The Final Date for the Football Leagues and Questions Remain
Sunday sees the last scheduled date for the football leagues and although the destination of the silverware in each of the divisions has been determined issues do remain to be resolved in both the first and second division.
There is obviously no relegation in the third division and the winner and runners up spots have been determined so any further games therein are of academic interest.
In the first division, and although they have one further fixture awaiting at Hannahstown, Cargin cannot be caught at the top and the Eddie Fitzsimmons memorial trophy will remain in Toome for another term.
Creggan, St John’s, and St Gall’s remain 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively prior to their Sunday assignments but irrespective of the results in those games together with Cargin they will occupy seeded positions in the draw for the 2018 senior championship.
As for the relegation issue in the top division there is a question to be answered and such will be determined after the completion of the last round.
St Paul’s are berthed at the bottom of the table and the Shaw’s road side, despite a few excellent returns this term will return to the second division in 2018.
As to which team will accompany the gallant St Paul’s on the downward journey has yet to be determined with only a couple of points separating Casement’s who are top of the B section ratings and Ahoghill who are second from bottom, ensures nothing will be decided until the final blast in all of Sunday’s games.
St Mary’s Ahoghill seem in a precarious situation as they travel to Aldergrove and anything less than a win at Crumlin would banish the Clooney men to the second division in the season ahead.
If Ahoghill gain victory at Aldergrove the relegation issue would depend on score difference and although the Crumlin men do have a slightly better margin than their visitors there is little in it.
Rossa are also much too close to the brink for comfort and berthed on eleven points just one ahead of the Clooney men if they lose out to the visiting St Teresa’s the goings on at Crumlin will have them nervously scanning the result.
St Teresa’s who are on twelve points cannot afford to relax at the Shaw’s road assignment either even though the Glen road men do have a superior score difference.
Casement’s look well clear of any relegation issues and the Bannsider’s have such a superior score difference to the rest of the teams in the B section the result of their game with St Pauls will not make any difference to standings.
In the second division Chapel Hill residents St Joseph’s Glenavy are home and hosed and are the second division champions for 2017.
St Ergnat’s Moneyglass are holding second place at present and if they can gain the points at the expense of the visiting St Enda’s on Sunday they will have secured a place in the top grade 2018.
The Marian Hill side hold a three point lead over their third placed visitors and although the Glengormley men have a game in hand on their hosts anything other than an away win will end their hopes on promotion.
The relegation issue in the second grade also remains to be resolved and although Ardoyne are set to take the downward trail as the North Belfast side return to basement level in 2018 the question remains as to which side will accompany the Kickham’s men, with St Comgall’s and Michael Davitt’s involved.
Antrim based St Comgall’s are on the road up to Belfast on Sunday and they need a full return with their assignment at Ardoyne if they are to maintain hopes of second division fare in 2018.
Michael Davitt’s are a point ahead of the South West side at present and the Twinbrook side can retain status with one win from their remaining two fixtures.
Davitt’s are away to Cuchullian’s Dunloy on Sunday and a win there would guarantee survival irrespective of the St Comgall’s Ardoyne affair and they will have another chance on Wednesday evening next as they play hosts to All Saint’s.
In division three Patrick Sarsfield’s, the pick of all of the pundits proved worthy favourites as they breasted the winning line to claim the division three title and indeed the Stewartstown Road men are strong favourites to complete the double in the Junior championship following Friday night’s resounding win over O’Donnell’s.
Despite that defeat O’ Donnell’s celebrated an excellent 2017 campaign as they took second place and the greater prize of promotion for the Mc Crory Park residents.