The jockeying for positions begins

By Michael McMullan

WITH an in-form Donegal having a bye this weekend, the rest of Group A will look to keep the pressure on.

In a change of format from last season, there is the added jeopardy of only second and third placed teams qualifying for the knock-out stages.

Like the u-20 championship, the top team will advance straight to the semi-finals.

Semi-final and quarter-final losers will then enter a new-look All-Ireland tier two championship. There is also a third tier for teams below that.

Tyrone will be hoping to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to Donegal when they meet Fermanagh.

After going in level at the break a goal from another of Donaghmore’s production line, Lorcan McMurray, wasn’t enough to prevent Donegal pulling clear for a seven-point win.

Erne boss Niall McElroy will have to lift his side after Monaghan hit them for four goals in Clones.

“The final result is very frustrating,” he told the Fermanagh Herald of their 4-10 to 0-8 defeat.

“We had plenty of good passages of play and we had some excellent scores but conceding four goals isn’t good enough and spoiled any chance we had of getting something from the game.”

Monaghan are back in Clones this weekend against league finalists Down.

Cian Rafferty, Killian Kearns and Senan Hanratty all hit the next for Dermot Malone’s side.

Down were beaten by Tyrone 2-7 to 1-7 in week one before having a bye last weekend.

In Group B, Ulster and All-Ireland champions Derry were winners against Cavan and will be expected to see off Antrim this weekend.

The other game will see Armagh take on Cavan in Kingspan Breffni on Saturday.

Armagh won the Minor Shield recently before adding a facile in over Antrim last weekend.

Shane McCabe netted a penalty to get Cavan up and running against Derry before falling to a 1-8 to 1-5 defeat in a game decided by Kian Biggs’ 43rd minute for the home team.

Aidan O’Rourke is in charge of the Orchard County and he’ll be hoping for a victory that would set up a top of the table clash with Derry.

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