Northern Switchgear SFC quarter-finals Previews

The Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship has reached the quarter-final stage after an intriguing series of games and the meeting of Kickhams Creggan and St. Enda’s tomorrow at Dunsilly and Lamh Dhearg and Aghagallon at Corrigan Park is sure to attract a lot of interest.

The quarter-final series continues on Tuesday night when reigning champions, Erin’s Own Cargin face Rossa under the lights at Ahoghill and St. Gall’s take on Casement’s Portglenone at Dunsilly.

Kickham’s Creggan v St. Enda’s (Sunday 2-00 Dunsilly)

Kickham’s Creggan have mixed the bad with the good before emerging strongly from Group 1 as group leaders. An opening day win over Portglenone at Kelly Park and a win over Ahoghill on the Staffordstown Road seemed to have them in pole position.

Ahoghill had opened brightly with a home win against the Ports and the Bannsiders looked in serious trouble and on their way out of the championship but Portglenone rallied and wins over the Cloney men in Portglenone and an impressive win away to Creggan turned the group on its head.

Portglenone were now top of the group but Creggan rallied in their final game to record a big win over St. Mary’s in Ahoghill to top the group and now face St. Enda’s at Dunsilly.

The swings and roundabouts theme continued in Group 4 with St. Enda’s travelling to Milltown and raising a few eyebrows as they came with a late rally to defeat St. Gall’s. The withdrawel of Gort na Mona following a Covid 19 incident within the club meant that a home win or a draw would send St. Enda’s through as group leaders.

The sleeping giant had been awakened however as St. Gall’s travelled to Hightown on Wednesday night determined to chastise the young pretenders and they duly delivered in a sometimes tempestuous contest. St. Gall’s ran out winners by three points but St. Enda’s will hopefully have learned from the experience.

Ricky and Martin Johnston, Conor McCann, Kevin Rice, Kevin Small, Paddy Cooey, Tiernan McAteer, Finton Burke and Conor Og McCann will carry the Creggan fight at Dunsilly but they have been missing the influence of Conor Small up front due to injury.

St. Enda’s were without Michael Morgan from mid-field against St. Gall’s and his physical presence was missed against a robust Gall’s unit and they will be hoping to have him back for tomorrow’s game.

James McAuley, Kristan and Peter Healey, Odhran Eastwood, Ruairi Scott and Ethan Gibson will carry the St. Enda’s challenge in what should be an interesting contest that could go either way depending on what Creggan and St. Enda’s side turns up.

Swings and roundabouts! You decide.

Lamh Dhearg v Aghagallon (Sunday 2-00 Corrigan Park)

Lamh Dhearg emerged as winners of Group 2 with Rossa finishing second and St. John’s in third place and out of the championship. Aghagallon managed six points from six starts in Group 3 where Erin’s Own, Cargin were the dominant force but the St. Mary’s side turned in creditable performance against the Toome side, both home and away despite losing both games.

The Hannastown side suffered their only defeat on Wednesday night at home to Rossa while Aghagallon lost away to Aldergrove on the same night but nobody’s reading too much into either of these defeats. Both had already qualified and with tomorrow’s game on the horizon the focus, both sides fielded skeleton squads and those respective team-sheets are likely to see massive changes for tomorrow’s Corrigan encounter.

Lamh Dhearg came mighty close to tumbling champions Cargin last year in a finalthat needed a replay to decide and will start tomorrow’s game as firm favourites but they face at St. Mary’s team who have shown steady progress over the last number of years and will fancy their chances of causing an upset.

It’s very much a case of youth versus experience with John Finucane, Declan Lynch, Michael Herron, Conor and Ryan Murray, Paddy Cunningham and Co having experienced it all before and the Lamh’s have been boosted this year by the return of Brendan Herron after a number of years in exile in Derry.

Aghagallon are backboned by players who won an U21 title a few years back and the majority of those players are now regulars in a potent senior side. Luke Mulholland, Daniel Donnelly, Jamie Lamont, Patrick Branagan, Eunan Walsh, Adam Loughran, Ruairi McCann and Marc McAfee will carry the St. Mary’s hopes while Gareth Magee can be a match winning forward on his day.

Aghagallon will give it everything and if they can get off to a good start then they might not be far away but the greater experience and physicality of a Lamh Dhearg side who have been performing impressively this year should carry the day.

We will carry previews of Cargin v Rossa and St. Gall’s v Portglenone later in the week

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