Club Championship: Teams eye up knockout spots in Antrim, Armagh, Cavan and Derry


SHC Group One

Ballycastle v Rossa

(Sunday, Pairc MacUílín, 2pm)

Rossa will be sitting wondering how they are bottom of the table on a single point. They seemed to have St John’s and Dunloy both beaten, but they lost the first and only took a draw from the second. A semi-final spot is beyond them but a win will be enough for a quarter-final place. With James Connolly in imperious free-taking form, Ballycastle will need to be careful. They can finish first and they can finish last after two draws in their opening two games. Neil McAuley nearly earned a great win against St John’s with the last puc in round two, but the sliothar veered just wide.

Verdict: Rossa

St John’s v Dunloy

(Sunday, Corrigan Park, 2pm)

With 13 minutes of additional time played, Dunloy were seemingly done and dusted against Rossa last week as they trailed by four points. Amazingly, they earned a share of the spoils after Paul Shiels hit the net and Chrissy McMahon landed a boomer from way out. That’s the sort of moment that can kickstart a season – and they need something. St John’s are guaranteed a quarter-final spot at least, but given that Dunloy look fallible, they will be targeting the result that will earn a semi-final berth.

Verdict: Draw

SHC Group Two

Cushendall v St Gall’s

(Sunday, Ruairí Óg, 2pm)

They may not always get the headlines but players like Aidan McNaughton and Niall McCormack are really helping the Cushendall cause. It points to a strong team all over the pitch, and there is a chance that Neil McManus could also make an appearance to get some minutes in the legs before the knock-out stages. The return of Aaron Graffin and the decision to move Ryan McCambridge to wing-back really looks like it has steadied things at the back too. St Gall’s have won one and lost one, but they were really outclassed by Loughgiel last week. Jackson McGreevy top-scored with five points while Ryan Irvine also chipped in with a couple of scores.

Verdict: Cushendall

Naomh Éanna v Loughgiel

(Sunday, St Enda’s, 2pm)

Naomh Éanna’s chances of progression are still alive, but it seems highly unlikely that they will be able to stop a Loughgiel side that looks on a mission. James McNaughton has been in superb form for the Shamrocks and Eddie McCloskey continues to be a real threat. Naomh Éanna will look to Joe Maskey and Cormac Jennings to give them some scoring threat, but they should finish with three losses from three games.

Verdict: Loughgiel

IHC Group One

Patrick Sarsfield’s v Creggan

(Sunday, Bear Pit, 2pm)

Neither side has picked up a point yet after both lost to Carey Faugh’s, so it’s a case of the winner hoping that they have done enough to earn the best runner-up spot. A draw will knock both out.

Verdict: Patrick Sarsfield’s

IHC Group Two

Tír Na nÓg v St Brigid’s

(Sunday, Tír Na nÓg, 2pm)

The Cloughmills side came out all guns blazing against Armoy in their first match, Eoin Dobbin with an early goal, but they were made to fight all the way after the first quarter before winning 2-13 to 2-10. Tír Na nÓg could be without captain Ryan O’Neill who came off injured last week.

Verdict: Tír Na nÓg

IHC Group Three

Gort na Móna v Clooney Gaels

(Sunday, Páirc Mhic Ionnrachtaigh, 2pm)

A Covid-19 issue in Gort na Móna means that this is their first fixture in the group. They are capable of getting a result while the Gaels will be hoping to build on their win over Glenariffe.

Verdict: Gort na Móna

JHC Group One

Latharna Óg v St Paul’s

(Sunday, Larne, 2pm)

St Paul’s are through to the semis unless they suffer a humiliating defeat. Latharna Óg will probably need a win though, and a big one at that.

Verdict: St Paul’s

Shane O’Neill’s v Davitt’s

(Sunday, Pairc Ui Fhearsithe, 2pm)

Shane O’Neill’s have their fate in their own hands and any sort of win will almost certainly be enough. Davitt’s have lost both games to date and only a heavy win will suffice here, along with a St Paul’s win in the other game.

Verdict: Shane O’Neill’s

JHC Group Two

Lámh Dhearg v St Teresa’s

(Sunday, Lámh Dhearg, 2pm)

It’s simple here; the winner will progress to the quarter-finals while a draw will also be enough for St Teresa’s. Home advantage could be decisive though.

Verdict: Lámh Dhearg

JHC Group Three

St Agnes’ v Cushendun

(Sunday, Pairc Naomh Úna, 2pm)

Cushendun hit 6-25 against Loch Mór Dál gCais, and St Agnes’ lost to the latter. That sums up how tough this is likely to be for the hosts.

Verdict: Cushendun

JHC Group Four

Ardoyne v St Mary’s

(Sunday, Fennell Park, 2pm)

St Mary’s should do enough to secure their place in the last eight. Ardyone were well beaten by Ballymena in their first outing.

Verdict: Rasharkin


IFC quarter-finals

Ballyhegan v Keady

(Saturday, Pearse Og Park, 3pm)

Result of the first round belonged to Ballyhegan who earned a shock 3-8 to 1-13 win over Whitecross. James McCormack was the star of the show as his 2-5 tally all but dumped out the south Armagh men. Philip Bonney punched home their other goal. Keady won their derby duel with Middletown following a strong second half. Odhrán Fullerton was in fine scoring form while goalkeeper Paudie Donnelly made a couple of crucial saves.

Verdict: Keady

Sarsfields v Tullysaran

(Saturday, Athletic Grounds, 7pm)

Both these sides were pushed harder than expected in last week’s first round. Sarsfields had to look to the likes of Peter Stevenson and Caolan Skelton to get them past a determined Culloville while Tullysaran trailed An Port Mór by two points with six minutes remaining before they finished strongly and kicked the winner in the fifth minute of additional time.

Verdict: Sarsfields

Carrickcruppen v St Paul’s

(Sunday, Athletic Grounds, 3.30pm)

Carrickcruppen are building up a bit of steam, although they will enter this game without Tiernan Kelly who departed for college in America on Tuesday. St Paul’s had Andy Murnin available for their win over Tir na nÓg, and he really is key to their hopes. Eoin McConville, from a penalty, was their goal-scorer against the Portadown men.

Verdict: Carrickcruppen

Clan na Gael v Clonmore

(Sunday, Athletic Grounds, 6pm)

There can be no denying it now, Clan na Gael are the favourites for the title after they dumped out fellow heavyweights Shane O’Neill’s with Shane McPartlan and Stefan Campbell notching late scores. Clonmore raised eyebrows as they dumped out Wolfe Tone on a 2-8 to 0-10 scoreline with James Grimley grabbing both goals while Ryan O’Hagan hit four points.

Verdict: Clan na Gael

JFC quarter-finals

St Michael’s v Corrinshego

(Friday, Ballymacnab, 7pm)

Corrinshego really struggled to get past Mullabrack with team captain David Murphy grabbing the winner. St Michael’s have won just one of their four league games to date, and it’s unlikely that either team will streak away.

Verdict: St Michael’s

Forkhill v Éire Óg

(Friday, Athletic Grounds, 7.30pm)

This is a massive tie between two of the favourites for the title. Éire Óg, who beat Lissummon by two points in round one, edged their recent league meeting by a point. Forkhill will look to county trio Paddy Burns, Jemar Hall and Stephen Sheridan, and they should have just about enough.

Verdict: Forkhill

Crossmaglen v Derrynoose

(Saturday, Athletic Grounds, 4.30pm)

The scoring exploits of Callum Kieran and Shane McConville helped Crossmaglen to a narrow win over Poyntzpass, but they face a much tougher examination here. Derrynoose have shown real progress in recent seasons and can earn a statement win here.

Verdict: Derrynoose

Dorsey Emmet’s v Belleek

(Sunday, Shane O’Neill’s, 1.30pm)

Belleek were comfortable against Clady but not for the first this season, they only played for a half. Goals from Drew McVerry, James McParland and Sean Og Boyle meant that they were never really in danger though. The Dorsey men had a narrow win over Killeavy with Brendan Watters hitting the crucial score from the penalty spot.

Verdict: Belleek


SFC round four

Gowna v Castlerahan

(Sunday, Sheelin Park, 4pm)

Gowna were able to lose last year’s round four game and still qualify for the quarter-finals, but another loss here could see them dumped out if results go a certain way. All their games have been tight this season, and they looked destined for another narrow defeat last week before Frank Casey (goal) and Ryan O’Donoghue (point) gave them a last smash-and-grab win over Killygarry. Castlerahan are motoring nicely and Oisin O’Connell was excellent late on as they got the better of Mullahoran last week. They’ll be looking to top the group to earn a favourable quarter-final draw.

Verdict: Castlerahan

Ramor United v Crosserlough

(Sunday, St Matthew’s Park, 4pm)

This has the potential to be a superb clash but with both teams already through to the quarter-finals then there may be a bit held back. Both sides have been defending very well with Crosserlough’s scoring rate just that wee bit higher. That was helped by three goals in their round three win over Lacken. Ramor secured the result of the championship as they defeated Cavan Gaels by nine points. Adam O’Connell and Gareth Mannion, an injury doubt for this weekend, were their goal-scorers while Liam Brady impressed between the sticks.

Verdict: Ramor United

Mullahoran v Lavey

(Sunday, St. Felim’s Park, 4pm)

Given that these two sides sit in seventh and eighth in the table, it’s easy to see just how important this fixture is. Lavey enter on a high following their 1-14 to 0-12 win over Shercock. Darragh Tierney was the man who got the goal with the brilliant Shane Tierney claiming an assist. Mullahoran brought a physicality to their game with Castlerahan but they still came up four points short. They can make amends here.

Verdict: Mullahoran

Lacken v Killygarry

(Sunday, Kingspan Breffni, 4pm)

Killygarry have lost all three games, and two one-point losses and a two-point defeat makes it much harder to stomach. They led Gowna by four points in the 58th minute of their game last weekend but conceded 1-2 in the closing stages. That would have been the hardest one to take, but all is not lost. A big win here, and a Mullahoran loss to Lavey, could still see them slip into the knockout stages. Lacken are facing the same scenario, but given their poor scoring difference, they would need to shoot the lights out. That is unlikely.

Verdict: Killygarry

Shercock v Kingscourt

(Sunday, St Anne’s Park, 4pm)

This looks like a banker unless Kingscourt decide to rest some players ahead of the latter stages of the competition. Shercock need a win, and after that who knows what will happen? After receiving a thumping from Castlerahan they have been really competitive against Ramor and Lavey. Scoring has been their issue though and the Stars haven’t exactly been leaky at the back. Their winning run continued with a 3-15 to 1-7 win over Laragh, and they look good to go through the group stages unbeaten.

Verdict: Kingscourt

Laragh United v Cavan Gaels

(Sunday, Emmett Park, 4pm)

Laragh came up to senior level with such high hopes but they have found the going tough and are now in a fight to avoid relegation. Kieran Donnelly’s Cavan Gaels were well beaten by Ramor last weekend but the game was pretty level for the majority. Seanie Johnston had a quiet day (both his points came from frees) so he’ll be keen to get back on form ahead of the quarter-finals.

Verdict: Cavan Gaels

IFC round four

Killeshandra v Ballymachugh

(Friday, Mullahoran, 8.15pm)

Killeshandra sit dead last but they do have two games left, so redemption is still a possibility. Goals killed Ballymahugh last weekend as they conceded three in their eight-point loss to Ballinagh.

Verdict: Draw

Butlersbridge v Ramor United

(Friday, Kingspan Breffni, 8.15pm)

Two narrow wins have left George Dugdale’s Butlersbridge in a strong position heading into their third game. Ramor had a good win over Drumgoon last week with Seán Brady scoring both their goals.

Verdict: Butlersbridge

Belturbet v Killinkere

(Saturday, Kingspan Breffni, 4pm)

Belturbet are the pace-setters in the Intermediate Championship and five goals in two games have been a massive help. Killinkere are the latest side trying to shut them down, and they should be in confident form after last week’s win over Arva.

Verdict: Belturbet

Cootehill Celtic v Arva

(Saturday, O’Connell Park, 7pm)

A poor first half cost Arva against Killinkere and they really need to find some points if they are to make it to the quarter-finals. Cootehill have also lost both their fixtures, so this is a big game.

Verdict: Cootehill

Bailieborough v Drumgoon

(Saturday, O’Raghallaigh Park, 7pm)

The concession of goals is really hurting Drumgoon as they have conceded two in both of their games. If they could tidy that up then they could move forward. Bailieborough have been experiencing similar issues at the back, but they look good for victory here.

Verdict: Bailieborough

Ballyhaise v Cornafean

(Saturday, Kingspan Breffni, 7pm)

Ballyhaise were ear-marked as a team to watch and so far it’s going to plan as they have won their two fixtures. Sean McCormack and Stephen Smith scored heavily in last week’s win over Killeshandra. Cornafean were second best against Cuchulainn’s, and they should be again here.

Verdict: Ballyhaise

Cuchullainn’s v Ballinagh

(Sunday, Kingspan Breffni, 7pm)

Cuchullainn’s responded to their opening-round loss to Ballyhaise with an eight-point win over Cornafean. Ballinagh should provide tricky opposition, and they’ll be buoyant after a good second half against Ballymachugh last week. Shane Finnegan hit two goals in the 3-9 to 0-10 win.

Verdict: Cuchullainn’s

JFC round two

Kildallan v Redhills

(Friday, St Aiden’s Park, 8.15pm)

Both sides have lost their opening fixture and will be keen to get off the mark. Redhills have the scoring power to get a result.

Verdict: Redhills

Munterconnaught v Maghera

(Friday, Edwin Carolan Community Park, 8.15pm)

Maghera conceded 4-13 against Templeport last week, so they’ll expect to improve here. Munterconnaught, meanwhile, were eight-point winners over Kildallan.

Verdict: Munterconnaught

Shannon Gaels v Drumalee

(Saturday, Ballyconnell, 7pm)

Drumalee will be aiming to respond to their one-point loss to Drung last week while the Gaels lost to Knockbride by four.

Verdict: Shannon Gaels

Denn v Knockbride

(Saturday, Lavey, 7pm)

Denn were excellent against Swanlinbar last week with Thomas Edward Donohoe starring with 1-8. Knockbride started with a win over Shannon Gaels, Jordan McCabe and Niall McCabe Jnr, who was sent off soon after, with their goals.

Verdict: Knockbride

Templeport v Kill Shamrocks

(Sunday, Kingspan Breffni, 1pm)

Templeport have been scoring freely and top the group after two rounds. Kill have only played one game, but it was a winning start as they edged Mountnugent.

Verdict: Templeport

Mountnugent v Swanlinbar

(Sunday, Packie Devlin Park, 2pm)

David Givney is back in Mountnugent colours this season and that really helps their chances. Swanlinbar lost heavily to Denn last week despite the best efforts of Ruairi Curran.

Verdict: Moutnugent


SFC Group A

Newbridge v Bellaghy

(Sunday, Newbridge, 4pm)

A win should be enough for Bellaghy to top the group given their scoring difference. They have three points to date with Paul Cassidy (2) and Peter Cassidy scoring the goals in their games with Foreglen and the Loup. Newbridge lost by a point to the Loup last time out but generally they have been defending well. John McKeever’s side should edge it though.

Verdict: Bellaghy

Foreglen v The Loup

(Sunday, Foreglen, 4pm)

Tallies of 1-8 and 0-13 have left Foreglen at the bottom of Group A with zero points. They really need to up their scoring rate. The Loup actually haven’t been scoring too much either, but they edged Newbridge by a point and earned a draw with Bellaghy. The sign points to a low-scoring encounter, and an away win.

Verdict: The Loup

SFC Group B

Lavey v Sleacht Néill

(Sunday, Lavey, 4pm)

Sleacht Néill have looked outstanding in their two games to date and they look like they are on a mission, even without the injured Karl McKaigue. Shane McGuigan has been superb and Lavey must find a way to shut him down, or limit his impact at least. The Erin’s Own men conceded three goals to lose to Coleraine but then found the net three times to get the better of Kilrea.

Verdict: Sleacht Néill

Kilrea v Coleraine

(Sunday, Kilrea, 4pm)

Kilrea have conceded five goals in their two games to date and that is the main reason why they are sitting bottom of the Group B pile. They were much improved against Lavey last time out with their opponents hitting an additional time goal to seal a four-point win. James Kielt’s free-taking was at the usual excellent standard and he will be their main source of scores here. Coleraine started with a win over Lavey but they were then overrun by Sleacht Néill last time out as their massive injury list caught up with them.

Verdict: Coleraine

SFC Group C

Banagaher v Magherafelt

(Saturday, Banagher, 4pm)

Holders Magherafelt have had a mixed start to the season but given the nature of this year’s tournament, there will be no need to panic. They opened up with a big win over Ballinderry before losing out to Glen, although Cormac Murphy almost grabbed a leveling goal at the death. Banagher have been well beaten in both their fixtures and conceded four goals against Ballinderry and three against Glen.

Verdict: Magherafelt

Ballinderry v Glen

(Saturday, Ballinderry, 4pm)

An emerging force in Glen travel to take on a Ballinderry side seemingly on the wane. That sort of chat will provide plenty of motivation for the Shamrocks who will still feel that they can have a big say in this year’s championship. Jude Donnelly’s Glen side have all the tools to go all the way this year, and if they leave here with a win it will reaffirm their credentials.

Verdict: Glen

SFC Group D

Dungiven v Claudy

(Saturday, TBC, 6.30pm)

Dungiven have conceded six goals in their two games to date so it’s not hard to work out where they need to improve. Stevie O’Neill’s side have actually been good going forward, but they really need to close it up at the back. Claudy, last year’s Intermediate finalists, looked like they had done enough against Swatragh last time out but they had to be content with a draw after conceding two late scores. Aaron Kerrigan was their star player.

Verdict: Claudy

Swatragh v Ballinascreen

(Sunday, Magherafelt, 6.30pm)

Jude McAtamney swung over a couple of late scores to earn Swatragh a draw with Claudy in their last game. It means that they remain unbeaten after their opening win over Dungiven. Ballinascreen top the group currently with two wins from two. Benny Heron (2), Daniel McCullagh and JP Devlin hit their goals against Dungiven last time out.

Verdict: Ballinascreen

IFC Group A

Limavady v Steelstown

(Saturday, Limavady, 4pm)

Steelstown are on four points, although one win was courtesy of a walkover against Glack. Limavady beat Glack by four points before losing to Glenullin by the same margin.

Verdict: Steelstown

Glack v Glenullin

(Saturday, Páirc Ó Bhrolaigh, 4pm)

It’s been a strange campaign for both of these. Glack conceded their fixture with Steelstown while Glenullin were hammered by Steelstown in their opener before they responded with a win over Limavady.

Verdict: Glenullin

IFC Group B

Lissan v Faughanvale

(Friday, Ballinderry, 8pm)

Lissan pushed Doire Trasna all the way in their last game but this will be a big ask. Faughanvale were far too good for Doire Trasna in round one but they just got by Drumsurn.

Verdict: Faughanvale

Doire Trasna v Drumsurn

(Sunday, Doire Trasna, 4pm)

Both sides have won one and lost one, although Drumsurn’s points have come via a walkover. The indicators point to a close encounter here with Doire Trasna edging it.

Verdict: Doire Trasna

IFC Group C

Greenlough v Castledawson

(Saturday, Bellaghy, 2.30pm)

This is a huge clash between two sides that have stormed their way through the group stages to date. Expect plenty of scores, lots of entertainment and maybe a Greenlough win.

Verdict: Greenlough

Ballymaguigan v Slaughtmanus

(Sunday, Dungiven, 2.30pm)

Both these sides have lost both fixtures and have been conceding lots of goals – 13 between them across their four fixtures. Whoever can strengthen at the back should come out on top here.

Verdict: Slaughtmanus

JFC Group A

Drum v Magilligan

(Friday, Drum, 7.15pm)

Drum only managed six points against Moneymore so they will want to see more attacking flair on their own patch. Magilligan have lost both their games to date.

Verdict: Drum

Desertmartin v Craigbane

(Friday, Longfield, 7.15pm)

Craigbane had a comfortable win over Magilligan in their first match while Desertmarin have earned wins over Moneymore and Magilligan.

Verdict: Craigbane

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