St Michael's AFC will play Sherriff YC from Dublin at Deasy Park Galway on this coming Saturday at 2 pm.
NEW BALANCE FAI JUNIOR CUP FINAL
It’s been a long time coming, but the 2019 edition of the FAI Junior Cup is set to finally take place this Saturday at Eamon Deasy Park in Galway at 2 pm between the two big beasts of Irish Junior football, St Michael’s and Dublin side Sherriff United.
The Saints are heading into their sixth final since the turn of the Millennium, whilst Sheriff have been the most successful club in recent years in the Competition with four victories since 2012.
On paper it looks quite a tough task for the TSDL side against a team that would probably hold their own in the Leinster Senior League, but the Saints have been competing at a high level since 2010 and will go into the match with fresh memories of a victory in 2014.
They have a lot of players with big game experience and built on a strong defensive platform with Adrian Walsh in goal behind a solid central defensive partnership of Paul Breen and Sean Guerins. Along with Chris Higgins and John O’Brien at full back, they have conceded very few goals this season, and will again be more than a handful for the Dublin strike force at the weekend. International Player of the Year nominee Shane Ryan and Colin Bargary in midfield alongside wing wizards Jimmy Carr and Willie Armshaw will ensure a good supply of ball to the forward line, and David Slattery's work rate, passing ability and eye for goal always carries a threat. But Saints biggest strength this year is their panel with players like Jonathan Kennedy, Olly O’Driscoll, Derek Breen, Danny O’Brien, Joey Mulcahy bringing a depth of experience if needed. Sheriff's best result of the campaign this year was in beating Limerick side Pike Rovers, but since the delayed final, St Michael’s have also taken that scalp in this years Munster Cup final as the Saint’s once again as in 2014, chase a domestic quadruple.
They have already beaten a very useful Manorhamilton side on the road in December, while Newmarket Celtic were probably the best side they played winning an epic encounter by two goals to nil. They also showed the character to dig out victories at Evergreen and against Glengad. They know a big performance is needed next Saturday but they will apply themselves with the same dedication and professionalism that they bring to every fixture. Saints will have a huge support in Galway and they will be hoping that the twelfth man can bring them to glory.
This could be a tight cagey affair with little between two top sides that may not be decided in ninety minutes. Dead ball prowess or one bit of luck or magic could swing the dice either way.
Though Tipperary has been getting used to national success of late, we are all hoping that the mighty Saints can come marching home one more time again this year.