ALTHOUGH not all followers of club football in County Armagh were convinced of the practicalities of the construction of three new divisions in the county, few could argue that he new structures have not been competitive.
Division two has been particularly interesting this season considering that only a few points separate a host of clubs and, with the final round of games being played this week, it’s anybody’s guess as to which of the which of the clubs who sit in mid-table will finish in the top half before the league is split.
Division one, however, seems to be all but settled as a mid-table tussle which had been going on between Whitecross, Pearse Óg, Dromintee, Granemore and Sarsfields has seen some degree of closure.
Granemore’s midweek result sees them assured of a top half place with one of either Killeavey or Dromintee taking the last. Sarsfields stand an obscure chance dependent upon other results and score difference.
Sarsfields play Cullyhanna on Friday night who will be without their county players, Malachy Mackin and Ciaran McKeever, who will be on duty with Armagh on Sunday against Roscommon.
In the bottom half of division one, things look bleak for both Wolfe Tones and Clann Éireann, who are in the bottom two positions. The clubs will face off this weekend, however, and Clann Éireann may give themselves an outside chance with a victory.
Clan na Gael, however, who drew with Maghery recently and beat Granemore and were unlucky in several previous outings could be ready to push on for the rest of the season. A good run could see the Blues pip Carrickcruppin at the post.
This week’s series of games will decide which clubs will be in the top or bottom sections of the three Armagh leagues and, at the end of the club season, the top two sides will face each other for the league title with the top two sides in the lower section (bottom half) playing off for a shield. Three clubs from division one and division two will be relegated.
The second half of the leagues were due to start this Sunday, July 1, but have been put back to facilitate this weekend’s county game at Dr Hyde Park.
In the second half of the league, fixtures will be reversed and games will be on a one way basis. In the initial half of the leagues, the clubs with the biggest squads have fared the best as games were run off to a very tight schedule with some clubs on occasion facing three games inside a seven day period.
At the end of this week, following the deadline the final placings in all three divisions, all will be clear but whilst most of the local sides have struggled in division one, the same certainly cannot be said of Éire Óg, St Peter’s and St Paul’s. All three will be eager to build on good early season form before the championship season begins in late July.
If Armagh get a run in the All-Ireland series with county players being unavailable, some strange results can be expected between now and the end of the season.