DERRY GAA: Division 1A heading toward exciting climax

Benny Heron's return should give Ballinascreen the edge against Dungiven this weekend.
Benny Heron's return should give Ballinascreen the edge against Dungiven this weekend.

H&A Mechanical Services ACL Division 1A

Slaughtneil v Lavey (Saturday, August 3rd, 6pm)

With still three games to play after this clash with Lavey at Emmett Park, Slaughtneil could find their third match a potential league decider against near neighbours, Glen, at Emmett Park on the last day of the season.

But before that they have a hugely difficult encounter away to resurgent Ballinderry so it is not going to be an easy run in.

The Emmet’s scored three second half goals to beat Dungiven who held them to 0-08 to 0-05 at half time.

This weekend they have a testing match at home mid-table Lavey who lost 0-13 to 1-05 at Ballinderry.

Lavey led 1-03 to 0-04 at half time at Shamrock Park, their goal coming late in the half from Cailean O’Boyle who Slaughtneil will no doubt keep a close eye on..

However, Lavey’s form has dipped in the second half and an inspirational display from Ryan Bell turned that game totally in Ballinderry’s favour.

This looks a bridge too far for Lavey on current form.

VERDICT: Emmet’s attacking instinct to win out

Ballinascreen v Dungiven (Sunday, August 4th, 2.30pm)

Ballinascreen go into this crucial game at Dean McGlinchey Park in the full knowledge that a win will almost certainly ensure safety from relegation.

A win would put them on eight points, six ahead of Dungiven with three to play and the advantage of a head to head win over St. Canice’s, putting them out of reach of their opponents.

Dungiven conceded three second half goals to Slaughtneil at the weekend and have the worst defensive record in this division with minus 60 score difference so it’s not difficult to pinpoint where the problems are.

Ballinascreen have three wins from their seven games. They edged out pointless Banagher at Fr. McNally Park with Shane Mulgrew scoring the winning point from a free in a 0-06 haul, Noel Rafferty and Emmet Duggan both scoring 0-03,

Benny Heron should be back to boost Screen’s victory push in a game ‘Screen will expect to win and one they should.

VERDICT: Heron’s return gives ‘Screen the edge​

Glen v Banagher (Sunday, August 4th, 2.30pm)

Banagher have not picked up a single point so far this season and that picture is unlikely to change for the better as they head across Glenshane to meet unbeaten league leaders, Glen, at Watty Graham Park.

Defeat in this game would be the final nail in their coffin as they are unlikely to win all three games in the final run in, somethig they would need to to stave off the threat of relegation.

Banagher’s season could be summed up by the fact they took the lead in the 57th minute at home to Ballinascreen but failed to hold on and lost 0-11 to 0-10!

Glen have dropped just one point in their seven games and were most comfortable 2-10 to 0-09 winners over Coleraine, with Danny Tallon and Tiarnan Flanagan getting the goals after Coleraine had missed a penalty but still led 0-07 to 0-05 at half time. Coleraine missed another penalty in the second half!

Michael Warnock will miss this game as he was red carded but this still looks comfortable for Glen.

VERDICT: Glen to continue title push with win.

Loup v Coleraine (August 4th, 2.30pm​)

Coleraine are in the unfamiliar position of a midfield placing with three wins, two losses and a draw from their seven games and, more significantly, find themselves with a negative scoring difference!

They missed two penalties in defeat to Glen and will be without the influential Barry McGoldrick, who was red carded, for the trip to St Patrick’s Park after an altercation with a Glen player.

Owen Roes have seven points and not in any real trouble but are more used to title chasing .

Loup took a hard-earned point at Swatragh with Anthony O’Neill bringing his tally to 0-28 with six pointed frees in his 0-07 tally.

A win for the home team would end any relegation worries they might have. Anthony O’Neill and Colm McGoldrick could be locked in a scoring duel that could go a long way to deciding where the two points go here.

VERDICT: Very tight but visitors to edge it.​

Magherafelt v Ballinderry (August 4th at 6pm)

Remarkably the Rossas find themselves on the verge of the relegation battle, three points ahead of Dungiven but with a game in hand, a position few would have predicted before a ball was kicked this season.

A point from this game at Rossa Park would end their worries but with midfielders Jarred Monaghan and Michael McEvoy both likely to miss the rest of the season through injury and Ballinderry the visitors, they may have to wait for another game to reach safety.

Ryan Bell scored 0-07 over Lavey in the last game and the ace forward (1-50) is the top scorer in the league and the man Magherafelt will have to stop.

Shane Heavron scored six points in Magherafelt’s heavy defeat against Bellaghy in their previous game.

This game has the hallmarks of a shoot-out between Bell and Heavron to decide outcome and it could go to the wire.

VERDICT: Ballinderry’s form is better and they should take points.

Bellaghy v Swatragh (August 4th, 2.30pm)

The Tones took a giant step away from the relegation zone when they scored a crushing 15-point win over Magherafelt at Rossa Park, the defeat plunging the Rossas to the periphery of the relegation zone.

Eoghan Brown (1-06), Peter Cassidy (1-04), Ruairi McElwee (1-02), Frankie Donnelly and Conleth McShane were the goal scorers.

Swatragh kept up their excellent form with Niall Coyle scoring a late point to earn a draw at Loup. James Kearney and Sean Kearney shared five points in a closely contested game at St. Patrick’s Park.

With both sides needing one win to end their relegation concerns there will be an edge in this game and there will not be much in what looks another tight game.

Tones will be looking for another big win but a good start could prove crucial for either side with not much in this one.

VERDICT: Tones to take honours in tight game