FAIRVIEW Rangers will be hoping to win their ninth FAI Junior Cup title this weekend when they face formidable Dublin outfit Usher Celtic at Eamon Deacy Park in Galway on Saturday afternoon (2pm).
Fairview were last victorious in the national competition in 2010 when they defeated St. Michaels at Turners Cross in a penalty shoot-out. Jason Purcell was the manager on that day and his current outfit also appear to have perfected the art of winning a penalty shoot-out as they previously beat both Killarney Celtic and Athenry in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively to reach the decider on Saturday.
Usher Celtic will be looking to win their first ever FAI Junior Cup and had to overcome a stubborn Oliver Bond Celtic side to make the final. Once the draw for the quarterfinals was made, many neutrals had suggested that both these sides would be contesting the final.
It was hoped that the showpiece would be held at the Aviva Stadium but due to the Coronavirus outbreak, for the second year in a row, Galway United’s home ground will host the event.
The Fairgreen outfit were flying before the cancellation of the Limerick District League in early 2020 and struggled to regain their scoring touch upon their return to action in July.
The club were bitterly disappointed with the defeat in the Munster Junior Cup Final to fellow Limerick District League side Aisling Annacotty and will be keen to avoid repeating the un-energetic display of three weeks ago when they take to the field on Saturday.
The eight-time winners have made a good start to their domestic campaign with seven points from a possible nine but the intensity in those games will pale into insignificance in comparison with the challenge that Usher will bring to the table.
Fairview’s FAI commitment means that there are five games taking place in the Limerick District League on Sunday morning. Aisling secured a 6-1 win over Mungret Regional on Thursday night to go to within a point of Ballynanty at the top.
Ballynanty Rovers will be hoping to return to winning ways when they host struggling Kilmallock on Sunday morning at LIT. All games on Sunday will begin at 10.30 and Balla will be expected to defeat the county outfit who have conceded a whopping 20 goals in 3 away games so far.
In the continued absence of Connor Ellis, both Arron Nunan and Derek Daly have netted crucial goals and will need to continue to provide if the northsiders are to maintain their lead at the top of the table.
Just four days after a challenging game against title hopefuls Aisling Annacotty, Mungret without the injured defensive trio of Aaron Long, Dylan Frawley and Adam Storan, will take on another title challenger in Pike Rovers who have responded well to the early season defeat to Ballynanty with wins over Geraldines, Coonagh and Regional.
Kieran Hanlon has scored four goals in recent games and Steven McGann’s influence has grown which will please Robbie Williams and Brian O’Callaghan. Mungret picked up their first clean sheet of the season in the win over Geraldines and will hope to draw inspiration from last year’s 1-1 home draw against Sunday’s opponents.
Regional United host Coonagh United and will be hoping to bounce back from last week’s disappointing 3-0 defeat to Pike Rovers. The Dooradoyle side will be disappointed to draw blanks in two defeats to Pike and Ballynanty considering the chances that were squandered. It has been a problem for the club so far against their big rivals but home form will once again be important for Tom O’Connell’s men who are unbeaten in Dooradoyle so far.
Prospect Priory will be attempting to restore pride when they face Janesboro following a heavy 10-1 defeat to Aisling Annacotty last weekend. It has been a tough start for new manager Wayne Colbert who has also seen his side secure a big victory over Kilmallock just three days previously.
Janesboro manager Jason O’Connor will be delighted with the solid start that the club have made during a transitioning period at Pearse Stadium. Gaining eight points from their first five games is a big return for a team that were written off in many quarters before a ball was kicked.
O’Connor has constantly re-iterated his belief in the squad with many making their debut at this level or returning following a prolonged absence.
Geraldines make the trip to Tipperary to face Nenagh AFC who will be buoyed by a hard fought 1-1 draw with Ballynanty. Geraldines have had a disastrous start to the new campaign with five straight defeats. Derek Hannon has had very little to choose from of late including having to call up players from the clubs B team to fill the substitutes bench.