AFTER two weeks of hurling action, the final group games in the Derry Senior and Intermediate Football Championships take place this weekend. There will also be a round of qualifier in the Junior Championship.
SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
KILREA V BELLAGHY
Sunday, Pearse Park, 2.30pm
Damian Cassidy is back in charge of his native Bellaghy, the man who led them to their last title in 2005. Two Paul Cassidy goals shot them to victory over Dungiven. They travel to a Kilrea team with zero points and should pick up their second win.
LAVEY V DUNGIVEN
Sunday, O’Cahan Park, 2.30pm
This is one the age old championship pairings that defined the Derry scene. Lavey head into the weekend tipped to make it three straight wins. Dungiven had a promising league campaign and hit an impressive 4-13 against Kilrea, but won’t have the same freedom this time.
BALLINDERRY V SLEACHT NÉILL
Friday, Shamrock Park, 8pm
Paul Bradley’s side needed all their experience to pull clear of Newbridge in the last round, with Shane McGuigan and Christopher Bradley hitting goals. Ballinderry aren’t the force they were, but picked a win over Steelstown. It’s hard to look past the Emmet’s.
Verdict: Sleacht Néill
STEELSTOWN v NEWBRIDGE
Saturday, Ballyarnett, 2pm
After a hammering at the hands of Sleacht Néill, Steelstown looked like they were going to turn Ballinderry over until the influence of Gareth McKinless off the bench. The ‘Bridge took plenty of positives from their defeat to the Emmet’s and will get back to winning ways,
LOUP V COLERAINE
Saturday, Loup, 4pm
BOTH teams came a cropper to an impressive Magherafelt side and do battle for second place in the group this weekend. Loup beat Coleraine in their last encounter and will need Caolan and Ciaran Devlin on form. A tough battle ahead and little to choose between the teams.
BALLINSCREEN V MAGHERAFELT
Sunday, Dean McGlinchey Park, 2pm
Under the management of Damian Barton and Brian McGuckin, Magherafelt seemed to have timed their run coming into the championship. Dan Higgins has added freshness to their side and their system seems well-tuned. Ballinascreen won the Ulster League, but have yet to pick up a point in the group.
CLAUDY V BANAGHER
Saturday, Owenbeg, 4.30pm
This derby game is a shootout to avoid last place and earn some local pride. Banagher reached the 2019 semi-final and will look to find some of that form. Claudy’s 30-point defeat was every bit as disappointing as it sounds. They’ll bounce back, but it might not be enough.
GLEN V SWATRAGH
Sunday, Emmet Park, 5pm
Glen gave Swatragh an almighty lesson – like they did with everyone – on the way to the title. Both teams have won their games to date and have top spot in their sights. Anton Tohill is another towering figure in a side with plenty of promise, but Glen to come through.
INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
LISSAN V DRUMSURN
Saturday, Tullynure, 2pm
Drumsurn were pegged by for a draw late on their Greenlough game. Tiarnán McHugh has hit 2-14 so far, but Sean Brady will hope the knock picked up on hurling duty with Kevin Lynch’s isn’t too serious. Iarlaith Donaghy has impressed for a Lissan team yet to pick up a point.
GLENULLIN V SLAUGHTMANUS
Sunday, Sean O’Maolain Park, 2pm
The ‘Glen had a 100 per cent record under new manager Paddy Bradley, who has Neil McNicholl back in the fold. ‘Skinner’ – Eoin Bradey has kicked 0-16 so far. Slaughtmanus beat Glenullin in the league relegation play-off last season, but it’s unlikely they’ll repeat the dose.
DESERTMARTIN V FOREGLEN
Thursday, Longfield, 6.45pm
The first game of the championship weekend has the potential to be the game of the round in the group of death. It sees back-to-back junior champions Desertmartin up against league champions Foreglen. Plenty at stake here.
FAUGHANVALE V LIMAVADY
Saturday, John McLaughlin Park, 6.30pm
Limavady were hammered by Foreglen, but beat Castledawson in a group with more questions than answers. The ‘Vale will be disappointed with their defeat to Desertmartin, but if they can keep a lid on Richard King and John Butcher, they could nick it. Another great game in prospect.
JUNIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
DRUM V MAGILLIGAN
Thursday, Celtic Park, 7.30pm
James Payne has been one of the in-form forwards in the championship and Drum will need to curb him and maximise their use of Caolan Hazlett up front themselves. Magilligan were competitive in all three group games and unlucky not to turn over favourites Craigbane.
DOIRE TRASNA V OGRA COLMCILLE
Friday, Ballerin, 7.30pm
Trasna were on the end of hammering against Ballerin after leading at half time. They will be without the suspended Tomás McCrossan this weekend and face an Ogra team in their first year back in junior football. It’s hard to make a case for anything other than a win for the city men.
Verdict: Doire Trasna
SEAN DOLAN’S V ARDMORE
Friday, Celtic Park, 7.30pm
Ardmore more have been struggling for numbers and form over the past few seasons, with the evergreen Al McLaughlin still their main scoring outlet. Dolan’s lost both games since edging out Doire Colmcille in round one, but will come through to book their quarter-final spot.
BALLERIN v DOIRE COLMCILLE
Sunday, Faughanvale, 3pm
Ballerin missed out on an automatic qualification spot on score difference despite some impressive recent form with Paul Ferris to the fore in attack. Doire Colmcille asked them plenty of questions in the league clash, but Oran O’Kane’s men should book their quarter-final spot if they find their game face.