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FAI Junior Cup Round 3 Preview


FAI Junior Cup

There are a few eagerly awaited ties in the FAI Junior Cup this weekend with the standout game taking place at United Park when Westport United host Ballina Town.

FAI Junior Cup 3rd Round

Glenhest Rovers v Castlebar Celtic (Sun 11am)
Super League champions Castlebar Celtic face a tough test on Sunday morning when they take on a Glenhest Rovers side that will be playing in the same division as them next season after they gained promotion from the Premier Division recently.  They will be missing some of their title winning side with Cathal Coyne and Gerard O’Boyle two key players that have emigrated, but they should still have more than enough firepower to make it to Round 4. Jordan Loftus and Liam Flatley are just two of their key players and if they can continue their recent form it will be hard to see them failing to score. Glenhest haven’t played in nearly two months following their early exit from the Calor Gas Premier Cup and it will be difficult for their players to get up to match fitness straight away.

Kiltimagh/Knock United v Newport/Mulranny Wanderers (Sun 11am)
Kiltimagh/Knock United will be huge favourites to make it to Round 4 when they take on Newport/Mulranny Wanderers in the other early game on Sunday. They will have to pick themselves up after their defeat in the Premier Cup final last weekend, but they should get back to the form they showed before that defeat as Newport/Mulranny play their first game in six weeks. Newport/Mulranny finished their league season unbeaten but they have found the going tough in the cup competitions as they suffered defeats to Claremorris B and Ballina Town B. Kiltimagh/Knock have been very strong at home this season and have been in free scoring form at CMS Park of late as they have scored twenty five goals in their last four matches and even though they didn’t preform in last weekend’s final it will be a huge surprise if they aren’t in the draw for Round 4.

Achill Rovers v Ballyhaunis Town (Sun 2.30pm)
Ballyhaunis Town face the long trip to Fr. O’Brien Park on Sunday afternoon when they will come up against an Achill Rovers side that have had a tough season at the bottom of the Premier Division. They are usually very difficult to beat at home but Ballyhaunis will still be expected to progress having secured their Super League safety in recent weeks culminating with a play-off win over Straide & Foxford United. Ballyhaunis have also played a lot more football than Achill in recent weeks and this could have a big say in the outcome of this game as Achill haven’t been in action since the beginning of September and fitness is sure to be an issue for the Islanders. 

Ballyheane v Conn Rangers (Sun 2.30pm)
One of the ties of the round could possibly be on Sunday afternoon when Premier Division side Conn Rangers travel to Pat Quigley Park to take on Super League side Ballyheane. Conn Rangers will be full of confidence after winning the Premier Cup last weekend and will fancy their chances of getting out of the Mayo section like they did last year. Eoin Prendergast picked up the man of the match award in that final but other youngsters like Conor Flynn, Liam Durkin and Lorcan Towey have really stepped up to the mark in recent months as their side hit form at the right time of the season. Ballyheane also have a very young side and were unlucky to lose to Ballina Town in a seven goal thriller on Sunday last but Ashley Stevenson will be more than happy with how his first season has gone in charge. He has got the best out of a number of the younger players with Cillian Redmond, Ben Edeh and Nathan Reilly-Doyle always amongst their top performers throughout the season. 

Manulla v Moy Villa (Sun 2.30pm)
After getting past Snugboro United in the previous round Moy Villa will fancy their chances of causing another shock when they take on Manulla on Sunday. Manulla though will still be massive favourites and should have enough to progress especially with the likes of Gerry Canavan, Darragh Byrne and Chris Maughan in good form recently. They will need to keep an eye on Moy Villa striker Luke Ruane who has over thirty goals to his name this season but others like Ciaran Gaughan and John Judge Jnr are also capable of causing problems for any side in the Mayo League. All in all it would be a huge shock if Moy Villa make it to Round 4 as Manulla are a big step up from the challenge Snugboro posed in the previous round.

Westport United v Ballina Town (Sun 2.30pm)
Two sides with ambitions of going far in this competition meet in United Park on Sunday afternoon when one of the top three sides in the county interest in this competition will end. Westport suffered a shock defeat against Ballyglass in the Calor Gas Super Cup last weekend but they were missing three important players due to the unavailability of James O’Donnell, Joe Lawless and Jesper Frisch. They will need to be at full strength this weekend as Ballina have been in good form recently having lost only once in their last fourteen outings. Benny Lavelle was at his brilliant best last weekend as he hit a hat-trick in their win over Ballyheane. Recent signing Brian Benson was also on target in that game and others like Jamie Cawley, Tommy Forde and Dylan Edwards are sure to cause problems for Mickey Feeney’s side. Westport though have huge pedigree in this competition and will be confident that they will be in the draw for the next round if they play to their potential on Sunday.

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