Under-21 semi-finals are down for decision
The under-21 football championships are approaching conclusion despite the less than favourable conditions, and aided by the floodlights and the artificial surfaces both the A and B competitions have reached the semi-final stages.
Three of the semis are down for decision this weekend with the game involving Dunloy and the defending champions Rossa fixed for Wed 12th December.
The Dunloy minor team is scheduled to participate in the Ulster Club minor championship on Sunday when they will meet up with the Derry representatives Bellaghy
Under-21 Football championship B semi-finals
Sat 8th Dec
All Saint’s Ballymena v St Ergnat’s Moneyglass (Crumlin) at 2.00pm
St Ergnat’s Moneyglass will enter this all South West affair as firm favourites if they can maintain the sort of form which saw them hold the very fancied Dunloy to a draw earlier in the competition as they cross swords with Ballymena based All Saint’s in this semi-final affair on the artificial surface at the Crumlin Leisure Centre. Dunloy did come late to gain the verdict in the replay at Clooney but the St Ergnat’s had done enough to suggest they will be real contenders in this section.
The Ballymena side took a time to get it together in the competition and they did finish ten points adrift of the Moneyglass lads in the opening phase of the competition.
All Saint’s did hint at improvement in their quarter-final win in the B competition when the passed the line with an eye catching 7-17 to 1-03 victory when they met up with St Joseph’s Glenavy.
Moneyglass will start as firm favourites to gain a place in the decider but passage against a seemingly improved Ballymena outfit may well have to be earned.
Lamh Dhearg v Con Magee’s Glenravel (Woodlands) at 3.30pm
Con Magees Glenravel enjoyed their trip to Belfast on their latest outing when the returned with passage gained by virtue of a 1-10 to 1-08 win secured over Gort na Mona.
That was a good return for the Glensmen and it underlines a fair record in the opening phase in which they secured a win over Aldergrove and although losing out to both Cargin and Tir na Nog in their group they gave good accounts in both.
Lamh Dearg struggled to make impact in their opening couple of games losing out to both Rossa and St Gall’s but the Hannahstown lads did look an improved outfit in their last couple of assignments.
They gave a good account in back to back games against last year’s champions and given passage to the semis on the withdrawal of St Enda’s they may well see this as an easier assignment.
This does look a close one which could go either way but the Hannahstown side may well gain the verdict.
Sunday 9th Dec
Under-21 Football Championship
Kickham’s Creggan v St Brigid’s (Creggan) at 2.30pm
St Brigid’s have impressed so far in this competition and the South Belfast side will carry the vote of many as they continue in pursuit of the under-21 title. They remain unbeaten to date and have accumulated a hefty 17-46 in their three games and will travel down to the South West and a visit to Creggan in a confident mode. They proved far too strong for the opposition encountered so far but this may well prove their toughest test against a Kickham’s side which has also impressed to date.
Creggan did start with honours even against Casement’s in round one in the first phase but in the event they were not to be troubled thereafter in that round finishing unbeaten in their other assignments.
Casement’s were also to make progress in similar fashion and in the event they destined to meet up again in what was to be a hugely enjoyable, exciting quarter final affair in which the Creggan men passed the finish line a couple of points ahead at 1-11 to 1-09 to gain the semi-final spot.
This does look an intriguing affair which is certain to attract a good crowd to the Staffordstown road arena.
Home advantage may just tip the scales in favour of the home side and although they will have to be at their best if able to field at full strength on the day Creggan may just gain the verdict.
Wed 12th Dec
Cuchullian’s Dunloy v O’ Donovan Rossa (Col Feiriste) at 8.00pm
Cuchullian’s Dunloy have impressed so far and they have carried the favourites tag in unerring fashion throughout the competition.
They started with an emphatic win gained over a fancied Aghagallon side and although seeming on the way to defeat when the trailed Moneyglass by ten points at the half way juncture in their third round assignment, their character was underlined when a storming second period recovery saw them claim an unlikely win.
They continued to impress in the quarter final striding over the Woodlands surface to earn a 3-14 to 0-13 win over St Gall’s and will take the city route again most likely in confidence with reigning champions Rossa awaiting.
Rossa did not look like reigning champions at the outset of the competition but the Shore Road men have certainly gained in improvement as they went along.
They only gained a single win in the opening phase but in their back to back ‘qualifier affairs’ against Lamh Dhearg they most definitely made improvement.
The opening game was close with Rossa completing at 2-10 to 1-11 before following with an improved 4-13 to 1-10 win second time around.
A quarter final win over a fancied Tir na Nog followed and underlined steady improvement within the ranks.
Dunloy will enter the game again burdened by the favourites tag but the Cuchullian’s do seem at ease in such climate and although the reigning champs will give them a run for their money they may well secure a final berth.