(Tomorrow, Reserve 5.15pm; Senior 7.00pm)
Magherafelt v Glen
(Barry Toland, Seamus McCamphill)
Both teams will see this as a four pointer as in recent seasons they have been in and around the bottom. Both are pretty youthful with a lot of the players on either team having faced each other in St. Mary’s v St. Patrick’s College games. Jared Monaghan and Johnny Bradley should have a good midfield battle where Glen might have the edge. They have definitely improved from last year and are capable of coming back to Maghera with the points.
Ballinderry v Loup
(Barry Cassidy Harry Tohill)
These teams have been great rivals for the past 75 years or more. A late great Loup man once quoted that the hardest game he ever played in was the 1935 South Derry final against Ballinderry and he finished by saying ‘we did not even have a ball for the last 20 minutes’. Ballinderry are the team in form and will be fancied to win but they will remember that in the corresponding game last year it was a similar situation and Loup held them. Now with home advantage the young and new look Shamrock’s should get both points as Loup are struggling a bit at present.
Castledawson v Kilrea
(Cyril Hargan G McWilliams)
This looks to be another tough outing for Castledawson against a very good Kilrea team who look good enough to be one of the main league challengers, although they suffered a heavy home defeat to Ballinascreen at the weekend. They will be without Jonathan Nelson who was red carded in that game. Still they showed in beating Bellaghy that they have a lot of quality. Castledawson, who had a morale-boosting win at Banagher, came up after a year in the Intermediate ranks and they will have to be all out to take anything from teams like Kilrea.
(Sunday, 5.30pm & 7pm)
Dungiven v Lavey
(Aidan McAlynn, Peter O’Connor)
Over the years these two teams have been great rivals and have produced some of the beat games ever seen in Derry. They may not have the quality of their former selves but there is still a keen edge in their meetings. Dungiven are unbeaten in three games, their two point margin over Glenullin a good result after conceding an early goal. Lavey have come on a ton over the past 18-months and will be taking on a Dungiven team with several under 21 players in their ranks. Dungiven will have to keep a close eye on the deadly Lavey duo of Paul Hearty and Caolan O’Boyle who have struck up a great partnership. Lavey look to have the edge in pace but will find that the solid young Dungiven team will not be easily overcome.
Bellaghy v Slaughtneil
(Sean Hamill & Ruairi O’Hara)
Last year Slaughtneil reached the league final and on their early season for they are heading the same way again. Bellaghy have been inconsistent and conceded a late penalty goal to draw with Lavey at the weekend. Slaughtneil have been as reliable as ever, even without their midfield powerhouse Patsy Bradley. Jim Kelly and Paul Bradley are still carrying the scoring can for Damian Barton’s men and they are likely to give the home defence an uncomfortable hour. However Fergal Doherty is likely to give Bellaghy a midfield pull and that could balance things out. It looks a tight one and it could end all square.
Greenlough v Banagher
(4.30 & 6pm)
(B Quinn, Marty Donnelly)
Both teams have drawn with Ballinascreen, Greenlough on three points, Banagher still on one after losing to Castledawson. Greenlough have started surprisingly well and with home advantage will give another good account of themselves. New manager Gary Coleman has them well organised but he will be hoping they don’t go into a defensive shell late on. This cost them full points against Ballinascreen and it saw them having to sweat it out for an away win at Castledawson. Banagher have been improving since a bad opening defeat against Bellaghy but have yet to get their first win. They will be without the suspended Ryan Lynch and could be minus the injured P.J. McCloskey and Peter O’Kane. They won’t be far away in this one. It is likely to boil down to a shoot out between Enda Lynn and Mark Lynch.
B’ascreen v Glenullin
(M McAleese, L McCormack)
Ballinascreen have been promoted as the team to beat this year and so far they have been unbeaten, a swashbuckling win over Kilrea their second win in four outings. Draws against Banagher and Greenlough and a fortunate home win over Castledawson were their other results but with the talent they have at their disposal they are sure to challenge. They beat Glenullin in the championship last year and have always given them lots of problems. With the unfortunate Paddy Bradley out for the season the Glenullin managerial duo of Basil and Colm Rafferty will be hoping that the likes of Eoin Bradley, Leigh Mullan and Niall O’Kane can take up the scoring cudgel. Glenullin have not had one of their better starts and this will be no easy task.