Sunday will see another large crowd of supporters descend on the Sports Park as Westport United look to book their place in the seventh round of the FAI Junior Cup. Standing in their way is Kilkenny side Freebooters, who will make the long trip to Westport for this clash. Westport United booked their place in this round of the competition thanks to a come from behind 5-2 win over New Ross Celtic a fortnight ago. The three goal victory is even more impressive when it is remembered that Westport United were trailing 2-1 with only 15 minutes left on the clock, but once Danny Scahill found the back of the net from the penalty spot to level the game up, United cut loose and ran through their opponents from the southeast, with Schaill adding another and David Hoban and Martin Geraghty one each to round off the scoring. Westport United got a break last weekend when they got a walk-over in the Connacht Junior Cup when Straide and Foxford did not field a team, so they should come into the game well rested.
It is 10 years since United won the competition and they still have bags of experience with Danny Scahill, David Cameron, Joe Lawless, and Martin Geraghty who all started in that final, while David Hoban and Shaun Tagg were all also part of that squad. But it is not just the old guard from a decade ago that are still providing the quality for United with Pat Fitzgerald, Philip Keegan, and Colin Cameron all top players in their own right for United and they will be expected to put in big performances this weekend for United.
The Kilkenny based outfit have negotiated their way through four rounds of the competition themselves, seeing off Fort Rangers 6-0 in round two, then they put Kentstown to the sword with a 3-0 win in round three. In round four they were put to the pin of their collar and just saw off the challenge of Hanover Harps 4-3 after extra time, while in the fifth round at the start of December they beat Culdaff 3-0 on the road to set up this Sunday’s game against Westport United. Freebooters have been goal hungry in the FAI Junior Cup this season, bagging 15 goals in their four games to date, with Dessie Hayes the main man for them hitting the back of the net five times in the four games, while David Raggett chipped in with three, and David Rice and Paddy Cahill have each found the back of the net twice in the competition. They are however coming into the game off the back of a defeat after they were beaten 1-0 by Rivervalley Rangers in the Leinster FA Junior Cup last weekend.
The draw for the following round of the competition was made earlier this week with Westport United if they win on Sunday, drawn to play either Sheriff United from Dublin or Waterford outfit Tramore. Last season Sheriff United knocked Westport United out of the competition 4-1 in the last 16 stage.