A NATIONAL adventure continues as two Kilkenny teams take on Tipp opposition in the FAI Junior Cup this weekend.
Bridge United and Highview Athletic will be hoping to book their places in the last 16 of Ireland’s biggest competition for junior clubs when they compete in games against Premier County opposition.
Both Kilkenny sides will face teams playing in the Premier Division of the TSDL. Highview Athletic face a trip away to second place Clonmel Celtic, while Bridge United are at home to fifth place Peake Villa from Thurles Town.
Both Bridge United and Highview Athletic have done extremely well to get as far as the last 32, and they can be proud of the fact they are Kilkenny’s last standing representatives in the competition. However, Sunday represents the stiffest challenge for both clubs yet.
Bridge United reached the last 32 by beating AC Kilkenny in their opening game, before recording a dramatic 6-4 extra-time victory over Wexford Bohemians as Sean Barcoe scored a hat-trick. They followed that with another victory against Wexford opposition as they defeated Rosslare Rangers 3-0 down in Rosslare, with Barcoe again amongst the goals along with Martin Bambrick and Marty Dalton.
They secured their meeting with Peake Villa on December 18, as Martin Bambrick’s ninth minute goal was enough to see off Meath outfit Kentstown Rovers.
Meanwhile, their near neighbours Highview Athletic have surpassed all expectations with their cup fortunes.
The Graignamanagh side also recorded victory down on Wexford soil with a 5-2 victory away to All-Blacks in which Aaron Broaders grabbed a brace. A heroic display inspired by a superb goalkeeping performance from Padraic Whelan helped Highview get past Ballinasloe Town 2-1 in a game where they defended strongly following a whirlwind start.
Chris Raymond smashed home with a brilliant volley right from the outset after just ten seconds, before a second goal in the ninth minute doubled the advantage.
However, Ballinasloe enjoyed the majority of possession afterwards, but they were kept at bay by magnificent defending by Highview that proved instrumental in keeping the cup bandwagon rolling.
Further heroics will be required in Clonmel next Sunday.
There are three matches down for decision in the Premier Division this weekend, with Freebooters looking to join Evergreen A - who are not in league action this weekend - on top of the table provided they can beat an in-form Lions.
Elsewhere, Evergreen B host Freebooters B in Scanlon Park while Fort Rangers and Deen Celtic square up to one another in Wallslough.
There is a full programmes of matches in the lower divisions.