Celtic and Castleisland carry the flag

Senior soccer

Killarney Celtic and Castleisland take the Kerry flag into the last 64 of the FAI Junior Cup next weekend with both sides at home.

The Killarney Celtic v Regional United game is on this Saturday with a 7pm kick off time while Castleisland host VEC at Abbeyfeale Road on Sunday at 2pm.

Killarney Celtic v Regional United

Killarney Celtic have a very serious challenge against very strong Limerick side Regional United, who are one of the top sides in Munster and make a habit of doing well in all cup competitions.

They showed their credentials in the opening round defeating Janesboro 3-1. In the third round they demolished Nenagh 10-2 and in the fourth round they hammered Moyross 7-0.

Killarney Celtic have had an easy enough passage so far beating Killarney Athletic 3-1 in the second round. They made light work of Clare side Moher Celtic winning 9-0 in the third round while they had a comfortable 6-0 win over Killorglin in the fourth round.

Celtic boss Brian Spillane is very much aware of the stern test they face and knows that nothing less than 100% effort can yield the result they require.

"Self belief is high among the squad and home advantage is a huge asset as Celtic Park will be full on Saturday evening," Spillane said, adding that he has no injury worries going into the game but Pa McGrath is not available as he is on holidays.

"We have lost a few players from last year but we also have recruited a number of key players who are making an enormous contribution to the team. We have been training very hard ahead of the game and with a very strong panel there will be fierce competition for places on the starting line up."

Asked how he rated their chances Spillane said:

"They are probably stronger to be honest but the fact that we are at home, it's a 50/50. I reckon we are fitter so like Janesboro if we are in the game come the 70th minute I would fancy us. That's the game plan anyway."

There won't be much between the sides in this game and Celtic will be hoping to make home venue count and they should be able to engineer a win if they play according to plan.

Castleisland FC v VEC FC

Castleisland have had a tough passage to the last 64 winning two games in penalty shoot-outs. In the second round they drew 1-1 with Fenit Samphires and won 5-4 on penalties. They met a strong Limerick side Ballingarry in the third round and won 1-0 with a late goal.

They faced Desmond League side KB United in the fourth round scoring a 90th minute equaliser to take the game to extra time. With the sides deadlocked 1-1 after 90 minutes it progressed to extra-time where stalemate prevailed and they won 4-3 on penalties.

Their opponents who are a Dublin side play in the United Churches League defeated Pegasus St James 4-3 in the second round. They beat Balscadden FC 3-1 in the third round while they defeated Gleb North FC 2-0 in the fourth round.

Castleisland manager Edmond Hartnett says that he has done some research on the VEC side and has discovered that are a big strong physical side who are very dangerous from set piece situations.

"They will have big height advantage over us so we will have to try and keep the ball on the ground as much as possible," he says.

"During team training we have been practicing our passing game and we intend to put it into practice as often as we can in the game. It is hard to evaluate our opponents but we know they are a strong side down the middle and we must adopt our game to counteract this.

"We will be hoping to try and grab an early goal and that would be a big morale booster. We are probably outsiders in this game, but we are hoping that we can make home venue count."

Castleisland were hoping they could play this game in their new astro turf pitch but it's not quite ready yet so it goes ahead at their normal venue on the Abbeyfeale Road.

This should be a tight game and if Castleisland play up to scratch they could squeeze out a win.

Kerryman

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