Normally this would be squeaky bum time in the championship - the second round of games either put you into the quarter-finals or knocked you out but in this year’s Connacht Gold Senior and Glenfarne Wood Products Intermediate Championships, very little will be settled in next weekend’s round of matches.
Team who won last weekend may almost certainly guarantee themselves a place in the Quarter-Finals with a second victory while teams who lost will be searching for a vital first win. But even if every team who won last weekend win next weekend, there will still be a lot at stake in the last round of games.
In many ways, it leaves an air of shadow boxing over the Senior competition in particular as neither Glencar/Manorhamilton or Melvin Gaels seemed overly inspired to go for the win last Saturday and indeed, both could lose next weekend and still qualify for the Quarter Finals if they won their last games.
Judging from reports, neither competition got off to a roaring start last weekend, the games intriguing rather than exciting and it was rather obvious that most of the County Senior footballers struggled to make the impact for their clubs that their talent would suggest that they are capable of.
But the longer the competition goes on and more intense it becomes, the standard should lift but by all accounts, the stalemate in Pairc Sean between last year’s Champions gives a fair idea of where the Fenagh Cup might be heading in 2012.
The Junior A Championship gets underway next weekend with only one first string outfit in Leitrim Gaels in the competition, The effects of emigration will be felt even more strongly in this grade but the Gaels open against a strong St. Mary’s second string, a match that will draw a lot of interest.
Below we take a brief look at the championships:
Carrigallen v Glencar/Manorhamilton: Carrigallen put up stern resistance against Mohill last Saturday but they face a more difficult task here, containing a Glencar/Manor team who have to win to ensure a place in the quarter-finals. The Champions were uncharacteristically cautious against Melvin Gaels but they will want to let their forwards have their head here. Their strength in depth should be a factor but they will be worried by the struggles of Darren Sweeney, still perhaps carrying an injury from the County scene. The need for a victory should concentrate minds and Manor should take a win here.
Mohill v Melvin Gaels: Victory here would put Mohill more or less into the quarter-finals and leave Melvin Gaels needing a win in the last game to advance. No more than Glencar/Manor, the Gaels will need to up their performance and look for a greater return from Emlyn Mulligan who, like a lot of his county colleagues, must have found it very hard to refocus for the clubs just a week after the run in the Qualifiers ended. The Gaels are capable of much more but Mohill will be a tough test. They were convincing winners over Carrigallen in a lackluster performance but they know that a win on Saturday will more or less guarantee their place in the quarter-finals. This will be a tight and traditionally Mohill have done well against the Kinlough men but the Gaels should have too much on this occasion.
St Mary’s Kiltoghert v Kiltubrid: Kiltubrid put up a big performance against Annaduff last weekend as they belied their League form with a battling display. But the Carrick men were solid and impressive against Ballinamore last Saturday, more comfortable than the score-line suggests. Their pace and organisation will make it difficult for the Kiltubrid men to cope and they should come through here.
Annaduff v Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s: difficult one to call here. Annaduff struggled more than you’d expect against Kiltubrid last Saturday but they still managed to record a good win. This will be a tough game but Ray Cox can expect to do well against a Ballinamore defence that needs to tighten up. Ballinamore have a nice spread of attacking talent but will need to pose more of a threat in front of goal if they are to prevail here. This will be a tight and tough battle but Ballinamore may just shade it after a tight encounter.
Aughawillan v Allen Gaels: Victory for either team in this game would go a long way to securing passage to the quarter-finals. The Gaels could have been a lot more convincing against Drumreilly but a slight improvement in accuracy allied to their impressive range of scorers makes them difficult opponents. Aughawillan will be a far tougher test, they showed typical spirit to recover from a halftime deficit against Bornacoola. This is almost too tight to call but the Gaels may just have an edge.
Bornacoola v Drumreilly: Drumreilly need a win to keep their hopes alive but already depleted badly by emigration, the dismissal of James Holohan will hit them incredibly hard. Drumreilly showed a lot of character to keep fighting and won’t be a pushover but Bornacoola have quite a deal of physical strength and this could prove vital against a light enough Drumreilly. Again, this will be tighter than you’d think with Division Two Bornacoola against Division One Drumreilly but the Bors look to have just enough to come through.
Fenagh St. Caillin’s v Glencar/Manorhamilton; St. Patrick’s Dromahair v Aughavas: A tough group to predict – Fenagh pushed a strong Dromahair well last Saturday and will need to get a win here to cement a place in the quarter-finals. Glencar/Manor will be disappointed by their narrow loss against Aughavas and an improvement in their defence may be just enough to see their higher scoring attack through. The other game will almost assure the winner of a place in the quarter-finals and Aughavas surprised everyone with their victory over Manorhamilton. They will need all of that strength to overcome a Fenagh side boasting quite a deal of talent. These two have always fought out some great battles but the north Leitrim men look too good in this one.
Cloone v Ballinaglera; Melvin Gaels v Aughnasheelin: Cloone weren’t overly convincing against Melvin Gaels second string last weekend but a win will stand them in good stead against Ballinaglera who have lost a lot of players in recent years. They should have enough strength to come through against a Ballinaglera team who traditionally find it hard to translate good play into scores. Aughnasheelin will be buoyed by a good win over Ballinaglera but will find Melvin Gaels a difficult test yet it is hard not to see them emerging with the win in this one after a tight contest.
Gortletteragh v Eslin; Drumkeerin v Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher: Eslin racked up a massive score last weekend but still found themselves losing to Glenfarne/Kilty. They now face favourites Gortletteragh and although you wouldn’t be surprised if the talent Eslin have on display cause Gortletteragh lots of problems, you’d have to go with last year’s Intermediate Finalists to advance. Drumkeerin are in make or break territory here and a poor first half display last weekend cost them dearly. They will need more to overcome a high scoring Glenfarne/Kilty who will clearly benefit from playing division one football, they should advance here.
Bornacoola v Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s; Carrigallen v St. Patrick’s Dromahair; Gortleteragh v Drumkeerin; Mohill v Kiltubrid; Annaduff v Allen Gaels; Leitrim Gaels v St. Mary’s Kiltoghert: The big game next weekend is the meeting of fellow parishioners Leitrim Gaels and St. Mary’s Kiltoghert in a huge game. This is St. Mary’s second string team and it will be a major step up for the Gaels, particularly as their neighbours used the bare 15 players last weekend. They look as if they might take the win here. The rest of the games are devilishly hard to predict considering so many clubs have lost so many players to emigration. They will be close but you’d have to favour Mohill, Annaduff, Dromahair & Bornacoola to come through.
Below are the fixtures and venues for next weekend’s games:
Saturday, August 4
Connacht Gold Senior Championship
Aughawillan v Allen Gaels in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada at 6.00. Ref: E. O’Gray
Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s v Annaduff in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada at 7.30. Ref: J. McCaffrey
Bornacoola v Drumreilly in Cloone at 6.00. Ref: F. Flynn
Carrigallen v Glencar/Manorhamilton in Cloone at 7.30. Ref: S. Mulhern
St. Mary’s Kiltoghert v Kiltubrid in Ballinamore at 6.00. Ref: R. McBrien
Mohill v Melvin Gaels in Ballinamore at 7.30. Ref: F. Keaney
GWP Intermediate Championship
Cloone v Ballinaglera in Drumshanbo at 6.00. Ref: M. Leydon
St. Patrick’s Dromahair v Aughavas in Drumshanbo at 7.30. Ref: F. Niblock
Gortletteragh v Eslin in Mohill at 6.00. Ref: B. Sammon
Drumkeerin v Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher in Ballinaglera at 6.00. Ref: C. McKeon
Sunday, August 5
GWP Intermediate Championship
Fenagh St. Caillin’s v Glencar/Manorhamilton in Drumshanbo at 12.00. Ref: K. Moran
Melvin Gaels v Aughnasheelin in Drumkeerin at 12.00. Ref: M. Leydon
GWP Junior A Championship
Borancoola v Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s in Drumshanbo at 1.30. Ref: F. Keaney
Carrigallen v St. Patrick’s Dromahair in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada at 12.00. Ref: F. Niblock
Gortleteragh v Drumkeerin in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada at 1.30. Ref: J. Stenson
Mohill v Kiltubrid in Fenagh at 12.00. Ref: P. Flanagan
Annaduff v Allen Gaels in Ballinamore at 12.00. Ref: N. Flynn
Leitrim Gaels v St. Mary’s Kiltoghert in Kiltubrid at 2.00. Ref: G. Gallogly