Galway will host two TP Brennan Connacht Junior Cup semi finals on Sunday afternoon, with St Bernard’s hosting Ballinasloe Town in Abbeyknockmoy; while the meeting of West United and Boyle Celtic will take place at South Park in the city.
Ballinasloe Town and West United have tasted Connacht Junior Cup success previously, but St Bernard’s and Boyle Celtic aappear in the last four of the cmopetition for the first time.
Following up on their maiden Premier Division title success of last season, St Bernard’s have struggled somewhat in league action in the current campaign, but they appear to have saved their best form for Cup action, and Sunday’s tie is one they are looking forward to.
“We are delighted to be facing Ballinasloe and not one of the local teams that we know well and it will be a fresh challenge,” says St Bernard’s manager, John Dunne.
“We are aware of their status as one of the leading sides in the Roscommon League and of course their ability to get to the closing stages of this competition on a regular basis.
“Look, after a disappointing league campaign, we are excited by the cup run and with all the players fit, healthy and available we are looking forward to the game,” Dunne said.
Ballinasloe Town have a pretty impressive record in the Connacht Cup in recent times and while they won’t have any happy memories of last season’s drubbing in the final against Athenry, they have recovered well from that defeat as they challenge for league and cup honours again locally.
West United are also previous winners of the Cup and have enjoyed a reasonably good campaign in the top three of the Premier League throughout the season. However, Sunday’s game will be a huge challenge against a Boyle Celtic side who are the Super League champions in the Sligo/Leitrim League, and are challenging for honours there once more. They also made it to the semi-final of the FAI Junior Cup and were only despatched on penalties, after a 1-1 draw with Evergreen.
West will be delighted to have newly-married Geoffrey Power available again following a recent suspension and no doubt the visitors will be keeping a close eye on the pacey Sean Keogh after his brace in the previous round against Loughrea.
Former Galway United stalwart, Alan Murphy, will line out in central midfield, while defenders Conor Murray, Keith Lee and Eric Holland will anticipate a busy afternoon against a free-scoring visiting side who had two players – Michael Corrigan and Niall Brennan – recently called up for International trials; while in Sean Purcell, they have a defender of outstanding quality.
Both games kick off at 2pm, with the winners of the West United/Boyle Celtic tie having home advantage for the final scheduled for Sunday May 28.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.