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Football envelope with Mike Rafferty

Visits to the later stages of the FAI Junior Cup are rare treats for Galway League sides, but Salthill Devon travel to Wexford on Sunday for a 2pm kick-off against North End United with a place in the last four of the competition in play.

While Devon reached the semi-finals under Stevie Haynes in 2007 before losing to Killester United, their hosts on Sunday have had a much more impressive pedigree in recent years. They were winners in 2018 when they beat Pike Rovers on penalties at the Aviva Stadium after the sides finished 1-1 after extra time, while also advancing to the last four and last eight consistently over the years.

Whatever the quality and ability of North End, Salthill Devon set the competition’s leading scorer this season with an away win over holders Fairview Rangers in the final round. It might have taken penalties to secure their passage after the teams split the spoils in a 1-1 draw, but that didn’t detract from the feat. Mind you, the same scenario existed when North End saw Avenue United side Ennis on kicks after also splitting the spoils in a 2-2 draw.

Under the leadership of Victor Collins and Keith O’Shaughnessy, Salthill Devon has seen an upward curve in recent years. Competitive in the local league and winners of the Connacht Junior Cup for the first time last year, they are back in the last four of this competition and will face old foes Athenry on April 24, when they are also top. of the Premier Division standings.

The side were in action last weekend against St Bernard’s and emerged 2-0 winners, and speaking to City Sport this week O’Shaughnessy confirmed the league title was really their aim.

“We played a full team at Abbeyknockmoy last Sunday and the thought of players being rested didn’t stick with us. We don’t take any risk by losing points, because we haven’t won this title for a long time. Every game is competitive and we aim to go for top honors at the end of the season,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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