GYMCO Junior Football Championship semi-final
Na Piarsaigh v Naomh Comhghall
After what seems like an eternity the Junior Football Championship gets under way again with the second semi-final scheduled for Slemish Park, Ballymena on Saturday. Kickham’s Ardoyne have already qualified for the final a number of weeks ago with a win over Ballycastle but Naomh Comhghall’s meeting with Na Piarsaigh was postponed following a protest from O’Donnell’s.
I’m not going to go into the details of that protest in this preview but it appears to have been resolved and so it is St. Comgall’s v Pearses this Saturday with a place against Ardoyne the prize for the eventual winners.
Na Piarsaigh topped a Group 1 which included McQuillan’s, Ballycastle, St. Agnes, Laochra Loch Lao and St. Malachy’s recording three wins from four starts to finish level with McQuillan’s but claimed top spot because of the head to head rule.
Naomh Comghgall enjoyed mixed fortunes in Group 2 beating O’Donnell’s in round 1 before suffering a heavy defeat to Ardoyne in round 2. They got back on track with a resounding win over Eire Og on day three of the qualifiers before a facile victory over Mitchells in round four.
Na Piarsaigh’s only defeat came to St. Agnes back on the 12th August but they have impressed in wins over McQuillan’s, St. Malachy’s and Laochra Loch Lao and will go into Saturday’s semi-final with confidence.
Eamon McKenna has been solid in goals and Frankie Davison, Paddy Nolan and Luca Gianetto have been sound in defence for the Belfast men. Tom McFarlane and Cormac O’Neill form a strong mid-field while Piaras Donaghy, Sean Moreland, Liam Deegan and Oisin Grew can be relied on for scores.
Naomh Comghgall manager Adrian Dougan will look to the likes of Miles Devine, Paddy O’Connor, Ruairi Griffin, Dylan Murdock, Louis Higgins, Colm Griffin, Tom Patchett, Joe Webb, Caolan McKeown and Patrick Quinn and the Antrim town mentor will be hoping that the break from play will not have disrupted his side’s momentum.
Verdict: Both sides are capable of putting up big scores on their day but St. Comhghall’s have been knocking at the championship door for a while and may just edge a tight contest.