No room for error as football championship qualifiers reach conclusion

Football Championship fixtures and previews

Sunday October 3d

By Geordie McGuckian

A busy week-end of football championship games with fixtures in under-age at under-15, 17, as well as under-20 scheduled.

The final round of the championship is scheduled for Sunday in all grades, Senior, Intermediate, and Junior.

Senior Football Championship (all games 2.00pm)

Group One

Erin’s Own Cargin v St John’s

St John’s were the last side to inflict defeat on Cargin in the championship when they claimed the verdict over the Toome men after a replay back in 2017 and the Corrigan men will travel to Toome in hope of a repeat performance.

The city men are involved in a duel with near neighbours Rossa to gain a place in the quarter final stages and a win or even a draw at the Shore Road venue would ensure such is delivered.

Cargin remain unbeaten in the championship this term and their wins to date include a win over St. John’s up at Corrigan Park and although the visitors will give it everything Damian Cassidy’s men should retain their unbeaten tag.

St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v O’ Donovan Rossa

Moneyglass, the current Intermediate title holders have found the going tough enough in the senior championship to date.

St Ergnat’s endured a nightmare start to their campaign but recent games would suggest they are gaining in confidence and although progress to the next phase is beyond them they are capable of posing Rossa problems.

The feel good factor is certain to be evident in the Rossa camp after their impressive win over Cushendall on Sunday last ensured a place in the Senior Hurling final and positivity will abound as they visit the South West.

The Shaw’s road side can gain a place in the next phase of the football championship but rely on results elsewhere. If events go their way and the Johnnies lose to Cargin then a win at Marian Hill by the right margin can see the Shaw’s Road side advance on score difference.

Group Two

Casement’s Portglenone v St Mary’s Ahoghill

This one has the potential to be ‘match of the day’ as Casement’s play hosts to near neighbours St Mary’s Ahoghill with a place in the quarter finals at stake.

In a group of three St Brigid’s have already made the last eight with wins over Casement’s and Ahoghill at Musgrave Park and a draw in Ahoghill so a draw on Sunday would be enough to see St. Mary’s advance while a home win would ensure Portglenone a quarter-final place

A close one is in prospect and this one could go either way but although Casement’s are likely to miss the services of Dermot Mc Aleese, ground advantage will ensure they will start as favourites but this one could go either way.

Group Three

Lamh Dhearg v St James Aldergrove

Having already acquired eight points and a place in the quarter finals Lamh Dhearg will travel to Crumlin as firm favourites to win this one.

Aldergrove have no points to date and while they will give this one their best effort an away win is firmly anticipated.

St Mary’s Aghagallon v St Enda’s Glengormley

This has the potential to be another cracker as St Enda’s travel to Aghagallon with the victors assured of a place in the quarter finals.

Aghagallon endured an indifferent league campaign but, like their visitors they have impressed in the championship, helped by the return of their county contingent.

St Mary’s recorded a good win when they visited Hightown back in August and with ground advantage will start Sunday’s game as favourites.

This one will certainly attract a good attendance and although it could be close and fiercely  contested, Aghagallon are given the nod.

Group Four

Kickham’s Creggan v Gort na Mona

Having already gained a place in the quarter finals, last year’s beaten finalists Kickham’s Creggan are tipped to end their campaign with a victory as Gort na Mona visit the Staffordstown Road.

The Gorts have found the going tough in the championship to date and although they will not be lacking in effort it is difficult to envisage anything other than a home win.

Intermediate Football Championship

Group One

All Saint’s Ballymena v Con Magees Glenravel

All Saint’s lead the way in this group but the Ballymena men cannot afford to rest on their laurels as their neighbours Glenravel visit Slemish Park. The home side are a couple of points ahead of their neighbours and the Con Magee’s would need to win by a big margin to gain a place in the semi-finals.

Glenravel travel with an inferior score difference to their hosts but the Glensmen are in touching distance should Tir na nOg slip up and they will travel with victory in mind.

A draw or even a narrow defeat would be enough to see All Saints advance to the semi-finals and ground advantage may well tip the balance in favour of the home side.

Tir na nOg Randalstown v Kickham’s Ardoyne

League winners Tir na nOg are still very much in trail of the double and a win over visiting Ardoyne should confirm their place in the semi-finals but they will be keeping a firm eye on the game in Ballymena.

Nothing is certain, but the Whitehill men will enter the fray in this one carrying the favourites tag and victory looks likely to assure a place in the semi-finals.

St Teresa’s v Michael Davitt’s

Nothing at stake in this one except pride with a place in the next phase out of reach for both St Teresa’s and their visitors from Davitt’s with a win for the Glen road men anticipated.

Group Two

St Paul’s v St Patrick’s Lisburn

With Sarsfield’s top of the group on six points and a more than healthy score difference over the chasing pack the Paddies look certain to take their place in the semis and the race for second place involves St Paul’s and Dunloy.

St Paul’s will start as favourites as they play hosts to Lisburn St Patrick on a slightly inferior scoring difference to Dunloy and they will be aiming to record a big winning margin and hoping that Glenavy can challenge Dunloy.

Cuchullian’s Dunloy v St Joseph’s Glenavy

Dunloy, like St. Paul’s remain in firm contention for a place in the semi-finals and they will be more than aware that score difference may well come into play to determine who secures the second qualification place.

Glenavy have endured a poor season to date and unless improvement is forthcoming the St Joseph’s men may well struggle to gain the verdict in this one with a Dunloy win the likely outcome.

Junior Football Championship

Group One

Cardinal O’ Donnell’s v Wolfe Tones

This one is a dead rubber as Wolfe Tones visit  Mc Crory. With neither side having won to date pride is the only prize on offer and the points at stake should be gained by the home side.

Laochra Loch Lao v St Comgall’s Antrim

Early league leaders, St Comgall’s failed to deliver the league title and Adrian Dougan’s charges are hoping to make amends in the championship.

Naomh Comhghall have impressed to date and they are expected to gain the verdict and a place in the semi-finals.

Laochra Loch Lao have shown improvement this term with a couple of wins to date but this the Antrim town side should win this one.

Group Two

St Malachy’s v Eire Og

This is another game with nothing but pride at stake as St Malachy’s play hosts to Eire Og with a place in the semis out of reach for both sides.

St Malachy’s, having failed to win in championship this term may well break their duck on this occasion.

Mc Quillan’s Ballycastle v St Mary’s Rasharkin

St Mary’s Rasharkin have enjoyed a positive campaign to date with a place in the semi-finals already acquired and will travel with confidence.

Ballycastle have recorded a single win to date at the expense of St. Malachy’s and will struggle to get anything from this one and a win for the Dreen men looks likely.

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