The evenings are getting long, the weather is improving (dont hold your breath) and YES at last we had the start of the GAA football calendar last weekend. In advance of the league – debate within clubs as usual centres around:-
– Who is showing well at training
– What the starting 15 will be
– Where will certain players line out
– What new talent will emerge during the year
After this weekend more victories will be savoured, defeats will be well scrutinised and I suspect there will be MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS.
Last weekend the 2011 adult fixtures programme got into full swing with the Gallogly Catering ACL Division 5 commencing. This year 13 teams will do battle in this Division and at the weekend 5 games took place. Cloone had a home win over Glencar Manorhamilton who have entered a 4th team this year. Bornacoola also recorded a home win over Sean OHeslins and Fenagh did likewise over Drumreilly while Gortletteragh and Kiltubrid and St Osnats and Eslin served up draws.
This weekend Divisions 1, 2 and 4 get underway (full details of fixtures in our fixtures section).
2010 Division 1 league winners Glencar/Manorhamilton start the defence of their title with an away fixture against newly promoted Glenfarne/Kiltyclogher. Contests between the neighbouring clubs are always entertaining and close. Players on both teams are friends off the field but these friendships will be put to one side on Saturday as bragging rights take centre stage. Supporters of both sides are sure to turn up in large numbers to the Glenfarne venue. GAME POSTPONED AS A MARK OF RESPECT TO SEAMUS DILLON (RIP)
Bornacoola had a short stay in Division 2 and will be anxious to prove themselves in the top flight again this year. They welcome Melvin Gaels who had a disappointing run in the 2010 Senior championship which saw them relegated to Intermediate championship for 2011. Bornacoola would be wise to ignore their oppositions 2011 championship status as the North Leitrim men are consistent league performers.
2010 Intermediate Football champions Aughawillan welcome North Leitrim rivals Dromahair in their opening fixture. Both sides are brimming with talented players and this is possibly one of the games of the weekend. Both teams finished mid-table on 12 points last year and in the corresponding 2010 fixture only a goal separated the sides with Aughawillan recording an away victory. Another close game is possibly on the cards here.
Carrigallen host Annaduff who were desperately unlucky to lose the Division 1 league final last year. Both sides had impressive runs in the championship and league last year. Carrigallen will be hoping to start their season in whirl-wind fashion as they did last year when they defeated Annaduff 0-5 to 3-9. If Annaduff can start the league as they finished their 2010 league campaign this will be a much closer encounter.
Mohill take on Drumreilly in the excellent facilities of Eslin GAA Club. In 2010 Mohill recorded an impressive win over Drumreilly in the league and at the end of the league campaign Mohill were placed 3rd in the table with Drumreilly only surviving in Division 1 on the last day of the season. Drumreilly will not want to be in a similar position this year and this should be motivation in itself but they do face a tough opening assignment.
Last years Senior championship finalists St Marys will host rivals Allen Gaels in a local derby in Pairc Sean. In the 2010 senior league and championship St Marys recorded victories over Allen Gaels. St Marys will be boosted by their Minor Championship success last year and an appearance in the U21 A Final. Allen Gaels have a lot of underage talent coming through and this year they will be hoping to blood some exciting new players.
Division 2 consists of ten teams of which 8 are first teams. Ballinamore Sean OHeslins and Kiltubrid will be hoping to make a quick return to Division 1 and all eyes will be on this fixture to see who prevails. Aughnasheelin will have to be at their best to account for Cloone while Gortletteragh who had an impressive run in the league last year welcome newly promoted Fenagh to their grounds. Drumkeerin host a much fancied Eslin side who were crowned Junior A Champions in 2010. The fixture between the two second string teams (Bornacoola and Glencar Manorhamilton) will take place at a later date. Please note Round 4 fixtures take place this weekend and not Round 1.
Division 4 consists of 12 teams and all 6 games will take place this weekend. As always this is a very closely contested division. Drumkeerin who were relegated from Division 3 last year will be firm favourites to make a return upwards while St Marys are sure to set the pace again this year (they finished in the top two last year but could not be promoted as they already had a team competing in Div 3). Leitrim Gaels were promoted from Division 5 and will set their sights on maintaining Div 4 status this year along with the 11 other clubs. DIVISION 3 is due to commence next weekend.
ENJOY THE SEASON!
02-Mar-11 by Colette Fox – PRO