Carrick-on-Suir is buzzing ahead of the highly anticipated FAI Junior Cup quarter final clash between Carrick United and Roscommon’s Boyle Celtic this Sunday, March 12, at 2pm.
The local side are hoping to add to the good vibes that are elating the town following cyclist Sam Bennett’s first ever World Tour win earlier this week on the Paris-Nice stage.
Walsh believes his team have been granted a “tough” challenge against the Sligo/Leitrim Super League champions, but says his warriors are “very confident” of progressing in the competition they last won in 2008.
Walsh’s men, who meticulously prepare for every game by scouting the opposition in advance, overcame tricky away fixtures in the last rounds of the Junior Cup, knocking out both Dublin side Rivervalley Rangers and Limerick’s Regional United after extra time.
Walsh has got a concoction of youth and experience amongst his ranks, with an array of talent to choose from including former Ipswich Town striker Jack Doherty who trained under Mick McCarthy.
Walsh hasn’t ruled out Ian Clery and Timmy Ryan playing a part on Sunday, despite both carrying injuries. The injured Jerry Walsh is "dodgy" and is unlikely to play any part against Boyle Celtic. Lee Costello’s transfer to Waterford FC’s under 17 side is the only other confirmed absentee going into the tie.
Carrick United captain Anthony O’Donnell says it will be a “nice occasion” to have the club’s academy players, which includes his son Craig, walk both sets of players onto the field on Sunday. “It’s a big deal for the club,” he highlights.
O’Donnell believes home advantage is “massive”. He feels the experienced players who have been there and won the Junior Cup, including Adrian Walsh, John Walsh, Anthony Power, Keith Walsh, Eoghan Burke, Ian Clery and Glen Keane, can help the younger players coming through on match day.
A notable 22 year old making waves amongst the Carrick United ranks is Jack Doherty. The former professional footballer has scored in every round of the competition so far and is looking to add to his 12 goals in the cup against Boyle Celtic. “The boys keep the clean sheets and give me the time and the space so I get the goals. They deserve a lot of credit as well,” he smiles.
Doherty says the build up around the town is “exciting”, continuing: “Everyone is enjoying it. The whole town is talking about it .. The home advantage means a lot but it's not everything; we went away and won two games. Hopefully we’ll get the win and drive on to the semi finals”.
Chairman/2008 Junior Cup winning manager
Carrick United chairman Liam Wells, who managed the 2008 Junior Cup winning team, says it’s a “huge day” for the club and the town. He notes that the pitch and facilities are in “phenomenal” condition, and is looking forward to giving the visiting supporters a “Carrick welcome”, adding:
“We’ve had fantastic support from Carrick-on-Suir people and from the surrounding areas who are all part of this club. No matter where we go we always have support. We can't survive without the support of the people in the community, whether that be a lotto draw, last man standing or sponsorship for a game … We’re truly grateful for the support”.
Junior Cup quarter final history
2003/2004: Carrick United 4 Galway Hibernians
2006/2007: Carrick United 0 St. John Bosco FC (Dublin) 1
2007/2008: Redcastle United 1 Carrick United 1 AET (Carrick won 5-3 on penalties)
Boyle Celtic manager Darren Hurd says his side are “confident” going into the game, following wins over Junior Cup opposition including Dublin’s VEC FC, Erris United, Shiven Rovers, and Ballina Town. “We’ve been training three times a week the past month and preparations are going really good. We have a good few games in hand in the league; if we win them we are champions. The last home game we lost was to Tipperary Town side St. Michael’s in the the Junior Cup over two years ago, and the lads are well up for beating Carrick United on their home turf,” he concludes.
Routes to the quarter final
Round 1 - Bye
Round 2- Dunmore 8-0 (home)
Round 3 - Piltown 1-0 (away)
Round 4 - Hibernians 3-0 (home)
Round 5 - Athenry 4-0 (home)
Last 32 - Rivervalley Rangers 1-0 AET (away)
Last 16 -Regional United 3-1 AET (away)
Round 1 - Bye
Round 2 - Bye
Round 3 - Cloonfad United 2-1 (away)
Round 4 -Shiven Rovers 5-2 (home)
Round 5 - Erris United 3-1 (away)
Last 32 - Ballina Town 3-3 AET [Won 4-1 on penalties] (away)
Last 16 - VEC 2-1 (home)
Paddy Power 90 minute only betting odds:
Win - Draw - Win: Carrick United 8/13 - Draw 10/3 - Boyle Celtic 13/5
Double chance: Carrick United and draw 2/9 - Boyle Celtic and draw evens - Carrick United and Boyle Celtic 1/6
Other quarter final showdowns
Thurles side Peake Villa have been drawn at home to Dublin's Sheriff Youth Club, with Evergreen FC (Kilkenny) v Kilmallock FC (Limerick) and Killarney Celtic (Kerry) v Janesboro FC (Limerick) making up the remaining quarter final fixtures.
(Video credit: John White)