The latest instalment of Media Isle of Man’s Team of the Week is an FA Cup special after Saturday’s semi-finals of the ECAP-sponsored competition. 

Ayre United and Rushen United booked their places in this weekend’s cup final after hard-fought victories over Peel and St Mary’s respectively. 

While all four teams are represented in the latest hypothetical XI, the two finalists unsurprisingly dominate the latest TotW. 

Following a quiet opening half, Ayre goalkeeper Nathan Teare produced some good handling during the second half to keep Peel at bay and therefore claims the number one jersey. 

Ahead of him in a four-man defence are team-mates Jamie Callister and Christian Penswick plus Rushen duo Ashley Blake and Scott Mason, with Peel’s Sam Chapman narrowly missing out on a place. 

Callister was dominant at the back during the opening half as he ensured the westerners created few real chances, while Penswick enjoyed a fine game at right-back and looked effective going forward, scoring a superb header to win the tie. 

The latter’s decisive showing earned him the player of the round honours for the semi-finals. 

Blake and Mason were both solid at the back throughout and absorbed all the long ball football played by St Mary’s to nullify the Saints’ significant attacking threats and play a key role in the Spaniards reaching the cup final. 

Claiming the man of the match honours in that game was their Rushen team-mate Lochlann Denham who stood out with two assists in the first half and was the Spaniards’ main threat on the counter when pinned back in the second. 

As such, he takes his place in a four-man TotW midfield alongside Ayre’s Shaun Kelly, Peel’s Andy Crennell and James Maginn of St Mary’s. 

Once the Saints began to play football, a lot of their best moves went through Maginn who also played a key role early on to break up the Rushen attacks. 

Crennell was arguably the westerners’ best player, remaining calm on the ball while looking to create opportunities for his side, while Kelly produced a highly-impressive battling performance in midfield and was often first to the ball for the Tangerines. 

Leading the line in a two-man attack are Rushen’s Furo Davies and Ayre United’s Johnny Shields. 

Davies proved to be the match winner for the Spaniards when, having already scored in the first half, he popped up with a 90th minute strike to seal Rushen’s place in the final, while Shields produced a busy first-half display for Ayre before moving effectively into the back four in the second half, limiting the chances for the lively Tomas Brown. 

Junior football results from March 22-24
Junior football results from March 22-24 (-)

Claiming the refereeing honours this week is Darren Flanagan who did a fine job with the whistle to keep the game between Ayre v Peel very much under control.