Round up of this weekend’s Div 1 games
Kilrea v Greenlough
With wins over Steelstown, Glen, and Dungiven, Kilrea are at the pinnacle after three games and will be expected to remain there after the visit of Greenlough even though they will be without several players key players. Enda McAleese and Eamon Morgan are suspended while James Kielt and Brian Og McAlary retired injured in the Dungiven game and may not be risked.
Greenlough are bottom of the table. Banagher, Bellaghy and Loup have all beaten them and Enda Lynn’s razor sharpness is currently in vain.
Lee Kennedy is irrepressible at the minute, as is Paddy McNeill. Kilrea should win.
Bellaghy v Slaughtneil
Bellaghy dropped their first point at Coleraine and will hope that Fergal Doherty has recovered from the head injury he received in that game against Eoghan Rua.
Paul Bradley and Jim Kelly have been on form and Magherafelt are the only winners over the Emmet’s this year so far. Gavin Devlin’s Bellaghy are one of four undefeated teams in the league and Eoghan Brown is firing on all cylinders but Fergal Doherty remains the powerhouse In the middle of the field. If fit, his battle with Patsy Bradley could be compelling.
Banagher v Ballinascreen
A home defeat to Coleraine before a heavy defeat to Slaughtneil on Sunday has seen Paul Diamond’s men stumble to back-to-back defeats after a win over Greenlough.
Last season’s league champions have suffered three defeats from three but it is somewhat of a false position. Tony Scullion’s men didn’t regroup until late in March and they went down to the rampant Ballinderry and Magherafelt in those games.
They will have more eyes on the late championship season this year but will also need to get some points on the board first and foremost.
Loup v Coleraine
Last year Loup lost their first five games. But five points from a possible six thus far will keep Kevin Madden happy at the minute though their challenges are about to get much tougher. Their first three opponents have registered just one point between them so they have had a relatively comfortable start.
Coleraine scrapped to a draw against Bellaghy. McGoldrick’s boys are battle-hardened already but will have been rocked by Gregory Bradley’s overnight stay in hospital following a collision against the Wolfe Tones.
They will have gained a bit of confidence from their draw with Bellaghy after a relatively shaky start but a trip to St. Patrick’s Park is never easy.
Lavey v Craigbane
Last year’s Intermediate champions followed up their first victory of the season with an impressive display against Ballinderry.
The Shamrocks were pushed the whole way down at Craigbane but the Lilywhites fell to another tight defeat. They are competingwell but now travel away from home again.
Lavey defeated the league champions in their only home game and will be glad to be back to Gulladuff. Caileán O’Boyle has started the season well but Lavey’s form has been erratic. Still they should get back to winning ways.
Ballinderry v Steelstown
What a contrast! Steelstown, new to top flight football but with a win to their name, Ballinderry with all the experience in the world and a winning bandwagon that just keeps rolling on! Ballinderry had to rescue victory when they travelled to Craigbane last Sunday with a late goal whilst Steelstown enjoyed their first senior success up in Ballyarnett.
They make the longest possible journey in Derry club football on Sunday and do so without the services of the Amsterdam-based Stephen Cleary once again. Of the two games Cleary has played, the city boys hit 0-19, with Cleary steering 14 of them over the bar. Steelstown are now pushovers but Ballinderry will be strongly fancied at Shamrock Park.
Magherafelt v Glenullin
What a start Gary Coleman has had with the Rossas! Coleraine, Ballinascreen, and Slaughtneil have proved no match for this current Rossa bunch as they have stormed to the top of the table with three wins on the bounce.
Emmett McGuckin taught ‘Screen a bit of a lesson at the weekend and he will want to uphold this when matched in the scoring stakes with Paddy Bradley who was also sensational against Lavey.
Glenullin’s home form has been crucial as they’ve won games with Paddy Bradley hitting six from play on Sunday.
They will need him and his brother Eoin, who is still trying to regain fitness, firing at Magherafelt but they meet a team with outstanding momentum right now. This could be their sternest test yet.
Glen v Dungiven
After losing Mark Craig and Cathal Grieve to two red cards the last day out, Emmett McKeever will now have to do without two key figures for the journey over the Glenshane on Monday night. Liam Hinphey could also be out through injury.
Glen afforded Steelstown their first two points in senior football when they registered just four scores in the city. Johnny Bradley was withdrawn in that game but he should be available for Monday. This one could go either way.