Ballinderry, Coleraine, Dungiven, Glenullin, Slaughtneil and Kilrea are still very much in contention for one of the top three title play off places, four points the margin from top to sixth place.
In the lower reaches Bellaghy and Banagher are on 7 points, Newbridge (5), Swatragh (4) and Craigbane (3) in the relegation zone.
Banagher did their hopes of avoiding the relegation battle with this ten point win over a Craigbane side that is now deep in relegation trouble.
Banagher got off to a scoring start with a pointed free from Mark Lynch in the 6th minute, the Banagher star firing home the only goal of the game two minutes later. Blaine Gormley from a free and Shane McMenamin got Craigbane on the scoreboard but Conor Lynch in the 14th, Mark Lynch from a free in the 20th, Eunan Murphy in the 21st and Gavan O’Neill in the 22nd minute put the visitors 1-05 to 0-02 in front.
Four minutes from half time Ryan Moore pointed a free from Craigbane, Eunan Murphy and Ruairi McCloskey responding before Brian Rainey closed the half with a point as Craigbane trailed 1-07 to 0-04 at the break.
Gary Lynch increased Banagher’s lead a minute into the second half, Mark Lynch from a free putting nine between the sides in the 34th minute. In the next five minutes Ryan Moore and Oisin McCloskey exchanged points, Blaine Gormley and Brian Rainey cutting the lead to 1-10 to 0-05. By the midpoint of the half Mark Lynch pointed two frees to leave eight between the sides.
Gavan O’Neill, Ciaran Lynch and Peter Hagan made it five points on the trot before Jude McLaughlin, Ryan Moore and Mark Lynch pointed frees and Peter O’Kane and Rory Gormley completed the scoring.
The Craigbane scorers were Ryan Moore 0-03, 0-01 free, Blaine Gormley 0-02, 0-01 free, Brian Rainey 0-02, Shane McMenamin, Jude McLaughlin free and Rory Gormley 0-01 each
The Banagher scorers were Mark Lynch 1-06, 0-06 frees, Eunan Murphy 0-02, Gavan O’Neill 0-02, Conor Lynch, Ciaran Lynch, Gary Lynch, Oisin McCloskey, Ruairi McCloskey, Peter O’Kane, Peter Hagan 0-01 each
Ballinderry came out of the blocks at a rate of knots and were 1-03 to no score ahead after seven minutes, and 1-04 to 0-01 in the lead by the 15th minute, Conleith Gilligan scoring the goal after seven minutes.
But then the the game changed in a flash, the Bannsiders putting Ballinderry to the sword with two cracking goals inside sixty seconds from Gregory Bradley and Ciaran McGoldrick to tie the scores at 1-04 to 2-01.
Just when the sides looked to end the half on level terms, 1-06 to 2-03, Conleith Gilligan scored a massive point from a 57 metre free to give Ballinderry the lead and finish the half with 1-03. Ciaran McGoldrick scored 1-02 for Coleraine.
For twenty minutes of the second half Coleraine looked the sharper side, with Ciaran McGoldrick causing the Ballinderry defence loads of trouble with his pace.
With ten minutes remaining Owen Roes had established a four point lead, two massive points from Barry McGoldrick catching, Ciaran McGoldrick hitting 0-03.
Between the 50th and 60th minute Ballinderry hit five unanswered points in between two Coleraine points to leave the sides all square heading into added time, two ‘wonder’ points from Ryan Bell central to the scoring surge. However Richard Carey hit a late point to tie the scores, Ryan Bell just off target from an added time ‘45’.
The Ballinderry scorers were Conleith Gilligan 1-03, 0-02 frees, Ryan Bell 0-04, Collie Devlin 0-02, Darren Lawn, James Conway, Daniel McKinless and Martin Harney 0-01 each
The Coleraine scorers were Ciaran McGoldrick 1-05, 0-04 frees, Gregory Bradley 1-00, Barry McGoldrick 0-02, Richard Carey, Colm McGoldrick and Ciaran Leneghan 0-01 each
Steelstown came back from three points down to score three unanswered points for a share of the spoils in a game that Loup looked to have in the bag.
Ciaran Devlin put Loup ahead with an early free and then added one from play after Anthony O’Neill scored the second point. Then Loup came back with points from Daniel Jackson 0-02 frees and James Jackson to level the scores at 0-03 each.
Loup regained control after Johnny McBride pointed a free for 0-04 to 0-03, with Anthony O’Neill, Roddy O’Kane and Paul Young extending their advantage to 0-07 to 0-03, Conan O’Doherty getting Steelstown’s last point of the half. Terence O’Brien pointed to put Loup 0-08 to 0-04 ahead at the break.
On the resumption Anthony O’Neill made the score 0-09 to 0-04, Daniel Jackson keeping Steelstown in touch with a point.
In the 46th minute the ball bounced over the head of Tony Ling and Anthony O’Neill pounced to hammer the ball to the net for 1-09 to 0-05. James Jackson responded with a point.
Three minutes from time Eamon Donnelly gave the city side hope with a goal, James Jackson and Mickey McKinney then pointing to leave one between the sides.
At this stage Loup had Roddy O’Kane sent off on a second yellow card and in the final act of the game Eamon Donnelly pointed a free off the inside of the post from an acute angle on the right for the equalising point.
The Loup scorers were Anthony O’Neill 1-03, Ciaran Devlin 0-02 frees, Johnny McBride free, Terence O’Brien, Roddy O’Kane and Paul Young 0-01 each
The Steelstown scorers were Eamon Donnelly 1-01, 0-01 free, Daniel Jackson 0-03, 0-01 free, James Jackson 0-03, Conan O’Doherty and Mickey McKinney 0-01 each
Without a stack of players Craigbane were simply outclassed from start to finish, trailing 2-11 to 0-04 at half time.
Paul Bradley landed three frees in the first half and also scored a goal, as did Enda McKaigue who also had a point. Ronan Bradley and Shane Kelly each scored 0-02, with Padrig Kelly, Bary McGuigan and Paudie McGuigan hitting singles.
In the second half Fergal McEldowney and Paul Bradley each hit three points, two of the latter’s from frees, as were Jim Kelly’s double. Ronan Bradley brought his tally for the day to 0-03 as the Emmet’s strolled to the easiest of victories.
The Slaughtneil scorers were Paul Bradley 1-06, 0-05 frees, Enda McKaigue 1-01, Fergal McEldowney 0-03,Ronan Bradley 0-03, Shane Kelly and Jim Kelly frees 0-02 each, Padrig Kelly, Barry McGuigan, Paudie McGuigan 0-01 each
Dungiven played against a very strong wind in the first half and led 0-07 to 0-01 at half time, a very, very under-strength Rossas very much under the cosh from a Dungiven side that started without seven of their first choice fifteen.
In the second half Kevin Boyle, who finished with 2-02, scored a brace of goals, Eoin Quigg (1-03) also netting.
With the wind behind them in the second period Dungiven continued to score freely against the severely depleted Rossas.
The Magherafelt scorers were Paul McQuillan and Conor Bell 0-02 each, Thomas Niblock, John Young and Shea Murphy 0-01 each
The Dungiven scorers were Kevin Boyle 2-02, Eoin Quigg 1-03, 0-01 free, Fergal McGuigan 0-03,Darrell O’Kane 0-03, 0-02 frees, Sean Murray 0-03, Kevin Johnston 0-02 and Stephen McGuigan 0-01
The Dungiven team was Kevin Farren; Marty McCloskey, Gavan McLaughlin, Sean Lynch;
Davie McLaughlin, Mark Craig, James McNicholl; Kevin Johnston, Sean O’Kane; Kevin Boyle, Kevin Hinphey, Sean Murray; Eoin Quigg, Darrell O’Kane, Stephen McGuigan
In the second half the substitutions were Ciaran Mackle for Marty McCloskey, Fergal McGuigan for Kevin Hinphey, Padraig McCloskey for Mark Craig, Cathal Grieve for Darrell O’Kane and Craig Chewning for James McNicholl.
Ryan McElhinney, Donal McGilligan, Aaron McCloskey and Liam McElhinney played no part in the game.
This game was played at Owenbeg in damp, slippery and blustery conditions, neither side at championship strength, although Eoin Bradley came off the bench for the second half and scored 0-05, 0-03 from frees to have a serious impact on a game that was well within Ballinascreen’s compass to the final quarter.
Ballinascreen probably had the better of the possession stakes but their distribution was as poor as their finishing and that, and indiscipline in the final quarter, cost them a game that they could have won.
Eamon Turner had a fine game for the Mitchel’s and seemed to be here there and everywhere to pick up loose ball, of which there was plenty for him to gobble up in both halves.
There was little to choose between the sides for most of the first half as Benny Heron and Dermot O’Kane exchanged early points, as did O’Kane from a free and Phillip Bradley from distance, and then Gerard O’Kane and Seamus Bradley before Gerard O’Kane, Dermot O’Kane from a free and Paddy Bradley from a free in the 27th minute for 0-06 to 0-03.
Three minutes later Mickey McBride ran onto a pass from Benny Heron to slam the ball to the net to level the scores. Benny Heron scored a terrific point from the ‘45’ metre line, Phillip Bradley then pointing a 35 metre free when Eunan Murray was tripped to give Ballinascreen a 1-05 to 0-06 interval lead.
Paddy Bradley pointed a free on the resumption, Seamus Bradley restoring the half time margin at 1-06 to 0-07.
The Eoin Bradley began to weave his magic, two superbly points from play levelling the score ten minutes into the half, one from a free putting the Mitchel’s 0-10 to 1-06 ahead. Ballinascreen had two chances to hit back but the finishing was awful on each occasion.
Midway through the half Emmett McKillion hit a wonderful point from the right wing . Dermot responded from a free for 0-11 to 1-07.Paddy Bradley and James McNicholl put three between the sides, Benny Heron pointing a free on the ‘45’ metre line Back came Glenullin with two pointed frees from Eoin Bradley, Emmett McKillion converting a free from an acute angle to finish the scoring.
The Glenullin scorers were Eoin Bradley 0-05, 0-03 frees, Dermot O’Kane 0-04, 0-03 frees, Paddy Bradley 0-03, 0-02 frees, Gerard O’Kane, Dominic McIlvar and James McNicholl 0-01 each
The Ballinascreen scorers were Benny Heron 0-03, 0-01 free, Mickey McBride 1-00, Seamus Bradley 0-02, Phillip Bradley 0-02, 0-01 free, Emmett McKillion, Eunan Murray 0-01 each
Kilrea had three quarters of the possession in this game but struggled to put away a battling Tones who enjoyed a 1-03 to 0-05 interval lead, courtesy of a 30th minute penalty goal from Ruairi McElwee.
Bellaghy struggled for scores with Peter Cassidy and Eoghan Brown contributing 0-05 between them. Kilrea had major contributions from Enda McAleese, Lee Kennedy and James Kielt who scored 0-07 between them.
The Bellaghy scorers were Ruairi McElhone 1-01, 1-00 pen, Peter Cassidy 0-03 and Eoghan Brown 0-02
The Kilrea scorers were Enda McAleese 0-03, James Kielt 0-02, Lee Kennedy 0-02, Paul McNeill, Jack Kielt, Niall Gorman and Stephen Johnston 0-01 each
This was a low scoring encounter at Fr McNally Park, Mark Lynch and Declan McKeever scoring the goals in the first half as Banagher took a 1-06 to 1-02 to the break. Danny Mulholland scored both Newbridge points, one from a free.
Oisin McCloskey, Brian Óg McGilligan, Conor Lynch, Paul Cartin, Eunan Murphy and Mark Lynch from a free scored for Banagher.
Mark Lynch scored all four Banagher points in the second half, 0-03 from frees, with Gerard Burke and Nathan Rocks getting the two O’Leary’s points.
The Banagher scorers were Mark Lynch 1-05, 0-03 frees, Oisin McCloskey, Brian Óg McGilligan, Conor Lynch, Paul Cartin, Eunan Murphy 0-01 each
The Newbridge scorers were Declan McKeever 1-00, Danny Mulholland 0-02, 0-01 free, Gerard Burke and Nathan Rocks 0-01 each.
Ruairi Convery came on as a second half substitute and scored three invaluable points for relegation threatened, including the late winner when the sides were locked at 1-11 each.
Swatragh led 0-08 to 1-04 at half time, the Lavey goal from Sean Toner on the cusp of half time, Caolan O’Boyle 0-02, Caolan McGurk and Kevin O’Neill getting their points.
Liam Kearney scored the Swatragh goal in the 40th minute, Convery’s cameo role in the second half giving the Davitt’s a life line in Division 1.
The Lavey scorers were Caolan O’Boyle 0-05, Caolan McGurk 0-03, Sean Toner 1-00, Kevin O’Neill, Colm Murphy and Damian Shivers 0-01 each
The Swatragh scorers were Liam Kearney 1-00, Brian Diamond 0-03, Seamus Kearney 0-03, Ruairi Convery 0-03, James Kearney 0-02 frees, Thomas Óg Gunning 0-01