Quarter Final Previews
An action packed weekend as the quarter finals of the Connacht Gold Senior Championship and GWP Intermediate Championship take place. Who will be celebrating after the weekend? Previews of all the games are detailed below.
CONNACHT GOLD SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTER FINALS
St Mary’s v Bornacoola on Saturday at 5.15pm in Páirc Sean
St Mary’s come into the game unbeaten having accounted for Allen Gaels and Kiltubrid in the group stages. Bornacoola were unlucky to be defeated in their opening game against Carrigallen and then went on to beat the County Champions by two points. That win will surely give them lots of confidence not only because they defeated the County Champions but also the manner of the victory as they showed a real hunger and never say die attitude when trailing entering the closing stages of the contest. St Mary’s were comfortable in winning their two games and never really looked threatened. They don’t appear to have come out of first gear yet but a serious championship outfit like Bornacoola is sure to get them moving through their gears! Neither team will be found wanting in a contest of this magnitude. Both teams have players all around the pitch who will fight for every 50/50 ball. They have had many a battle in the past and Saturday will be no different. Come Saturday night one team will be celebrating and preparing for a semi final meeting while the other will be wondering if only?
Glencar Manorhamilton v Kiltubrid on Saturday at 6.45 in Páirc Sean
Glencar Manorhamilton lost their opening group game to Bornacoola and then had a six point winning margin against Carrigallen. Kiltubrid lost their opening game to St Mary’s and were impressive in disposing of Allen Gaels in their last round game. Kiltubrid come into the game as underdogs but that will suit them just fine. Glencar Manorhamilton rediscovered their form against Carrigallen and the question is can they put back-to-back performances together – if they can they will be hard stopped. Kiltubrid have the players and know-how to put a halt to the champions gallop but they will need to be at their very best. Kiltubrid should look to the 2011 Connacht and All Ireland Football Championship for inspiration for the underdogs – Leitrim were huge underdogs against Sligo, Mayo were underdogs against All Ireland Champions Cork and did anyone predict Donegal to be in the last four? Equally shouldn’t Glencar Manorhamilton be weary! Will the hot favourites be too hot to handle or will the underdogs upset the odds?
Mohill v Annaduff on Saturday at 5.15 in Cloone
This game has the potential to be a real cracker! Mohill were unbeaten in the group stages. They were really tested by Aughawillan and will not be looking too much into their facile victory over Cloone. Annaduff were left shell shocked after their opening day defeat by Drumreilly but accounted for Ballinamore SOH last time out and this surely has rejuvenated them. Both teams operate in Division 1 but they have not met yet this year so we can’t look there for indicators. We all know that goals win matches and in their championship games to-date Mohill have not conceded a goal while Annaduff conceded a goal in each of their games. Mohill have scored three goals to Annaduff’s two. The team who hits the back of the onion bag in this encounter could decide who goes forward to the semi finals. A serious battle is expected in the middle of the park while both teams have experienced defensive units capable of upsetting equally talented forward-lines. A ferocious work-rate is expected from both teams and that’s why it’s so hard to call.
Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s v Aughawillan on Saturday at 7pm in Cloone
Derby matches don’t get much bigger than this and I don’t think there will be any divided loyalties at this fixture on Saturday evening! Ballinamore SOH defeated neighbours Drumreilly in their first group game and then lost to Annaduff. Aughawillan were unlucky in their opening fixture against Mohill and then easily accounted for Cloone. In the League, Ballinamore operate in Division 2 and currently sit top of the table while Aughawillan are mid table in Division 1. This game has the makings to be an absolute thriller as both teams are expected to go full blooded in the pursuit of victory with bragging rights an extra bonus. Aughawillan and Ballinamore SOH games of the past are still talked about. Both clubs were renowned for their battling qualities and those virtues are coming through in the younger players in both club teams today. The result of this game could come down to a simple mistake or a piece of individual brilliance – that’s how close it could be. Be there to watch events unfold as only you can tell the story of the 2011 championship meeting between Aughawillan and Ballinamore SOH in the years to come!
GWP INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTER FINALS
Dromahair v Gortletteragh on Sunday at 12.30 in Páirc Sean
Dromahair enter this game with the favourites tag given their form to date but they would be the first to admit they weren’t really tested in the group stages and this may be of some concern to them entering the quarter finals. Gortletteragh on the other hand were put to the sword by Melvin Gaels and admirably got back on track with a good win over Ballinaglera. Dromahair have been there or there abouts over the last few years and if the occasion doesn’t get to them they should justify their favourites tag. Gortletteragh come into this game very much under the radar and that’s the way all teams like it to be. A talented Dromahair side are expected to be sternly tested by a physically strong and experienced Gortletteragh side. This game could go down to the wire.
Melvin Gaels v Aughavas on Sunday at 2pm in Páirc Sean
Melvin Gaels are hotter than hot favourites to win this tie as the Division 1 table toppers take on Aughavas who operate in Division 3. The North Leitrim men look to have been operating in cruise control in the group stages yet no team has been able to get close to them. Aughavas were well beaten by Dromahair and qualified for the quarter finals courtesy of their one point defeat of Fenagh. They are in bonus territory now and have nothing to loose so if they play with their customary pride and passion anything could happen. Melvin Gaels are expected to cruise into the semi finals but I doubt they have read that script in Aughavas!
Eslin v Drumkeerin on Sunday at 12.30 in Drumshanbo
Eslin topped their group with wins over Aughnasheelin and Glencar Manor while Drumkeerin were winners over St Mary’s and lost heavily to Glenfarne Kiltyclogher last weekend. Eslin were very impressive in their two outings and seem to have made a seamless breakthrough to Intermediate this year. They have built up a lot of momentum and the confidence gained from winning the Junior A Championship last year will stand to them. They face a Drumkeerin side who are always a serious championship outfit having contested two intermediate finals in recent years and the hurt of loosing those finals is sure to drive them on. They are wounded after last weekends defeat by Glenfarne Kilty so Eslin should be warned – there may be a back lash!
Glenfarne Kiltyclogher v Glencar Manorhamilton on Sunday at 2pm in Drumshanbo
Another mouth-watering local derby that is sure to have the turnstiles busy. These North Leitrim neighbours are sure to go hell for leather in the pursuit of a semi final spot. Both sides are brimming with talented players who know each other inside out. A lot of discussion in the lead up to the match will centre around who will take up who and what playing tactics will be deployed. Glencar Manor may have players in action in the Senior Championship the previous evening and if so this might be a disadvantage to them but Glenfarne Kiltyclogher won’t be reading too much into that. They also won’t be reading too much into their comfortable win over Drumkeerin as both teams were already qualified. This tie is generating a lot of excitement – let’s hope it lives up to all our expectations. May the best team win!
SENIOR AND INTERMEDIATE RELEGATION PLAYOFFS
Drumreilly v Cloone on Saturday at 5pm in Fenagh
Carrigallen v Allen Gaels on Sunday at 12.30 in Aughawillan
St Mary’s v Aughnasheelin on Sunday at 12.30 in Kiltubrid
Ballinaglera v Fenagh on Sunday at 12.30 in Leitrim Gaels
Winners avoid a relegation final – the stakes are that high and that’s the simple motivation that will drive all the teams on. May the best teams win!
18-Aug-11 by Colette Fox – PRO