Glen v Loup (Sat, 3pm & 4.30pm) (Mervyn McAleese & Gregory McWilliams)
With three games played and three defeats to Lavey, Slaughtneil and Coleraine against their name, Loup will be keen to get off the mark when they travel to Watty Graham Park. They will probably be without the injured Aidan McAlynn so players like Brian Doyle, Joe O’Kane and Aidan McVey will be called upon to take command of this game. Glen have picked up two points against Coleraine and will be looking to distance themselves from the teams at the bottom.
Greenlough v Ballinderry (Sat, 4.30pm & 6.00pm)
(Joe Mulholland & Anthony Henry)
Greenlough have made a promising start on their return to top flight football, a draw with Ballinascreen, a narrow defeat at Dungiven and a win over Castledawson certainly a boost for Gary Coleman’s charges. However a visit from unbeaten league leaders Ballinderry will be their sternest test to date, even if the Shamrocks are not yet firing on all cylinders. One player who is at the top of his form is Conleith Gilligan and his scoring return could decide the outcome.
Kilrea v Ballinascreen
(Kieran Brolly & Terence McGilligan)
Ballinascreen have a home game against Banagher midweek before this visit to Pearse Park, their form so far patchy with a one point win over Castledawson and a fortuitous share of the spoils at Greenlough. Kilrea are scheduled to visit O’Cahan Park midweek but that game is doubtful. With wins over Newbridge and Bellaghy behind them Kilrea will be determined to maintain their unbeaten start.
Banagher v Castledawson
(Cyril Hargan & Daryl Buttress)
Whatever about the outcome of their midweek visit to Dean McGlinchey Park, it’s certain that Banagher will be targeting this game against fellow strugglers Castledawson at Fr. McNally Park. The visitors were badly depleted in the weekend defeat at home to Greenlough, with just five first choice players starting. They also lost Barry O’Kane during that game but Ruairi Shivers did come on as a replacement during the game.
Coleraine v Magherafelt
Brendan Quinn & Sean Mullan
Coleraine returned to something like their full strength for last weekend’s visit to Loup and a brace of goals each from Gregory Bradley and Conor Carey gained their first points after defeats to Glen and Ballinderry. Magherafelt started with a draw against Glenullin but defeats to Lavey and Slaughtneil have been setbacks. Emmett McGuckin will be a threat to the Coleraine defence but their young side face another testing hour.
Slaughtneil v Newbridge
(John Joe Cleary & Harry Tohill)
Newbridge would have been delighted to take a point from Lavey before the weekend game at O’Leary Park but having led 1-08 to 0-05 at half time a draw was a disappointment. They will be without the injured Michael Bateson and Ryan McElhone against Damian Barton’s side. Micheal Kelly came on as a replacement for Emmett’s last week, Paul Bradley and Jim Kelly the twin threats to the Newbridge defence.
Glenullin v Dungiven
(Dessie Loughery & Malachy McToal)
Dungiven have won their opening two games against Greenlough and Banagher but have struggled in both. They should have Gavan McLaughlin back in defence but could be without Paddy Kelly who was injured in Derry’s hurling defeat. The injury to Paddy Bradley is a horrendous blow to the player and the Mitchel’s who already have a lengthy list of absentees. Conrad Bradley is suspended while Dominic McIlvar, Stephen Mullan, James McNicholl, Neal Mullan and Dermot O’Kane are injured.
Lavey v Bellaghy
(Martin McErlane & Kevin Martin)
Lavey will be without Kevin O’Neill who was red carded against Newbridge, Bellaghy without Kevin Doherty who was red carded against Glenullin. Lavey are unbeaten in their three games, with wins over Loup and Magherafelt and a draw with Newbridge, Bellaghy losing to Kilrea either side of wins over Banagher and Glenullin. Bellaghy will look to Fergal Doherty to provide the midfield platform for their attack, while Lavey will need to get a supply to Caolan O’Boyle.