Saturday: Reserve - 5.30pm;
Senior - 7.00pm
Drumsurn v Faughanvale
They will both come into this game on the back of excellent opening day wins, Faughanvale comfortable victors at home to a fancied Lissan side, Drumsurn facile winners over newly promoted Doire Trasna. Under new manager Joe Irwin, Drumsurn will be hoping to build on the promise of last year but with so many players working away from home, Irwin’s task of welding a side together must be difficult. Inconsistency was a problem last year but new manager Adrian Creane will now look to match their win over Lissan with one on the road. Might not be easy!
Sunday: Reserve - 2pm
Senior - 3.30pm
Swatragh v Desertmartin
Just when they were on the verge of putting last year’s collapses behind them, and getting off to a winning start against fellow promotion seekers Castledawson, Swatragh were mugged in the closing minutes as the Broagh side hit two late goals to snatch victory. They will want to have Ruairi Convery and Michael Friel back in tandem around the middle of the field with James Kearney rather quickly if they are to get back on track and build a winning run. And talk of ‘sucker-punches’, the Martin’s grabbed a late point to share the spoils with Ogra Colmcille. They might not be so lucky against a smarting Davitt’s.
Slaughtmanus v Doire Trasna
With so many players not yet back in harness Slaughtmanus travelled to Limavady more in hope than expectation but they came away with a convincing and morale-boosting victory that will set them up nicely for the visit of Doire Trasna. The promoted Waterside side might have hoped for a better start than an eight point home defeat to Joe Irwin’s Drumsurn side and now they face another difficult examination at Slaughtmanus.
Ballerin v Castledawson;
Two of the winners from the opening day clash in what might be considered a ‘David and Goliath’ clash at Sarsfield Park. Castledawson looked to be heading for a first match defeat at Broagh but then hit the Davitt’s with a ‘double whammy’ in the closing minutes. It was a wake-up call and a boost and they will be fully focused as they look for two points to give them the foundation for a quick return to top flight football. Ballerin did well to defeat Moneymore for the first time in over 20 years but Castledawson will not be as accommodating.
Ogra Colmcille v Limavady
Ogra Colmcille showed their growing maturity under manager Paddy McGuigan when they were disappointed to take only a point from their visit to Desertmartin. They have aspirations of finishing, if not in the top half, certainly well clear of the relegation issues. And they should take another step towards that goal with a home win over a Wolfhounds side that was well and truly beaten by a rampant Slaughtmanus. They could suffer another heavy defeat unless they show more bite.
Lissan v Newbridge
The loss, and absence, of key players blighted Newbridge’s hopes of retaining their Division 1 status last year, the loss to Steelstown in the play-off sending them tumbling to the Intermediate ranks. Still they were expected to prove too strong for Division 2 sides and that could yet be the case but last week’s home loss to a depleted Foreglen was not in the script. They have a number of excellent players but the absence of Michael Bateson and Eamon Burke makes them vulnerable. Lissan might have fancied their chances away to Faughanvale but they were lack-lustre against a sharp Faughanvale and home advantage might not be enough to stop the O’Leary’s.
Foreglen v Ballymaguigan
After their, maybe, unexpected win over Newbridge without Kevin O’Connor and two or three other first choice players, Foreglen will hope to have O’Connor back from injury, and some of the others available for this huge clash of the Green and Gold. Seamus Doyle will be buoyed with the opening day win over Claudy, despite the seven point scoring glut that almost ruined their winning start but he will be too experienced not to be wary of a visit to O’Brien Park. This is one that could go either way.
Claudy v Moneymore
(Res: Noon, Sen 1.30pm)
Despite run of seven points from Marty Donaghy, Claudy just came up short at Ballymaguigan to the only goal of the game and their young side will be keen to get points on the board early in the season. Moneymore fielded just seven of their championship side from last year but their fans will have to be patient as they face a period of transition. They were well beaten by Ballerin but did put up a plucky display. They will need a bit more than that at O’Neill Park.