SOCCER

James Walsh's super Saints' extraordinary season continues with the Tipperary club chasing five trophies

Brian McDonnell

Reporter:

Brian McDonnell

Email:

bmcdonnell@tipperarystar.ie

James Walsh's super Saints' extraordinary season continues with the Tipperary club chasing five trophies

The St Michael's team which recently saw off Evergreen in the FAI Junior Cup quarter-finals.

St Michael’s are chasing an extraordinary five trophies this season. The Saints are sitting pretty at the summit of the Clonmel Credit Union Premier Division, have qualified for the final of the Munster Champions Trophy, are through to the semi-finals of the Munster Junior Cup, will soon take their place in the semi-finals of the FAI Junior Cup and on Sunday the outfit managed by James Walsh progressed to the semi-finals of the Tipperary Cup. And, their quarter-final victory over Bansha Celtic proved a sweet one for St Michael’s.

The Saints' only hic-cup this season occurred in the John Delaney Cup (a pre-season tournament). St Michael's beat Borroway Rovers (4-2) and Blackcastle Templemore Harps (2-0) before losing the final of that tournament to Bansha Celtic (1-3) when Bernard Fitzgerald completed a stunning hat-trick in just fifteen minutes. And, Bansha Celtic also presented the Saints with their only league defeat this season.

In the first round of the Tipperary Cup St Michael's saw off the challenge of Cashel Town B (5-0) before accounting for Peake Villa (4-1) in the second. But in Sunday’s Tipperary Cup quarter-final Bansha Celtic managed to trouble St Michael’s once more. The contest finished nil-all before the Saints won a sudden death penalty shoot-out 4-3 with Richie Ryan, John O’Brien, Jimmy Carr and Christopher Higgins converting the spot kicks.

And, St Michael’s were further encouraged on Sunday when the Saints’ B team saw off Glengoole United, the division two league champions, in their respective quarter-final (3-0) to also book their place in the Tipperary Cup last four thanks to goals from Danny O’Brien (two) and Collie O’Dwyer.

TSDL PREMIER DIVISION

Meanwhile in the race to successfully defend their Clonmel Credit Union Premier Division league title St Michael’s took a huge step toward retaining the title on Sunday without even kicking a ball.

Peake Villa enjoy a mathematical chance of catching the Saints at the summit of the division, but the Thurles side lost to Old Bridge (1-2) on Sunday. As a result Peake Villa are ten points behind St Michael’s with a game in hand. The Saints have four games remaining in their programme of games and it would require a monumental collapse from James Walsh’s men for Villa to overtake them. Clonmel Town are second and are seven points off the lead, but have only two games to play.

The Saints have already completed the league double over Clonmel Town, Vee Rovers, Cahir Park and Old Bridge. St Michael's have also beaten Peake Villa (3-0 at home), Clonmel Celtic and Tipperary Town while their only defeat of the season materialized away to Bansha Celtic (1-2). Therefore the Saints' title run-in comprises of a home game against Bansha Celtic, home to Tipperary Town and away to both Clonmel Celtic and Peake Villa.

Having lost fifteen of their sixteen league games this season Old Bridge are already relegated from the Tipperary South & District League Premier Divison. Tipperary Town are second from bottom on eleven points and six points behind Vee Rovers who have completed their programme of games. Tipperary Town, however, have three games in hand on Vee Rovers and have a real chance of avoiding the drop.

FAI JUNIOR CUP

St Michael's, of course, are currently planning for a New Balance FAI Junior Cup semi-final against Donegal side Glengad United at Cooke Park in Tipperary Town on Sunday, April 7 (kick-off 1pm). In their corresponding semi-final on Saturday, April 6 Regional United face Aisling Annacotty at Jackman Park in Limerick (kick-off 5pm).

The last eight pitted St Michael's against the might of Evergreen in Kilkenny and the Saints prevailed on a 1-0 scoreline. In the last sixteen St Michael's beat Mervue United 2-1 while this outstanding Saints team, who won the competition outright as recently as 2014, saw off the challenge of last season’s semi-finalists Newmarket Celtic (Clare & District League) in the last thirty-two (2-0). Previous to that encounter St Michael's beat Leitrim's Manorhamilton Rangers (2-1), Tipperary Town (7-0), Old Bridge (10-0) and Mullinahone FC (6-0).

MUNSTER JUNIOR CUP

St Michael's have been draw to face Geraldines (Limerick District League) in the semi-finals on the Munster Junior Cup - Pike Rovers will take on Newmarket Celtic on the opposite side of the draw.

In the quarter-finals St Michael's recently made the trip to Limerick to take on and beat Kilmallock United (4-1) in the last eight of the prestigious competition. In the fifth round (last sixteen) the defending Tipperary South & District League champions hosted and beat Cork outfit Lakewood Athletic 3-1. Thus far the Saints have also beaten Carrick United B (2-0), Clonmel Town (4-1), Cahir Park (3-0) and Wilderness Rovers (2-0) to reach this stage of the competition.

MUNSTER CHAMPIONS TROPHY

The Saints have also progressed to the final of the Munster Champions Trophy - in the decider St Michael's will face Clare & District League outfit Newmarket Celtic. The Saints have already accounted for Abbeyfeale United (2-0) and Carrick United (5-0) in the competition which pits all of the respective junior league champions in the province against one another.

TSDL DIVISION ONE

Glengoole United were crowned division one champions last week following a 2-0 win over Wilderness Rovers. Two Mile Morris have been promoted to the Premier Division alongside Glengoole.

Meanwhile at the opposite end of the table Rosegreen Rangers are already relegated while either Cullen Lattin or Wilderness Rovers will join them in division two next season. Wilderness Rovers have their programme of games completed while Cullen Lattin require just one point in their final game to avoid the drop.

TSDL DIVISION TWO

Cashel Town and Clonmel Town have dominated division two this season and are both already assured of promotion. Cashel Town top the division on thirty-nine points thanks to their 100% winning record while Clonmel Town are three points behind having won twelve games. Both sides have thirteen games played and three remaining to play meaning that the title race in very much on.

Meanwhile at the opposite end of the table Suirside are bottom on eight points and although they are just a point behind Donohill & District and Burncourt Celtic the Suirside outfit have just one game to play while Donohill & District have two and Burncourt Celtic have one. Indeed, Suirside's prospects of survival appear very slim while Burncourt Celtic and Donohill will battle it out to avoid the drop.

TSDL DIVISION THREE

Cahir Park sealed the division three league title recently when beating Tipperary Town 7-0.

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