26 Sept 2022

Let the madness begin as Smith Monumentals IFC Group stage ends

Let the madness begin as Smith Monumentals IFC Group stage ends

If the Senior Championship was complicated, it is nothing compared to what awaits next Sunday when the final round of Group games is held in the Smith Monumentals Intermediate Championship.

The Intermediate grade has always been the most competitive,  unpredictable competition in Leitrim club football and results so far back that up and we shouldn't expect anything different once the ball is thrown up next Sunday afternoon. 

Martin was born to save - and to talk!

John Connolly chats with Martin McHugh ahead of the launch of his autobiography “Born to Save” next Sunday, September 11, in The Landmark Hotel and finds the former Leitrim keeper just as engaging and entertaining as he always has been as he looks back over a storied career and life

Here’s what we know right now - Aughnasheelin are definitely in the playoffs  as are Allen Gaels, Annaduff and Bornacoola but a loss to Allen Gaels and big wins for Bornacoola or Annaduff could see the only unbeaten team left in the competition miss out on the automatic semi-final spots.

A win or a draw would be enough for Aughnasheelin to top the group but behind them it is even more complicated with teams’ future dependent on luck of the draw. 

Just two points separate Allen Gaels, Bornacoola, Ballinaglera, Kiltubrid, Drumkeerin, Drumreilly and Annaduff in the table but even if results go against the Gaels, the Bors and Annaduff, all three would still make it into the top six

We know that Aughavas and Mohill are both consigned to the relegation semi-finals but the big action is in the remaining two games where it really is winner takes all.

Ballinaglera, taking on Kiltubrid, and Drumreilly, travelling to Drumkeerin, must win their games - in doing so, they’d both leapfrog their direct opponents and hey presto, they are in the quarter-finals.

All we know right now is that we don’t know anything so here is my best guess on what will happen next Sunday:

Aughavas v Bornacoola

The Bors have everything to play for and Aughavas are out. That should give the visitors a lot of confidence as they seek a big win that could sneak them into  the semi-finals - that brings its own pressure while the Bors are also be looking for their first win away from home. They should get it here but will they get the points difference they need?

Ballinaglera v Kiltubrid

On paper, this looks pretty straightforward with a battling Kiltubrid seeking to seal their quarter-final spot and a little bit of revenge for last year's semi-final loss. Don’t underestimate that factor as Ballinaglera just haven’t been able to get to that pitch this year with injuries affecting them. They have a real goal threat and that will cause Kiltubrid problems. Kiltubrid have won three points from losing positions so far and that drive could see them home.

Drumkeerin v Drumreilly

Drumkeerin have recovered impressively from a heavy opening round loss to Allen Gaels but they’ll be wary about this one. Drumreilly are heavily reliant on Conor Gaffney for scores but if he gets a bit more support, they could pull a surprise here. Yet you have to expect, with so much to play for and home advantage, Drumkeerin will prevail.

Annaduff v Mohill

Annaduff lost their unbeaten record in the last round but can sneak into second place with a win over Mohill’s second string at home. Mohill could lose four or five of their starting team if they see action with their Seniors the night before due to the new competition regulations and you’ve got to think that will make a huge difference as they have relied so heavily on Ronan Kennedy for scores this year. Annaduff to win.

Aughnasheelin v Allen Gaels

The top of the table clash and a derby so lots to play for here. Even with two wins, the Drumshanbo men are vulnerable as a loss and wins for Annaduff, Bornacoola, Kiltubrid and Drumkeerin, all very possible, could see them drop to sixth in the table. That’s the worst case scenario for the Gaels who, by virtue of how the draw worked out, are guaranteed a playoff place. 

Will that take away from the drive of both teams with a possible quarter-final the following week? Don’t think so as a semi-final place is a great reward. The Gaels have been a little patchy but hard to see Aughnasheelin letting their perfect record slip now yet I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gaels pulled off a victory either - it will be that close.

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