Three Desmond Cup ties set for Bank Holiday Weekend

There are three key Desmond Cup clashes slated for this coming weekend, with both Junior semi-finals as well as the Youths decider, as the business end of the blue ribband of Desmond League football nears its conclusion. There are several firsts this weekend, while three of the four Divisions are represented in two novel pairings.

Given the open draw among the 33 sides in this competition, there was always a possibility for some lower tier sides to progress to the latter rounds. As with last season, two Premier sides are joined by two sides who are not at the top table. Both Premier Division sides will hope to set up another all Premier Division final, as was the case when Abbeyfeale United defeated Newcastle West Town last season. The competition has been defined by away wins with more wins for the away sides than those at home.

That said the neutral venue will remove any issues with that, while there has been a handful of shocks so far – most notably, two of the sides still standing – Feenagh and Dromore Untied, caused those – accounting for three Premier Division sides between them.

Weekly Observer Desmond Cup Semi-Finals (extra time & penalties if required)
Feenagh v Glin Rovers,
Mick Hanley Park, 7pm (Officials: Pat King, Eugene Noonan, Mike Murphy)

Surprise packet, Feenagh are appearing in their maiden semi-final, during their 35-year history. Indeed, coming from the bottom tier is quite the achievement for John Canty and Paul Lynch. Such has been their rise this season, they struggled for numbers early on, starting their first League Cup game with only 10 men way back in September. But, having missed out in that group phase, they turned a corner in the League. Only one league loss all season, that against Breska Rovers B, wasn’t enough to see them secure the title, narrowly pipped by Ballysteen – whom they drew 3-3 with last weekend. They’ll look to keeper Dan Gayer, Luke Ryan, Bobby Donegan and Cian O’Connor in the hunt for another huge upset.

Glin Rovers meanwhile, are no strangers to this occasion, and despite a truly inconsistent Premier Division campaign, where they are in midtable, they will welcome a hunt for some silverware. Indeed, this may be a welcome break from league action, where they are not yet clear of the relegation quagmire, ahead of an eight-team top tier next season. Paul Sheehan, Zack Behan and Garry Culhane are three key men for the men from the N69. There has been goals found on-route to this stage but the result last weekend, where a Paul Sheehan goal saw them past a wasteful Newcastle West Town team.

Last winners in 2016, Glin also won this in 2009. It is difficult to see beyond them booking another final appearance, in-spite of a determined Feenagh outfit.

Path to final – Feenagh  
1st Round:Carrig Celtic 0-0 Feenagh (Feenagh win on penalties)
2nd Round: Feenagh 2-2 Abbeyfeale United B (Feenagh win on penalties)
Quarter-Final: Feenagh 1-1 Broadford United A (AET) – Feenagh win 5-4 on penalties

Path to finalGlin Rovers   
1st Round:Broadford United B 1-6 Glin Rovers A2nd Round: Shannonside B 0-6 Glin Rovers A
Quarter-Final: Glin Rovers A 1-0 Newcastle West Town A

Verdict: Feenagh 0-3 Glin Rovers

Weekly Observer Desmond Cup Semi-Finals (extra time & penalties if required)
Rathkeale AFC V Dromore Utd, Mick Hanley Park, Saturday 29th April, 7pm (Officials: Eugene Noonan, Pat King, Sean Behan)

The leaders of the Premier Division, Rathkeale face the newly formed club, Dromore United who are clearly enjoying their Cup football so far this season. Indeed, both sides are, having secured their Divisional Cup titles in December at the same venue. It almost goes without saying, that this is the first meeting of these sides, but Rathkeale have knocked Dromore United B on route, while Dromore have faced Rathkeale’s B side already this season.

Rathkeale are managed by Alan Doyle who is hoping to lead them to more silverware. Keeper Aaron Hogan has been solid all season, while Thomas Qulligan and Timmy Hogan will hope to provide plenty in attack. Experience is aplenty in the form of Gary Enright and Dean Maune.

Billy O’Sullivan and Damien Neville are in-charge of this new outfit, who have pulled mainly from Kildimo United, with a healthy sprinkling from Pallaskenry. They’ve conceded just once on-route to the last four, with their 1-0 success over holders Abbeyfeale United a very impressive result. They also accounted for a second Premier Division side, neighbours Kilcornan. Key to their game will be Tiernan Meaney at the back, with Ryan and Orin Kelly in attack. Familiar faces Barry Walsh (captain) and Darren Walsh will hope to spur on an overall young looking outfit.

Neither side can call upon on their ‘B’ team players who were cup tied earlier in the competition.

Path to final

1st Round: Rathkeale 5-2 Dromore United B
2nd Round: Rathkeale 2-1 Shannonside
Quarter-Final: Newcastle West Reserves 0-4 Rathkeale

Dromore United  
1st Round:Breska Rovers B 1-2 Dromore United
2nd Round: Abbeyfeale United 0-1 Dromore United
Quarter-Final: Dromore United 3-0 Kilcornan

Verdict: Rathkeale 2-1 Dromore United (AET)

Limerick Desmond Youths Cup Final (extra time & penalties if required)
Dromore Utd V Newcastle West Town, Monday 1st May, 6pm.

The top two in the Youths Division One will clash in the Desmond Youths Cup final on Bank Holiday Monday. These two sides were narrowly separated in the League action with Dromore getting over the line to win the League.

The Youths competition has had nothing short of a challenging season. All divisions have been hampered by walk-overs, perhaps even more than normal. Clubs are struggling to get players to commit, with other codes drawing on players regularly throughout the season. That said, the clubs who have regularly fielded and had success at this level, are seeing the fruits of their labour at adult level. Thankfully, the top two sides from 2022/23 meet in the final U18 clash of the season.

Newcastle West are managed by John Nnaya and will look to Kevin Barrett at the back, Josh Joyce in the middle of the park, while Daire O’Connor in attack. The Magpies have yet to concede on route to the decider.

Dromore United are managed by Billy O’Sullivan and Kieran McMahon. They look set to be without Ciaran McMahon (injured), while the side is captained by Ben Higgins. James Ranahan is their number 1, with Tiernan Meaney, who will line out for their A team, a rock at the back.

Newcastle West Town
1st Round: Newcastle West Town 3-0 Abbeyfeale United
2nd Round: Newcastle West Town 6-0 Feenagh
Quarter-Final: Breska Rovers 0-3 Newcastle West Town

Dromore United
1st Round: Granagh United 0-3 Dromore United
Quarter-Final: Glin Rovers 0-3 Dromore United
Semi-final: Shannonside 1-2 Dromore United

Verdict: Newcastle West Town 2-0 Dromore United

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