Championships start this week

THE Armagh All County Championships start this week against the backdrop of potential league stagnation.

The top flight has been thrown into turmoil over recent weeks as an ongoing saga involving an unplayed fixture between Dromintee and Crossmaglen has held up the split which separates the bottom eight teams from the top eight.

Things have become a little less complicated considering that Pearse Ógs’ recent win over their Armagh City rivals Harps has left three teams, namely Sarsfields, Granemore and Dromintee, if they are awarded the points from their unplayed game against Rangers.

In the interim period, the Competition Controls Committee, which governs club football in Armagh, has proceeded in handing fixtures to clubs who already know their standing.

In last Sunday’s encounter Clann Éireann defeated local rivals Wolfe Tones 0-11 to 1-7.

The fixture between Clan na Gael and Carrickcruppin was due to be played last night (Wednesday) in the Senior League but the Blues, thanks to goals from Sean Mackle, Diarmaid Marsden and Stephan Campbell, had a comfortable victory over Granemore in last Saturday’s All County Senior ‘B’ final on a scoreline of 3-10 to 0-7.

In the Intermediate final, fortune did not favour Éire Óg who lost due to a last minute penalty against Madden. The Pinebank outfit went down 2-9 to 2-10.

Meanwhile both St Peter’s and Eire Óg start their Intermediate Championship campaigns this week.

The Ógs have a tough encounter against Silverbridge at Abbey Park on Thursday (7.30) and Saturday sees the clash of St Peter’s and Shane O’Neill’s at the Athletic Grounds (6.30).

Although Killeavey, with Steven McDonnell back playing club football full time, would be favourites for the Intermediate series, stern challenges will come from Madden, Middletown, Keady and last year’s finalists Tír na nÓg.

St Paul’s, if they continue in their early season form, could also come into the reckoning.

The weekend after next, Senior Championship teams take full stage and it will probably be after these games are completed before any league games begin.

In the meantime club managers are busy arranging an unusual amount of challenge games while the division one saga continues.