Drum v Magilligan (Friday, Owenbeg, 7.30pm)
This is an interesting tie featuring the only team that has managed to defeat Championship favourites, Faughanvale, in Junior Football this season.
That league victory set St. Colm’s up as ‘Vale’s main challengers for this championship and they remain so despite the three point defeat St. Mary’s inflicted on them in the last round after what was an intriguing tie.
And considering Faughanvale disposed of Magilligan by 1-19 to 1-06 in the round previous, it shows the ground St. Aidan’s must make up this weekend. Championship football is never that clear cut, however, and there is no love lost between these sides who have been keen rivals over recent years.
Magilligan will set up defensively and Drum often struggle when they are expected to carry the game to the opposition. Chances are St. Aidan’s will allow Drum possession and hope to hit on the counter so Drum need more from their front two of Rory O’Reilly and Ryan O’Hara than they got against Faughanvale.
Magilligan eased past Doire Colmcille to reach this stage but this is a major step up and they need scores from the likes of Ciaran O’Hare, Conor McFeely and James Payne.
James McCartney normally provides Drum with the option to vary their kick-outs but Vale managed to crowd him out and that left Drum slightly one dimensional and they found it difficult to constantly build from deep.
St. Colm’s should have Conor O’Kane available despite struggling with an injury for the last couple of weeks while both Ryan O’Kane and Ryan O’Hara will be home for the game.
The blanket defence is the obvious course of action against a mobile, fast moving unit like St. Colm’s but Magilligan must ensure they carry a threat at the other end.
Drum won both league fixtures (0-8 to 0-5 and 1-8 to 0-5) and another clean sheet you suspect would almost certainly mean they are in the next round. It won’t be easy, but Drum should win.