Football Championship quarter-finals this weekend

The football championship moves to the knockout stages this weekend with the quarter finals of the senior, intermediate, and the junior grades.

Games get under way on Friday night to start the ball rolling, and there are games to follow on both Saturday, and Sunday.

Friday 8thth September

Northern Switchgear Senior Football Championship


Lamh Dhearg v Cuchullian’s Dunloy (Dunsilly One) 7.00pm

Dunloy have made the public sit up and take notice with a win over St Gall’s and a narrow loss to Creggan in the group stages and the reigning Intermediate champions will hope to go one further when they face Lamh Dhearg in Friday night’s quarter-final.

Lamh Dhearg have impressed in their championship journey to date and they remain unbeaten in the group stages following wins over Ahoghill, Casement’s and St Enda’s and they will go into this one as firm favourites.

The Hannahstown men came from off the pace to gain victories over Ahoghill and were most impressive in a six point win over league champions, Portglenone.

Dunloy have certainly bucked the trend as they were relegated from division 2 of the football league but with quite a number of their senior hurlers fielding in the football championship they have been most impressive.

A win away to St. Gall’s and a narrow defeat to Creggan in a three team group saw them advance to the quarter-finals and while they will again start as underdogs no one should rule them out.

The Hannahstown side have strong and experienced performers in Marc Jordan, Declan Lynch, Eoin Mc Keown, Conor Murray and Paddy Cunningham while Dunloy will look to players like Eoin McFerran, Conor Kinsella, Deaglan Smith, Keelan Molloy, Coby Cunning and Seaan Elliot as they attempt to cause another upset.

Sat 9th September

Kickham’s Creggan v Casement’s Portglenone (Dunsilly One) 4.00pm

The 2021 champions Kickham’s Creggan took a time to get going this term, languishing nearer the bottom of the league for a period as they attempted to cope with a lengthy injury list.

Things have improved however as most of those injured player have slowly returned and the Kickham’s could be running into form just at the right stage of the season.

They opened their championship account with a win over the visiting St Gall’s and followed that up with victory over Dunloy at Pearse Park to top their group.

On Saturday they face what could be their toughest test to date when they take on League Champions, Portglenone at Dunsilly.

Martin and Conor Small have returned to the Creggan lineout while Aidan and Sam Maguire, Ruairi McCann, Odran McLarnon, Paddy Coey and the Johnston brothers, Martin and Ricky are players who have seen it all before.

Casement’s lost to Lamh Dhearg in the group stages but recovered to beat St. Enda’s and Ahoghill and they will look to player like Paddy Kelly, Oisin Doherty, Ciaran Tierney, Oran McGarry, Michael Hagan and the Delargy brothers as they attempt to overcome the Kickham’s.

This one could go either way but a tentative nod goes to the Kickham’s.

Sunday 10th September

Erin’s Own Cargin v St Mary’s Aghagallon (Hannahstown) 1.30 pm

This one is a repeat of last year’s decider when Cargin had to dig deep to earn victory over Aghagallon at Corrigan Park and this pairing will likely attract a big crowd to Hannahstown.

Cargin have impressed in their passage through the group stages and were undefeated and never looked in trouble with wins over Rossa, Tir na nOg and St. Johns.

Aghagallon lost their opening game to the visiting St Brigid’s and had to dig deep to get the better of Moneyglass at Marian Hill to secure a quarter-final spot.

Cargin have seasoned campaigners in John McNabb, Tomas Mc Cann, Paul McCann, Kevin O’ Boyle, Justin Crozier and Pat Shivers and will hope that Jamie Gribbin, John Carron and Michael McCann have recovered from injury.

Aghagallon came away from Toome with a league win early in the season and they will travel in confidence with the likes of Adam Loughran, Ruairi Mc Cann, Eunan Walsh Jamie Lamont and Jack Lenaghan expected to lead the charge.

This may well be a close encounter but if the Toome men can field near strength they should gain the verdict.

St Brigid’s v O’ Donovan Rossa (Corrigan Pk) 4.00 pm

The last quarter final is an all Belfast contest as O’Donovan Rossa take on St Brigid’s at Corrigan Park.

Rossa picked up a couple of wins in their group with victories over St John’s and Tir na nOg but lost to Cargin in their opening game. St Brigid’s have impressed in the group stages with wins away to Aghagallon and at home to Moneyglass and the Musgrave Park side will fancy their chances of gaining a place in the semi-finals.

Hugh Mc Gettigan’s Rossa are a solid side and in Stephen Beatty, Dominic Mc Enhill, Richard Gowdy, Chris Mc Guinness and Cormac McGettigan they have excellent players.

St Brigid’s have certainly improved this season with a number of former Lavey players in their ranks while Joseph Finnegan, Jack Dowling, Ronan Boyle and Peter King are all polished performers on their day

A close one is on the cards but although St. Brigid’s will give it a real lash Rossa have a seasoned panel and may well advance.

O B Construction Intermediate Football Championship Quarter-Finals

Friday 8th September

All Saint’s Ballymena v Kickham’s Ardoyne (Quinn Pk) 7.00pm

All Saints have enjoyed a descent season to date and have home advantage of their floodlit Quinn Park for this quarter final as North Belfast based Kickham’s Ardoyne visit Ballymena with the prize on offer for the winner a place in the semi-finals.

The Ballymena men haven’t set the world alight in the league and were most fortunate to beat Friday night’s opponents in Ballymena at the start of the season with a late Ronan McKillop goal earning them the win. They have performed well in a three team championship group with a draw away to Aldergrove and they put a huge score up in a victory over St Comgall’s to top their group.

Cal O’ Brien, Mal Downey, Ronan Mc Killop, and Connell Lennon were the main contributors in a 9-17 to 0-11 winning tally while Ryan Stewart, Sean McVeigh, James and Benny McDonnell, Sean O’Callaghan are other players that can swing this one All Saints way

North Belfast based Kickham’s Ardoyne have greatly improved this term under the guidance of former Cargin player, Marty Clarke, They have strong performers in Conor McLaughlin, Kevin Lynch, the McNeill brothers, Cormac Mullan and Oisin McVicker and they will travel to Ballymena in the knowledge that they are capable of causing an upset but home advantage may swing it All Saints way.

Saturday 9th September

Con Magees Glenravel v Gort na Mona

It has been a good year for Con Magees who can look forward to a place in the top division next term having gained promotion from division 2 and will be one of the favourites for the Intermediate title.

The Glensmen have made great progress this term and they impressed in their last game in the group stages with a big win over division 3 side, Pearses.

Aiden O’ Donnell two early goals set the trend for than one, and with Sean Mc Kay, Rian Lennon, and Eamon Ward to the fore they were on the way to the quarter finals.

Gort na Mona had an indifferent league campaign but have saved their best for the championship and they came from off the pace to share the spoils with Glenavy last time out to earn a quarter-final place.

An injury time point from full forward Padraig Mc Hugh earned the Gorts a share of the spoils and they will look to the likes of McHugh, Christopher Carson, Thomas Mc Caffrey, ‘Diesel’ Boyd and the talented Dessie McClean as they attempt to overcome the considerable challenge of the Con Magee’s

Home advantage will see Glenravel start as firm favourites and they should gain the verdict and a place in the semis.

St Teresa’s v St James Aldergrove

This could be a close one as St Teresa’s play hosts to St James Aldergrove with home advantage certainly putting the former champions in with a shout.

St Teresa’s defeated Ardoyne in the group stages and came strong away to Naomh Padraig Lisburn to seal their place in the quarter finals with a couple of goals from replacement Robert Gallagher earning the victory.

Aldergrove have impressed on their way to the quarter finals, unbeaten under the watchful eye of Mark Dougan and came from six down to draw with All Saints in Crumlin with Seamus McGarry leading the comeback with a number of inspirational scores.

St. Teresa’s are not easy beaten at McDonnell/Doherty Park but although the home side may give them a run for their money, the Aldergrove men are awarded the vote.

Patrick Sarsfield’s v St Paul’s (Bear Pit) 4.00pm

This all Belfast derby sees near neighbours and close rivals St Paul’s and Sarsfield’s meet at the Bear Pit to determine who will progress to the semi-final of the Intermediate championship.

The sides met in the Intermediate hurling championship at the same venue, just over a week ago with St. Paul’s coming from seven down to win that one with a goal from a last minute free.

Sarsfield’s have impressed in both of their group games with wins over Gort na Mona and Glenavy and ground advantage may well give them advantage as St. Paul’s make the short journey again in the football championship.

St Paul’s earned passage to the quarter final stages with a one point win over Michael Davitt’s at Davitt’s Park last time and will look to Stephen Rooney, Marca Munce, Liam McLarnon, James Farrell and Sean McCrory to lead their challenge.

Sarsfields have strong campaigners in duel star Niall McKenna, the McKernan’s, Niall McAlea and Gary Lennon and this one could be feisty but ground advantage may prove the difference to tip the balance in favour of the Paddies.

Graham Tarmac Junior Football Championship

Friday 8th September

Laochra Loch Lao v St Malachy’s (Colaiste Feriste) 7.00 pm

Laochra Loch Lao have shown great progress this year with former St. Gall’s keeper, Paddy Murray at the helm and qualified for this quarter-final with wins over Eire Og and St. Agnes last day out.

St. Malachy’s have struggled this season but they did record an away win to Ballycastle in day one, the only game that the McQuillan’s fielded in but recent results would suggest a Laochra win.

Wolfe Tones v Eire Og (Valley Park Newtownabbey) 7.00 pm

Newly formed Wolfe Tonnes recorded their first championship win when they defeated St. Malachy’s at Hightown and finished second in their group to Rasharkin after Ballycastle failed to field

This looks like a tougher one for the Tonnes but with a passionate crowd likely to be there to drive them on at Valley Parade they can give Eire Og a run for their money.

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