Academy Weekend Preview

Dublin will provide the opposition for three of our academy sides over the weekend while a North-West derby kicks off the action on Saturday lunchtime.

Our U17s face Finn Harps at the Sean Fallon Centre looking to guarantee a top three finish in the league. Rovers have been in sensational form recently, winning four consecutive games without conceding a goal – three in a row in the league to add to last week’s 2-0 victory over Derry in the Mark Farren cup. Harps, however, have been in freefall, failing to win any of their previous four games and scoring just once in the process, having initially led the league after the opening weekend. Rovers sit 3rd behind Derry and Drogheda, who meet this weekend, knowing that victory (and results elsewhere) could ensure qualification to the champions phase with a game still to play. (K.O. – Saturday 1pm)

The U19s face a tough test in Tallaght on Saturday against Shamrock Rovers with both sides smarting from a first defeat of the season last weekend.  Rovers and Shams were tied on top with 13 points but lost at home to UCD and St. Pats respectively as they slipped behind Derry City in the standings. With three games of the league campaign remaining, it would be a shock if either team fell out of the top five at this stage (Athlone are 6th, six points adrift) while victory for either side would virtually guarantee a spot in the Champions Phase in September. (K.O. – Saturday 2pm)

Rovers and Shams meet twice this weekend, the WU17 face their capital counterparts in Boyle on Saturday evening in Group A. Shams are undefeated this season and lead Galway by a point at the top of the league with a massive eight-point gap then separating 2nd and 3rd. Rovers are currently 4th but just a point behind Donegal in 3rd with a game in hand. Since two of the best 3rd place sides (From Group A, B and C) will qualify for the Champions Phase in September, Rovers have plenty to play for in this upcoming congested period of 5 games in the next 21 days. (K.O. – Saturday 4pm)

Our WU19 wrap up their season away to Shelbourne in Group B on Sunday afternoon with qualification for the League Shield almost certain. Group A was completed last weekend meaning our women need a big win in Dublin along with a Donegal slip against Bray (bottom on 0 pts) to have any chance of the Champions Phase. It is unfortunate for our women who have played so well this season and such a fine line between the top 3 and the rest, our 1-0 defeat to league leaders DLR Waves on July 4th stands out as we conceded in the 87th minute while down to 10 women due to injury. Even a 0-0 in that game would have Rovers in pole position for 3rd heading into this weekend. As such, Rovers will be one of the favourites to lift the Shield next month. (K.O. – Sunday 2pm)

Richard Mullan