This weekend the Connacht Gold Senior Football Championship and GWP Intermediate Football Championship kicks off. A feast of football will be on offer with eight intriguing encounters set to take place in three venues over Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Club players have trained hard over the last number of months and finally start on their road to win the most coveted medals in Leitrim GAA – Senior and Intermediate Championship medals. A lot of twists and turns are expected along the roads to our Championship Finals.
CONNACHT GOLD SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
The big questions in the Senior Championship is canÓglencar Manorhamilton be dethroned or can they achieve an extraordinary four in a row last accomplished by Gorvagh from 1924 to 1927 and more recently by Melvin Gaels from 1959 to 1962? The other teams in the Senior Championship will feel they can be dethroned and like Glencar Manorhamilton each and every team start the Championship in the belief they are going to win it. If Manor have the hunger they still seem the team to beat. Some indicators however suggest a change of guard might be on the cards:-
* A number of teams have shownÓgood form in the league
* In last years championship their margin of victory in the knock out stages was minimum.
GWP INTERMEDIATE CHAMPIONSHIP
In the GWP Intermediate Championship a hotly tipped Melvin Gaels appear to be the team to beat. Whether they prevail will very much depend on how they cope with the huge expectation and favouritism surrounding them. With a number of seasoned first and second string teams in this championship we can be assured the Gaels will need to be firing on all cylinders if their plans of returning to senior status are to be immediate.
Below we preview all the first round games scheduled for this weekend.
Connacht Gold Senior Football Championship
St Marys v Kiltubrid
Saturday at 6pm in Pairc Sean
Last years beaten finalists St Marys, are strengthened by the influx of players from their 2010 minor championship winning side. Kiltubrid are playing Division 2 league but St Marys who operate in Division 1 should be mindful that their neighbours are always huge championship performers. Local derbies are always hard fought and therefore hard to call!
Carrigallen v Bornacoola
Saturday at 7.30 in Pairc Sean
Both teams will be more than anxious to record a first round victory with the County Champions waiting in the long grass! A lot of similarities exist between the two teams – both have mixed the good with the bad in the league and shield competitions this year and both have had the heartache of loosing county finals in the last 3 years. Dont be surprised if they cant be separated at the final whistle!
Ballinamore SOH v Drumreilly
Saturday at 6pm in Cloone
Nothing gets the heart racing quite like a local derby and they dont come much bigger than this! Players on both teams know each other inside out and beating your neighbours will be motivation enough. A titanic battle is on the cards as well as tail backs due to the mass exodus from both clubs to the Cloone venue on Saturday evening!
Aughawillan v Mohill
Saturday at 7.30 in Cloone
This is the game of the weekend with both teams playing extremely well at the minute. Aughawillan come into the game high in confidence after winning the Intermediate Championship last year and on the back of impressive league performances. Mohill have only suffered one league defeat and defeated the County champions last weekend. A free flowing game is in store at the Cloone venue!
GWP Intermediate Football Championship
Drumkeerin v St Marys
Sunday at 2pm in Ballinamore
Drumkeerin are a formidable championship outfit but face a stiff challenge from a strong second string St Marys outfit on Sunday. The north Leitrim men suffered the heartache of defeat in last years Intermediate Final and will be focussing all their attentions on making amends this year. St Marys are sure to cause them a lot of trouble – this game could go either way!
Eslin v Aughnasheelin
Sunday at 3.30 in Ballinamore
Eslin will be boosted by a victory over Aughnasheelin in the league recently but as we all know league form goes out the window come championship. Eslin won the Junior A Championship last year and will be anxious to make their mark in the Intermediate grade this year while Aughnasheelin have the experience of winning the Intermediate title back in 2008 and reached the semi finals last year. A huge game is in store!
Ballinaglera v Melvin Gaels
Sunday at 2pm in Pairc Sean
This game sees the Division 1 league leaders versus Ballinaglera who operate in Division 3. As already mentioned, most pundits have predicted Melvin Gaels to win the Intermediate Championship this year. If Melvin Gaels are complacent and Ballinaglera display all the qualities they did in last years championship this encounter could be closer than expected!
Dromahair v Aughavas
Sunday at 3.30 in Pairc Sean
Another game that sees a Division 1 team paired against a Division 3 team. Dromahair have the benefit of Division 1 football and are always in the shake up come the business end of the championship. They have had their fair share of hard luck stories in recent championship campaigns and will be hoping that 2011 is their year. A proud Aughavas team stand in their way on Sunday and as we all know they are not there to make up the numbers!
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR YOUR CLUB TEAM THIS WEEKEND
LET THE CHAMPIONSHIPS BEGIN!
21-Jul-11 by Colette Fox – PRO