Football semi-finals down for decision this weekend

Senior and Intermediate Football Championship semi-finals at Dunsilly

Geordie McGuckian previews this weekend’s games and makes his predictions

All roads will lead to Dunsilly at the week-end with a bumper attendance anticipated for the semi finals of both the OB Construction Intermediate and the Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championships which are down for decision

Saturday hosts the semi-finals of an intermediate game at 1.00pm with the senior event to follow later in the evening timed for a 5.00pm throw in.

The programme continues on Sunday with the second intermediate game scheduled at 1.00pm, with the senior game following at 5.00pm.

Saturday 24thSeptember

OB Construction Intermediate Football Championship semi-final 1.00pm

Con Magees Glenravel v Patrick Sarsfield’s

Con Magee’s Glenravel and Patrick Sarsfield’s meet in the first semi-final of the Intermediate Football Championship at Dunsilly and like all the weekend games, this one should be close and keenly contested.

All Saints had been fancied by some to go all the way in this competition but in the event they found Glenravel too hot to handle in the quarter-final.

The Glensmen took time to settle in that one with All Saint’s making the early running but in the event the Con Magees, aided by a strong rear guard in which Cathal Hynds and Niall Swann led by example took control.

Eamon Fyffe caused problems for the All Saint’s defence throughout finishing with an impressive 0-07 and the Glensmen, who have clearly benefited from their under-20 championship success from last season will start this one as slight favourites.

Sarsfield’s have slipped under the radar to gain their place in Saturday’s semi-final but the Bear Pit residents are undoubtedly there on merit.

The Paddies topped their group in the qualifying round unbeaten and although they looked up against it when they met near neighbours St Paul’s in the quarter final, they came through that one with flying colours.

The experience of former St Gall’s and Antrim great Terry O’ Neill at the helm ensures that they are more than ready for their quarter-final test and a Thomas  Skillen goal set them on the way to a comprehensive victory.

They pushed on to win convincingly with a Gary Lennon goal and a clutch of Caolan McKernan points led them to an impressive 2-21 to 1-11 victory.

This does look a close one and although the verdict is more than difficult to call a tentative vote is awarded to the Glensmen.

Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship (semi-final) 5.00pm

Kickham’s Creggan v Erin’s Own Cargin

This first senior championship semi-final is certain to attract a big attendance to the Antrim venue as near neighbours and close rivals Cargin and Creggan cross swords in search of a place in the 2022 county final.

Kickham’s, after more than a few years of knocking firmly on the championship door really got it together last term and after a deserved victory over their neighbours in the semi-final they went on to take the title.

The Toome side are likely to be still smarting from last year’s defeat and will be keen to gain revenge and under the guiding hand of new manager, Ronan Devlin and his assistants Fabien Muldoon and Kevin Doyle seem to be running into form at just the right stage of the season.

Cargin stuttered during the group stages, suffering defeat to Rossa in the last game but they returned strongly with an impressive win over Lamh Dhearg in the quarter-final at Saturday’s venue.

Creggan did not impress in the group stages either but came through a stiff test in their quarter final against Rossa in awful playing conditions at St. Enda’s

Creggan are likely again to be without mid-fielder, Conor McCann but long time injury victims, Liam Quinn and Conor Small are back in the panel.

Cargin too have had their injury problem’s this season but welcomed Michael Mc Cann and James Laverty back for their quarter-final win over Lamh Dhearg and both men are vital performers for Erin’s Own.

A close one very much in prospect and this one could go either way with just a tentative vote awarded to the Erin’s Own.

Sunday 25th September

OB Construction intermediate Football Championship (semifinal) 1.00pm

Cuchullian’s Dunloy v Michael Davitt’s

Reigning Senior Hurling Champions Dunloy are one step away from a place in this year’s IFC final as they face Michael Davitt’s in this semi-final at Dunsilly.

Dunloy looked good in the group stages but faced a tough test when they faced former first division side St James in the quarter final in Crumlin.

St. James’ led for most of the way with Seamus Mc Garry impressive in leading the home side’s line and the Cuchullian’s were forced to dig deep in the latter stages.

Character was required and in the event delivered with dual star Nigel Elliot and Anthony Smith supplying late points to see them over the line.

Davitt’s, have mixed the good with the mediocre this season and led division 2 early in the season but are sometimes hampered by the unavailability of key players.

They have reached the latter stages of the IFC fully on merit however and opened with a win over Rasharkin down in Dreen in the group stages before qualifying for the semi-final with an excellent victory over the previously undefeated Glenavy up at Chapel Hill.

Glenavy were favourites to gain the semi berth in that one but in the event goals from Tony Mc Grattan and Marcus Toner laid the foundations for a 2-09 to o-12 win for the West Belfast side.

Dunloy will start this one as firm favourites but much will hinge on the availability of key players for the Lower Falls side and although the in-form Davitt’s will ask them questions the Cuchullian’s may well provide all the answers.

Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship

Roger Casement’s v St Mary’s Aghagallon (semi final) 5.00pm

This semi-final meeting of Casement’s Portglenone and St Mary’s Aghagallon is a repeat of last year’s semi-final when this duo met at the same venue with a place in the decider at stake.

Aghagallon booked their place in the final on that occasion and although the St Mary’s men lost out to the hot favourites Kickham’s in the final they will be keen to gain another final appearance.

Casement’s have impressed this term under John McKeever, cruising through their championship games to date without much trouble but they are likely to face a much stiffer test on Saturday.

Aghagallon struggled for much of the season with much of their side missing through injury or a Summer sebbaticle in America and as a result struggled in the league and now face a relegation-promotion play-off against All Saints but with nearly all the missing back in action they have again impressed in the championship.

They recorded a good win over St. Brigid’s in the quarter-final and will be confident that they can repeat last year’s result against Sunday’s opponents.

John Mc Keever’s men will start this one as slight favourites and they may well make progress to reach a much sought after county final place but St Mary’s may well pose questions aplenty to the ambitious Bannsider’s.

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