The South Tipperary soccer season is off to an exciting start.
It's only the first week in August but archrivals Clonmel Town and St. Michael's will clash in the first big fixture of the new soccer season on Friday evening.
It's always one of the big clashes of the year in whatever competiton and a great battle is expected in the John Delaney Cup semi-final at the Complex at 7pm on Friday.
The other all-Thurles semi-final between Peake Villa and Thurles Town takes place next Wednesday night.
It was the teams from South Tipperary who once again displayed dominance over their North Tipperary counterparts in the quarter finals of the competition.
By now this cup has become the recognised season opener for both leagues, and has seen some excellent clashes over the years. It is also a good place to see the players of the future across the various squads, and this was definitely the case at the weekend with especially the South Tipperary teams using a good number of young players alongside their established players.
St Michael’s were using many of their successful double winning youths side from last year, and welcomed BT Harps to Cooke Park on Saturday evening. Saints showed the cobwebs of the off season and went to the break in this game goalless. However they went through the gears in the second period and hit two unanswered goals to advance to a semi final place.
And in that semi final they will play their perennial rivals Clonmel Town, who probably had the performance of the weekend travelling to Cloughjordan where they despatched their hosts in short order with a five goals to nil win.
Town have been nurturing some very good young players for a number of years now, and under new management will be hoping that these players can finally make the breakthrough and bring back the glory days to the Complex.
The other two games of the weekend were held in Thurles, with the meeting of the TSDL’s Peake Villa against North Tipp rivals Nenagh Celtic probably being the pick of the crop.
Villa had an excellent season just gone, where they introduced many of their successful recent Youths teams to first team action, and they showed that they are likely to get even stronger this year with a very impressive four goals to two win against a leggy Celtic side.
In the final game of the weekend North Tipperary champions Thurles Town stopped it becoming a clean sweep for the TSDL when they had an emphatic win over a weakened Clonmel Celtic side. The hosts will hope to build on a very good title winning season by adding even more success this year, but the Clonmel side will surely get stronger after what was a very poor defeat.