Ballymoe and Castlerea in Challenge Cup Final showdown
Challenge Cup Final in Lecarrow at 7 pm on Saturday
This Saturday’s Roscommon & District Football League Cup final will be contested by fierce rivals Castlerea Celtic and Ballymoe FC.
Castlerea Celtic recently wrapped up the Premier Division title and having beaten Ballymoe twice in the league they will be favourites to clinch a wonderful double. Ballymoe, for their part, have remained competitive in the league while emerging as cup specialists this season.
Local bragging rights will be on the line as both clubs gear up for what promises to be a fiercely contested final in Lecarrow with kick-off set for 7 pm.
Castlerea Celtic co-manager, Kevin McNamara, says the champions will be ready for Saturday’s final.
“We’re preparing really well, we had a couple of days off and we enjoyed that before we resumed training last Thursday. We’ve been building up preparation for the final, our lads look in great shape.”
After a brilliant league campaign, which saw them win home and away against Ballymoe, Celtic will be confident of adding more silverware this weekend. McNamara, however, won’t be taking Ballymoe lightly.
“It gives us confidence but Ballymoe are a very good side and the first game was very tight, there wasn’t a whole lot in it. We’ve great confidence in our own ability and we’re looking forward to the final.”
Ballymoe FC have become cup specialists this season but went down 3-0 in last Sunday’s Premier Division Cup final to Moore United. They will need to bounce back quickly if they are to have any hope of pulling off a cup shock this Saturday.
Ballymoe co-manager, Kevin Earley, was disappointed with events in last Sunday’s game but was looking forward to another wonderful occasion this weekend.
“The lads were very disappointed last Sunday, we just didn’t do ourselves justice really. We never got going and Moore fully deserved their win,” he said.
It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Ballymoe in the last few years, but Earley has been delighted with the progress made this season.
“We got a great response from the players this season, they’ve been very dedicated. We had a couple of days off after the Moore United game and then we trained Wednesday night. Friday (tomorrow) we’ll have a very light session.”
Ballymoe will be without three key players this Saturday following two red cards being issued to the Muldoon brothers, Keith and Dean and an injury to James Connaughton last Sunday. Earley said: “Obviously there will be suspensions and James would be a big loss, he’s a very experienced player, but that’s sport and these things happen. We are still very hopeful that we can surprise Castlerea on Saturday and all the players are really looking forward to it.”
The N61 towards Athlone is sure to be busy this Saturday as supporters from both towns are expected to travel in numbers to Lecarrow. Castlerea will be strong favourites but with the RDFL Cup as well as local bragging rights up for grabs, it might come down to who blinks first.
The road to Lecarrow
It’s been a long, and sometimes, rocky road to Lecarrow for both Ballymoe FC and Castlerea Celtic, but all that will be forgotten about come kick-off on Saturday evening.
Ballymoe endured the tougher route to the final and that will give them a lot of confidence ahead of Saturday’s showdown.
3rd Round: Ballaghaderreen FC 0 Ballymoe FC 3
Quarter-Final: Moore United 1 Ballymoe FC 2
Semi-Final: Ballinasloe Town 0 Ballymoe FC 1
Double chasers Castlerea Celtic have carried their tremendous league form into this year’s RDFL Challenge Cup and the champions will be heavily backed to add yet more silverware on Saturday.
3rd Round: Castle Celtic 11 Ballaghaderreen FC B 0
Quarter-Final: St. John’s Athletic 1 Castlerea Celtic 4
Semi-Final: Castlerea Celtic 4 Shiven Rovers 2