AN ALL-PREMIER or all-First Division final? Those are two of the possible permutations after the draw was made for the Maher Shield semi-finals.
The top two teams in the Premier Division, Evergreen A and Freebooters A, have both been drawn away to Division One opponents. Title holders ’Booters face a cross-town battle with Newpark United, while Evergreen A will have a trip to Quigley Park to take on Clover United.
Evergreen and Newpark were the first teams to book their semi-final berths. Goals from Joe Mulcahy (pen), Vinny O’Brien and Declan McQuillan helped Eddie McEvoy’s side see off AC Kilkenny. Newpark were the only one of all eight quarter-finalists to win on the road as Eamon Conway and Henry O’Neill grabbed the goals that gave them a 2-1 win away to Stoneyford United.
Freebooters A booked their place on Sunday thanks to that 2-0 win over Thomastown United. Clover had an impressive win too, beating top flight opponents Bridge United in Rathdowney on Sunday morning. The Goresbridge side were no match for the hosts, who racked up a 4-0 win thanks to goals from Ned Browne, Lee John Kinsella, Shane Dollard and Brian Bowe.
Interestingly, both of the Division One teams are still in the shake-up to win promotion this season. With just two league games left to play Clover United are currently top of the pile on 30 points. The Rathdowney men also have an eight-point gap on the two teams below them. One of those sides, Thomastown United, have two games in hand on the leaders but Newpark, who have one game in hand, are also still in the running. They have lost just one league game all season, but seven draws may hamper their promotion hopes in the end.
No dates have been announced for the Maher Shield semi-finals, as Evergreen are still involved in the Leinster Junior Cup, but it is expected that the final will be held over the St Patrick’s weekend. It could be a weekend full of silverware in Kilkenny, as the Ladies Shield final between East End United and Tullaroan has been pencilled in for March 17.
Meanwhile the Kilkenny & District League have named their squad for the Leinster under-13 Inter-league tournament. Managed by Darren Murray, Ger Brett and David Cummins, the squad will travel to Greystones, Co Wicklow for their three games this weekend. They kick-off their campaign against the Carlow League at 11.30am and will play their second group game that afternoon when they take on the Midlands League at 2.30pm. The team’s last game is against the South Dublin Football League, which will be played at 12.30pm on Sunday.
Kilkenny & District League: Rory Monks, David Griffin, Daithi Barron, Colm Whelan (Thomastown United); Jordan Molloy, Ronan Buckley, Eoin Wall, Ryan Poyntz, Eoin O’Shea (Ormonde Villa); Sam Hickey, Niall Brassil, Joe Sheehan (Evergreen); Jason Comerford (Deen Celtic); Brendan McGinley, Dylan Doyle (Clover United); Ryan Scanlon, Conor Flynn, Sean Ryan (Freebooters); Eoin Brennan (Callan United); Eoin Kenneally (Southend United); Ciaran Whelan, Jack Foley, Jon Nolan (Bridge United); Niall Brennan, Calvin Brophy (Freshford Town).