Kevin Lynch’s, Bangher favoured to progress

Kevin Lynch’s v Ballinascreen

(Tomorrow, 2.00pm, Davitt Park, Swatragh)

Ciaran Herron scored the only goal of the abandoned game but he will not be available for this game as he was due to undergo an operation this week. He will miss the rest of the season

Last year Kevin Lynch’s were seeking their fifth successive championship title, and their seventh in eight years but Lavey summarily ended those dreams with a compressive victory against a lacklustre Lynch’s.

Now the Dungiven side are back on the championship trail and it’s a former Dungiven player Gabriel O’Kane who’s plotting their downfall at the first hurdle.

Remarkably, for a club that has enjoyed so much underage success in recent years, Ballinascreen’s last championship success was back in 1939 when they were completing back-to-back wins. The late Frank McWilliams played in that Ballinascreen team.

Ballinascreen will be able to call on several players with senior inter-county experience, Sean McBride, Aaron Kelly,and the Brunton’s, in a side that will also have a fair sprinkling of young, emerging players like Conal O’Kane who is a superb free taker and Cahan O’Kane.

Kevin Lynch’s are also packed with senior inter-county players, past and present, Kevin and Liam Hinphey, Mark Craig, Paddy Kelly, Paddy McCloskey, Eoighin Farren, Paul Sweeney, Fergal McGuigan and the returning Liam Craig all bringing a wealth of experience to the team.

Ciaran Heron’s absence will weaken Kevin Lynch’s challenge but they will still start as favourites to advance to a semi final meeting with Swatragh.

Lavey (Holders) v Banagher

Tomorrow, 6.00pm, Dungiven

Twelve months ago Lavey caused more than a mild upset, but a deserving victory nonetheless, when they started in whirlwind fashion against holders Kevin Lynch’s and held on comfortably to take the Fr. Collins Cup back to Gulladuff.

A lot has happened in the intervening period, Lavey winning just one league game, against Slaughtneil in the league, failing to field in their last game against Swatragh when the Davitt’s were hoping to be crowned league champions after a game.

In this league campaign they were hampered by the unavailability of many players at various and they shipped some heavy defeats as well as, significantly maybe, less serious defeats, 0-15 to 0-09 at Banagher in the first match and 4-09 to 1-12 to Banagher at Erin’s Own Park.

Now that Lavey footballers are out of the football championship the hurlers will have all their dual players available.

However two that are most unlikely to feature are Paul Hearty, who has a serious leg injury that will probably keep him out for the rest of the season, and Paddy Henry who sustained a hamstring injury when playing for Castledawson against Loup. There is also a doubt about the availability of Caolan O’Boyle and possibly Paul McVey

Still, they will have Stephen Henry back and this experienced Derry star will give them much needed experience.

Banagher could have Mark Lynch, Sean Marty Lockhart and Paul Cartin available, but they will be backboned by keeper Darrell McDermott, the McCloskey brothers, Ruairi, Oisin and Tiarnan, Peter O’Kane and the veteran Gregory Biggs.

Without their two scoring aces Lavey could struggle to get their championship defence off to a winning start, Banagher slightly fancied to win.