Junior Football Championship Preview
The Junior Football Championship kicks the weekend’s Championship action of on Thursday night with the meeting of Sarsfield’s and Pearse’s at Rossa Park while St. Agnes take on St. Patrick’s Lisburn at Pairc MnicDhomhaill.
Sarsfield’s v Pearse’s
Sarsfield’s will start this one as firm favourites having already claimed the Division 3 League title and hammering second place O’Donnell’s in the opening game of this year’s Junior Football Championship. They are a strong outfit with few weaknesses and in Darrach McGuinness, Niall McAlea, Kevin McKernan, Niall McKenna and Gerard Lennon they have top class players.
McKenna is a doubt after sustaining a hand injury in his side’s win over St. Enda’s in the Intermediate Hurling Championship but even without him the ‘Paddies’ will start as odds on favourites against a Pearse’s side making their Championship debut after being awarded a walk over when Mitchell’s were unable to field in the previous round.
We have to look at the Division 3 League for some sort of form on Na Piarsaigh. They won 7 of their 18 starts but, perhaps significantly one of those wins was against Sarsfield’s in Round 2.That was the only league defeat the ‘Paddies’ suffered and in the reverse Fixture Sarsfield’s revenged that defeat, scoring 6-12 in the process. There are no certainties in Championship football and Pearse’s will look to that early season win over the league champions for inspiration but it’s hard to see anything other than a Sarsfield’s win.
St. Agnes v St. Patrick’s Lisburn
This one looks a bit more difficult to call. St. Agnes came out top in a bruising battle with Ballycastle in the last round and were quite impressive in that outing. Goalkeeper, Colm Carroll pulled off a couple of excellent saves with James Grieve, Ronan Carroll and Conor Caldwell strong in defence. Conal Turley and Conor Gilligan are strong at mid-field and John McCafferty, Cormac Flannery and Declan McLarnon provide a threat in attack.
St. Patrick’s Lisburn defeated St. Malachy’s by three points in the last round and look a useful side on their day. They finished fourth in Division 3 this year with 11 wins and a draw from 18 starts beating St. Agnes both home and away and by virtue of those wins will carry the favourites tag into Thursday’s game. Burns, O’Mally and Casey are strong defenders and fay and Torbitt form a strong mid-field. They will look to McMullan, McMeel and Taggart in attack for scores and get a tentative nod to advance.
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