DIV TWO: Faughanvale face Slaughtmanus as Steelstown host city derby

There will be no love lost when local rovals Faughanvale and Slaughtmanus clash this weekend.
There will be no love lost when local rovals Faughanvale and Slaughtmanus clash this weekend.

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Slaughtmanus v Faughanvale (Sunday, 3.30pm)

Steelstown look strong favourites in this Sunday's city derby against Doire Trasna.

Steelstown look strong favourites in this Sunday's city derby against Doire Trasna.

This parish derby at Tamnaherin is sure to attract a bumper crowd. Slaughtmanus are up and running after a very poor start and Faughanvale have been going well from day one and will travel through Eglinton as favourites.

Slaughtmanus, under new manager Paddy Campbell, took a few games to get systems in place but now they can mix the defensive and attacking game well and look to have a settled side again which is moving in the right direction

Faughanvale, a young, strong and confident team, have been second best to their neighbours in recent years but the signs are that they are capable of dominating these games for some time to come.

Last time out, they were shocked by Drumsurn and have already turned their attentions to a tilt at the Intermediate Championship.

Faughanvale have Joe Gray, Eoin McElhinney and Kevin Martin in attack and they can cause problems for the home defence. There may not be much in it but Faughanvale are definitely on the rise qand should get back to winning ways

Verdict: Faughanvale to edge it

Moneymore v Desertmartin (Sunday, 3.30pm)

This clash of neighbours Moneymore and Desertmartin will have a lot of local pride at stake.

Moneymore have been going slightly the better of the two teams with their form up a few notches from last year. They have registered two wins and two draws from their six games and are two points better off than their opponents this weekend.

Desertmartin have missed the services of top scorer Declan Murray in recent games but they will be hoping to have him back for this one. His inclusion could be a deciding factor. Without him they may struggle to get the scores necessary to take something from this game.

Moneymore have been getting goals this year something they found hard to get last season. They have been doing well at the back, though both sides have been quite sound for teams in the lower half of the table.

Neither side is prolific in front of the posts but that ability to get goals could see Moneymore finish on the right side of the scoreboard as there won’t be much in it.

Verdict: Moneymore to net win

Craigbane v Foreglen (Sunday, 3.30pm)

Craigbane’s form has been below the expected level this year but they have had a number of retirements and injuries.

They face an in-form Foreglen team who have defeated Ballymaguigan and Castledawson in their last two games to reassert themselves as the only real challengers to Glenullin’s dominance, even if top spot already looks decided.

Craigbane used to be practically unbeatable at Gerry Crossan Park but they have lost two of their three at home this year to date but, again, as much to do with personnel losses as performance. They are selecting from a very limited pool of players and one or two injuries can be a deciding factor for the Lilywhites at present.

Foreglen have just dropped three points so far and they have not lost away from home. They will be Championship favourites with Glenullin playing in the Senior Championship but they will want to maintain the pressure at the top as well.

Craigbane depend heavily on Lee Moore but Foreglen look to have more options up front, particularly with Kevin O’Connor in top form.

Verdict: O’Brien’s to claim away win

Ballymaguigan v Lissan

Ballymaguigan’s early season form has slipped a bit and they have lost their last two games to Moneymore and Foreglen.

Lissan are improving after a poor start and they are capable of giving the St. Trea’s a hard hour on the lough shore.

Ballymaguigan’s only home defeat was to unbeaten Glenullin by a point, the closest any side has pushed the league leaders this season. Their biggest success was an away win at Steelstown. A repeat of that performnace would probably secure the points this weekend.

Lissan generally gave Ballymaguigan a hard game and this is unlikely to be no different but the points should still stay at home.

Lissan are second from bottom but four clear of Doire Trasna though this looks a fruitless trip.

Verdict: Home win for St. Trea’s

Steelstown v Doire Trasna (Sunday, 3.30pm)

This city derby looks to be tilted very much in favour of Steelstown who are finally up and running after a poor start to their league season.

They have won their last two games after losing the first four which has left them with little more than pride to play for in terms of the league. They would have been among pore-season promotion favourites but now their concentration will be championship.

Doire Trasna have not hit the same heights as last year and they don’t seem as fit as they were then. Eoghan Carlin and Enda Lindsay having been having problems getting their strongest side out and results have reflected that with the Pearses still seeking their first win.

Steelstown may have lost quite a few players from last year but they still have a core of very experienced players who would have sampled life in the first division and they are trying to bring some talented young players through.

Trasna are the team that looks to have the biggest struggle to stay afloat but unless they can rediscover some of last year’s spirit and style, this looks very much like a Steelstown victory.

Verdict: Comfortable Steelstown win.

Drumsurn v Castledawson (Sunday, 3.30pm)

Castledawson have had a few unexpected slip ups so far and they face a tricky enough away game at Drumsurn, a team that on their best day have the quality players to match any team in the division.

The problem that the ‘Dawson have had in some matches was a failure to close the game out but that said, they have a number of young players who will take some time to bed in.

Drumsurn will be without their Derry minor from last year, Michael Mullan, who suffered a serious knee injury in their last game at home to Doire Trasna but they showed their potential with a surprise 2-09 to 0-08 victory over Faughanvale at John McLaughlin Park, Greysteel. That result alone would tell ‘Dawson to be wary of the threat posed by a team sitting comfortably in the top half of the table.

Castledawson on their best form would be the favourites but the 4-10 to 2-10 home defeat to Criagbane in their last fixture suggests they need to tighten things up at the back. Both sides have eight points, ‘Dawson winning four from seven and Drumsurn three with two draws so this could go either way. Nothing in it but ‘Dawson get nod.

Verdict: ‘Dawson but nothing in it

Glenullin v Ballerin (Sunday, 3.30pm)

It was back in the 80s when these teams last met in league football meaning that most of Sunday’s participants were not born then.

Since then, Glenullin have won two Senior County Championships against one Junior Championship by Ballerin with the Mithcel’s seemingly on a cruise back to Division One.

Liam Bradley’s side has had a stroll in most of their games with only Ballymaguigan causing them any problems. Paddy Bradley has been scoring for fun and the outfield players have been supplying home well. The only ray of hope for the other teams chasing top spot would be Glenullin taking their eye off the league once the Senior Championship kicks in but it’s difficult to see anything other than first place for Glenullin.

Ballerin have won three and lost four but their defeats have all been by narrow margins so they have been competitive this season. This is a different level though and it is hard to see anything other than a clear cut Glenullin victory and another step toward automatic promotion.

Verdict: Clear cut home win