Sporting Ennistymon F.C has entered nationwide as well as province-wide competitions in the past. Examples of these are the F.A.I. Junior Cup and the Munster Junior Cup. Both competitions are steeped in history, with fixtures dating back as far as the early 1920s. Sporting Ennistymon F.C. reached the last 16 of the Munster Junior Cup on three occasions from 2009 to 2018. The campaigns which saw the North Clare men reach the latter stages of the competitions are discussed further below.
SPORTING ENNISTYMON FC'S MUNSTER JUNIOR CUP CAMPAIGN - 2013/2014
The first time the Senior team reached the last 16 of the Munster Junior Cup was in the 2013/14 season. Sporting eventually lost out to Geraldines who went on to play in the final. The first three rounds of the competition are played against teams within the Clare District League. The round 4 draw an open draw includes teams from outside of the C.D.S.L but play within the province. The path to the last sixteen of the Munster Junior Cup is as follows:
Munster Junior Cup Round 1 – BYE to Round 2
The North Clare side received a BYE to round 2 of the competition. The round two draw would see Sporting play the winners of Kilrush Rangers A.F.C Vs Bridge Celtic F.C.
Round 2 – Bridge Celtic FC Vs Sporting Ennistymon FC “A” (O’Briensbridge)
Sporting travelled to O’Briensbridge to play the winners of the first-round game between Kilrush Rangers AFC and Bridge Celtic FC. A Micheāl Duffy hattrick and further goals from Michael O’Dwyer, and Michael Leigh saw the North Clare side progress to round three of the competition.
Result: Bridge Celtic FC 4-5 Sporting Ennistymon FC “A”
Round 3 – Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” Vs Bridge United FC “A” (Lahinch Sportsfield)
Following the trip to O’Briensbridge, Sporting welcomed Bridge United FC “A” to Lahinch Sportsfield for the third round tie. The North Clare side proved too strong for the “Bridge” and ran out 7-4 winners. Sporting led 4-1 at halftime before tacking on a further three goals to the scoreline. Braces from Sean McConigley, Aaron McNulty, and Ciaren Monaghan, and a single Cathal McConigley accounted for the seven goals.
Result: Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” 7-4 Bridge United FC “A”
Round 4 – Sporting Ennistymon F.C ”A” Vs Grangevale F.C (The Pavillion, Lisdoonvarna)
The fourth round draw saw Cork-based team Grangevale make the long trip to North Clare. Grangevale went ahead on two occasions and needed immediate replies from Cathal McConigley and Ciaren Monaghan. A frantic last fifteen minutes saw the home side go in front with goals from Sean and Jamesie McConigley.
Result: Sporting Ennistymon F.C ”A” 4-2 Grangevale F.C
Munster Junior Cup Round 5 – Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” Vs Geraldines A.F.C (Aisling Annacotty)
After a good victory against Cork side, Grangevale, Sporting Ennistymon, were drawn against Geraldine’s of Limerick. Unable to locate a suitable venue in Clare, the North Clare men had to travel to Limerick. Geraldines went ahead on fifteen minutes. However, an equaliser from Micheal Duffy from an Aaron McNulty cross meant the sides were level at the break.
Two goals in the opening stages of the second half put the Limerick side firmly in the driving seat. The dominant second-half performance was capped off with a further three goals. Geraldines advanced past the quarter and semi-finals, eventually ending up in the final of the Munster Junior Cup. Geraldines played St Michaels of Tipperary in the final.
Result: Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” 1-6 Geraldines A.F.C
SPORTING ENNISTYMON FC'S MUNSTER JUNIOR CUP CAMPAIGN - 2017/2018
2017/2018 saw the club involved again in the latter stages of the Munster Junior Cup competition with a much-changed side that took part in the 2014 campaign. Declan O’Looney, John Mullane and Mark Burke were among some of the players who had decided to retire.
However, as players left, others joined. The underage section saw the production of young talented players, ready to join the club’s senior ranks. The path to the last sixteen of the Munster Junior Cup is as follows:
Munster Junior Cup Round 1 – Moher Celtic FC Vs Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” (Lahinch Sportsfield)
This first-round game in 2018/19 Munster Junior Cup saw Sporting Ennistymon FC take on Moher Celtic FC. Goals from Joe McGann, Sean McConigley, and Killian Malone meant the sides were level after extra time. Sporting goalkeeper Conor Shannon saved during the penalty shootout, to see the North Clare men through to subsequent rounds.
Result: Moher Celtic FC 3-3 Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” (Sporting win 5-4 on penalties)
Round 2 – Lifford AFC” B” Vs Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” (Cassidy Park)
Following the dismissing of North Clare neighbours, Sporting travelled to Cassidy Park, home of Lifford FC, to take on Liffords second string. The visitors needed a Killian Malone goal from the penalty spot to see them through to the third round of the competition. Sporting took the lead initially, courtesy of a Sean McConigley strike before the home side equalised.
Result: Lifford AFC” B” 1-2 Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” (After Extra Time)
Round 3 – Sporting Ennistymon F.C ”A” Vs Shannon Hibernians F.C ”A” (Lahinch Sportsfield)
Sporting Ennistymon welcomed Shannon Hibernians FC “A” to Lahinch Sportsfield for the third round fixture. The home side needed a Jamesie McConigley brace to help them overcome the then first division side after conceding early on.
Result: Sporting Ennistymon F.C ”A” 2-1 Shannon Hibernains F.C ”A”
Round 4 - Rockmount A.F.C Vs Sporting Ennistymon FC" A" (Cork)
A visit to Rockmount A.F.C of Cork was next for the North Clare men. The club once saw a young Roy Keane (former Irish, Manchester United FC and Nottingham Forest midfielder) tog out for their underage sides before moving to Cobh Ramblers. Rockmount opened the scoring at the latter end of the first half and led by a single goal at the half.
The lead could’ve been extended, but Sporting’s keeper, Shannon, was on hand to deny the home side on multiple occasions. Sporting responded in the second half through a Jamesie McConigley tap in before hitting the front courtesy of a Ciaren Monaghan free-kick. These goals proved crucial enough to send the north Clare side into the fifth round draw.
Result: Rockmount A.F.C 1-2 Sporting Ennistymon FC” A”
Munster Junior Cup Round 5 – Sporting Ennistymon FC “A” Vs Pike Rovers FC” A” (Kilrush)
After the fifth round draw, Sporting welcomed a seasoned Pike Rovers team from Limerick to Kilrush as Lahinch Sportsfield was deemed unplayable. Rovers were known nationwide and have had players that represented Ireland at underage and senior levels walk through their doors. Pike had also won the coveted FAI Junior Cup in 2010 and were runners up in the tournament in 1947 and 2015.
In extremely windy conditions, the Limerick side dominated the first half and raced to a 6-0 lead at halftime. Sporting, to their credit, pulled back three goals, including a fantastic long-range volley from Micheal Duffy before Pike added a seventh and final goal. Pike Rovers retained their Munster Junior Cup title after beating fellow Limerick side Janesboro on penalties.
Result: Sporting Ennistymon FC “A” 3-7 Pike Rovers FC” A”
SPORTING ENNISTYMON FC'S MUNSTER JUNIOR CUP CAMPAIGN - 2018/2019
Sporting made it to the last 16 of the Munster Junior Cup for the third time in five years during the 2018/2019 season. Much of the 17/18 cup run team were again involved in the club back to back Munster Junior Cup runs. However, new faces such as goalkeeper Conor Gallagher and midfielders like Ciaran McMahon and Darren McNamara were among some players who had transitioned from the youths team to the senior squad. The path to the last sixteen of the Munster Junior Cup is as follows:
Munster Junior Cup Round 1 – Shannon Town United “B” Vs Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” (Corrib Drive)
Sporting Ennistymon made the trip to Corrib Drive to take on Shannon Town United “B” in the initial round of the Munster Junior Cup. Town struck first through Eoin Collins before an equaliser from Ciaran McMahon levelled the sides, and Sporting went ahead then through a Jamesie McConigley header. A Sean McConigley low driven strike further added to Sportings tally, but Town did pull one back in the game’s dying embers.
Result: Shannon Town United “B” 2-3 Sporting Ennistymon FC” A”
Round 2 – Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” Vs Shannon Town United “A” (Lahinch Sportsfield)
Sporting welcomed Shannon Town United “A” to Lahinch Sportsfield for the second round Munster Junior Cup fixture. The East Clare side went ahead through goals from Kieran Hackett and Dave Cove, but a lobbed effort from Cathal McConigley and a Ross O’Doherty strike levelled the sides early in the second half.
The North Clare men went ahead for the first time when Sean McConigley pounced on a mistake in the Shannon Town backline. McConigley’s goal looked to have sealed it for Sporting, but Kieran Hackett struck late on to send the tie into extra time and penalties. Jack O’Dea stood up to fire home the winning penalty and sent Sporting through to the 3rd round.
Result: Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” 3-3 Shannon Town United “A” (Sporting win 7-6 on penalties)
Round 3 – Shannon Hibernians AFC “A” Vs Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” (Riverside Park)
The round three tie saw Sporting travel to Riverside Park to play another Shannon based side, Shannon Hibernians AFC “A”. The North Clare men took the lead through Jamesie McConigley before Jamie O’Shea had Hibs back on level terms from the penalty spot. It wasn’t too long before Sporting were ahead again, courtesy of a Sean McConigley strike.
Further goals from Michael Leigh, Tiernan Hogan and Sean McConigley saw Sporting ease through to the 4th round draw.
Result: Shannon Hibernians AFC “A” 1-5 Sporting Ennistymon FC” A”
Round 4 – Holycross A.F.C Vs Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” (Holycross Sportsfield)
The fourth round fixture saw the Ennistymon based outfit travel to the then Limerick first division side, Holycross A.F.C “A”. Micheal Duffy went close for the visitors before a Sean McConigley brace put the Ennistymon side two up at the break. Holycross responded shortly after the interval to halve the deficit.
Sporting extended their lead soon after, courtesy of a Jamesie McConigley strike. The Limerick side did add another, but the North Clare side saw out the game to keep their name in the hat for the last 16 draw.
Result: Holycross A.F.C “A” 2-3 Sporting Ennistymon FC” A”
Munster Junior Cup Round 5 – Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” Vs Kilmallock United FC (Lahinch Sportsfield)
The 2018/19 Munster Junior Cup last sixteen fixtures saw Sporting Ennistymon FC “A” welcome Kilmallock United to Lahinch Sportsfield. The first time the home side had played a round five match in the competition in their home ground. In the previous round, the Limerick-based side had beaten then title contenders Avenue United FC “A” one-nil. The north Clare men lost by a single goal on the day despite chances from Sean and Jamesie McConigley.
The all-important goal came courtesy of Paul Doona from the penalty spot. Further chances for the Ennistymon based side went begging, and Kilmallock held out to advance through to the competition’s quarter-finals. A win would’ve set up a home draw for the North Clare men against St. Micheals F.C of Tipperary.
Result: Sporting Ennistymon FC” A” 0-1 Kilmallock United FC
Munster Junior Cup fixtures are always valued as they provide a benchmark to examine the team’s quality against some of the best junior sides in Munster. Having started in the lowest division of the Clare District Soccer League in the 2009/2010 season, reaching the competition’s latter stages three times in ten seasons is a fair feat.
The historical element of the Munster Junior Cup also adds to the competition and its fixtures. The origin of the Munster Junior Cup predates the beginning of the second world war. Players who participate in the competition may reflect on the hundreds of teams and thousands of players who too played minutes in the knockout tournament. The opportunity to play some of the biggest names in junior football both within Munster and nationally is savoured and relished by Sporting players who will continue to pursue the Munster Junior Cup.