Lurgan clubs St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s are bracing themselves for end of season drama as the final round of Division One league games are set to decide which teams will face the drop.
Just five points separate the bottom eight teams in the First Division with Dromintee, Carrickcruppin and Whitecross on 12 points, Shane O’Neill’s sit on 11, Culloville and Killeavey both have 9 points on the board, St. Peter’s have 8 and St. Paul’s are at the foot of the table with 7 points.
While all remaining fixtures are important, two stand out matches will decide which three clubs will play second division football next season.
St. Paul’s will need a minor miracle if they are to avoid the drop. Shane McConville’s side, who are in Championship mode, travel to Shane O’Neill’s in their last game but a win against the odds would not guarantee the Teghnevan men a relegation play-off spot.
The St. Peter’s against Culloville game and Killeavey’s meeting with Dromintee are the ties which will decide which clubs will go down.
The Whites had a fantastic win over Carrickcruppin last weekend, a result which has thrown the North Street men a life line.
If Killeavey are beaten by Dromintee, St. Paul’s lose and the Whites beat Culloville, St. Peter’s will avoid the drop.
This seasons one way leagues despite being criticised in some quarters have been highly competitive, at the top of the table Maghery have lost the lead which they have held since the start of the season.
Armagh Harps are now in pole position and will be crowned champions if they win their last league game, the runners up spot will be contested between Maghery and Pearse Ogs who have a game in hand over the Lough Shore club.
The Intermediate semi-finals will be played over the weekend of 20th and 21st of September. The draw was made last weekend and the pairings will see Mullaghbawn play Maden and the other semi-final will be between St. Paul’s and Tir na Nog. While it has been gathered that a double bill at the Athletic Grounds is an option, local fans will be hoping a North Armagh venue will be chosen to host the Tir na Nog against St. Paul’s match.
At the semi-final stage last Season St. Peter’s and Wolfe Tones contested an Intermediate semi-final at Clann Eireann Park and as a result a big crowd attended the game which would be unlikely if the Athletic Grounds was chosen for the forthcoming All North Armagh semi-final.
Last weekend both Clan na Gael and Wolfe Tones crashed out of the series at the quarter-final stage the Clans lost to an ultra defensive Mullaghbawn outfit and the Tones were comfortably beaten by Madden. Tir na Nog’s position as favourites to win the Intermediate title would have strengthened following their hard fought win over Grange and the Portadown men would appear to have the easier passage to the final, a scenario which would suit St. Paul’s who have showed battling qualities this season despite the fact they look destined to be relegated from the first division. Tir na Nog are having an amazing season and are unbeaten in both league and championship football to date.
There are two B games scheduled for this Saturday which involve local clubs. At ‘Trasna the Sarsfields will play Maghery, 6,00pm throw-in time and also on Saturday St. Paul’s will play Armagh Harps, 6.00pm. Ballyoran sides scoring ratios are impressive and with the second division title secured they are still the team to beat in the Intermediate series.
Wolfe Tones, who won last seasons under 14 Division 2 All County Championship final defeating Sarsfields, will attempt to win the under 16 decider when they play St. John’s on Saturday at the Athletic Grounds,
The Derrymacash lads will be featuring in a treble bill of juvenile finals which sees Carrickcruppin face Belleek and in the Division 3 showdown Killeavey play an exceptional Crossmaglen outfit. The Tones under 16 final will take place at 2.30pm.