Gregory O’Kane’s men top the Division 1 table after eight games
Cuchullain’s Dunloy are setting the early pace in Division 1 this year and look like the side most likely to break the dominance of Loughgiel and Cushendall who have been front runners in the league in recent years but both are still well placed should Dunloy slip up in the coming weeks.
After seven rounds Dunloy top the table on 12 points with six wins and two draws, those draws coming against the Shamrocks and the Ruairi Ogs. On Sunday they recorded another good win over Down side Ballygalget and with an U21 title already in the trophy cabinet they will be hoping that their first Senior title for quite a while is on its way.
Three points behind, but with a game in hand come Cushendall and the Ruairi Og must be applauded for their decision to fulfil fixtures without their County players in recent weeks and that decision has been vindicated as they have recorded fine wins over Ballygalget and, on Sunday over St. Brigid’s Cloughmills.
Loughgiel, on the same points as the Ruairi Ogs but with a game more played, recorded an easier than expected victory over O’Donovan Rossa at Healey Park on Sunday and the 19 point margin of victory will have raised a few eyebrows so the early indications are that the league winners will come from these three.
Down clubs Ballycran and Ballygalget come close behind with Ballycran on eight points from six starts but their 11 point reverse in Dunloy on Sunday won’t have done their confidence much good while Ballygalget’s win over Ballycastle would suggest that both sides are a different proposition for teams travelling to the ‘Ards’.
At the other end of the table St. Brigid’s Cloughmills have been finding life extremely tough in their first season in the premier grade and are pointless after seven rounds while Ballycastle are just above them with just two points but the McQuillan’s have only five games played. Rossa are presently on four points but they too have only played five games.
In Division 2 it is the other side from the Ards, Portaferry who have set the early pace and their nine point winning margin over Cloney Gaels at Cloney on Saturday evening suggest that they will be the side to beat, the Down side sitting proudly at the top of the table with full points from seven starts.
St. John’s look to be their greatest threat, their only reverse coming at the hands of Portaferry at Corrigan in Round four but they have recorded massive scores in their other outings and they continued in that fine vein of form when they travelled to Carey on Sunday and hit 5-12 against Cathaoir an Ri who could only manage 1-8 in reply.
In Waterfoot Oisins held onto third place as they came from behind to defeat visitors St. Galls who are just two points further back with a game in hand on six points, the same as the Carey men but they have played a game more.
Tir Na nOg climbed away from the relegation zone with a five point win in Armoy over a Glen Rovers side who now find themselves a point behind the Whitehill side but with a game more played with Ghaeil Chluanaidh rooted to the bottom of the table after their reversal at the hands of Portaferry.
In Division 3 it’s another Down side, Carryduff who have set the early pace with 12 points from eight starts and they continued their good form with four goals to spare over visitors Lamh Dearg on Thursday night, the final score Carryduff 6-12 Lamh Dearg 2-12.
There’s a massive discrepancy in the number of games played in this division however and Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh who have ten points from six starts and Emmet’s Cushendun who have ten points from seven starts are both well placed with the Tyrone side in second place and the North Antrim side in third, separated only by point difference.
The Dungannon side recorded a big home win over visitors Shane O’Neill’s on Sunday while Cushendun had four points to spare over visitors Naomh Colum Cille. The eventual winners of this division could well come from further back in the chasing pack however with Sarsfield’s on full points from four starts and St. Enda’s on eight points from five both well placed.
Sarsfield’s recorded a big win over Bredagh on Sunday, St. Paul’s had seven points to spare at Glenravel, St. Teresa’s hammered basement club Loch Mo Dal gCais but perhaps the result of the day came from St. Mary’s Rasharkin who travelled to Belfast and defeated Gort Na Mona at Enright Park by two points. Creggan too look to be running into a bit of form after their 12 point win away to Lamh Dhearg on Sunday.