side will host Kerry District League in a re-arranged fixture in the Oscar Traynor Trophy at Jackman Park (2pm). Both teams were in action in early December but the game was abandoned due to safety concerns as one of the floodlight shields fell on to the pitch due to the heavy winds.

At the time, Limerick District League were heading for a comfortable victory at Mounthawk Park as goals from Jake Dillon and Eoin Duff gave the defending champions a 2-0 lead.

In the Limerick District League Premier Division, there is a crucial clash taking place at the Garryowen Green with fourth place Geraldines entertaining current league leaders Fairview Rangers.

Before the Christmas break, Fairview were in great form, grabbing big victories over Aisling Annacotty, Castleview, Kilmallock and Coonagh among others. However, Sunday’s opponents have been difficult to defeat at home, earning an early season draw with Pike Rovers and suffering late heartache against Ballynanty Rovers.

It is an age old local rivalry in Limerick junior football and may represent Geraldines last realistic chance of continuing their surprising league challenge so far this term. With the likes of Bobby Tier, Danny O’Neill and Cian Collins among their ranks, it may not seem as surprising but it is the club’s second season back at this level following relegation three seasons ago.

Despite the effect a local rivalry can have on a game, it is hard to look past Fairview on Sunday with Jason Purcell’s men conceding just 9 goals all season and scoring 40. Ross Mann is beginning to hit peak form and has taken on the mantle since the departure of Daragh Rainsford.

Aisling Annacotty welcome Pike Rovers to Annacotty on Sunday morning (11am). The fact that only five separates the two teams shows the congested nature of the top half of the table this season. Annacotty are currently in joint sixth place on 16 points with Pike five points better off in third place and possessing a game in hand.

Despite facing Suncroft of Kildare in the FAI Junior Cup on Sunday week, there will be no fear that Robbie Williams will name a weakened side for this one as he has added significantly to the squad depth. Ian Fletcher has departed for America but they have added former Limerick FC winger Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen to their ranks.

Walsh-O’Loughlen left Limerick in July as the club could no longer transfer players from professional to amateur contracts and will be a massive addition to the Hoops. Annacotty will provide a stern test on their renowned astroturf pitch as Pike’s title rivals Fairview, Geraldines and Ballynanty have all found out to their cost thus far this campaign.

At the other end of the table, Nenagh will be desperate for a league win to ease their relegation worries when they face Janesboro on Sunday morning (11am). The Tipperary outfit are currently second from bottom, level on points with third bottom Coonagh United who are in Lawson Cup action.

Opponents Janesboro have only played nine games so far this season and after losing a host of players, have relied heavily on B team players to fill match day squads as a result.. Manager Shane O’Hanlon revealed to us that he is working extremely hard behind the scenes to add to his threadbare squad and is hoping to announce signings in the coming month.

There are two games in the Lawson Cup on Saturday evening as Brazuca FC host Caherdavin Celtic while Premier A promotion hopefuls Charleville host Castle Rovers with both games kicking off at 7pm.

On Sunday morning, the pick of the Lawson Cup ties sees Division 1A table toppers Kilfrush Crusaders take on illustrious opponents Regional United at Elton in a bid to cause a huge upset. Also, Ballynanty will be hoping to avoid a shock when they host Premier A side Carew Park in Limerick Institute of Technology.

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