Steelstown face tough test at bouyant Ballinascreen

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Steelstown will take great confidence from their Championship display against Loup last weekend but they face a tough return to league action this Sunday when travelling to take on a bouyant Ballinascreen.

The Ballyarnet men, who have been paired with Magherafelt ahead of next week’s championship round two, will be without influential full forward, Stephen Cleary for Sunday’s game.

Hugh McGrath’s side are in no relegation danger and will certainly give a good account of themselves at Dean McGlinchey Park.

However, Ballinascreen will come into this game in top form after their battling win over Slaughtneil in the championship.

Their young star, Benny Heron the man of the match in that game.

Coleraine v Craigbane

Craigbane put up a creditable performance against Banagher in the championship last weekend.

But will need to get a couple of league points soon to ease the threat of relegation.

Without Adie McCloskey, Lee and Rory Moore that will not be easy.

Coleraine are at the other end of the spectrum, going well in the championship and in the league title hunt.

With Sean Leo, Barry, Ciaran and Colm McGoldrick in top form, and Declan Mullan playing well, a tough hour awaits Craigbane.

Kilrea V Banagher

Banagher are at the wrong end of the table and will be without PJ McCloskey and Shane Farren.

And Padhraic Murphy is also likely to miss the game as he was red carded in the championship win over Craigbane last weekend.

Charlie Kielt was injured in the championship defeat to Dungiven and could miss this game but the return of Brian Og McAlary will help the Pearses who will look to James Kielt, Paddy McAlary and Lee Kennedy to deliver the points.

Loup V Bellaghy

Bellaghy will be without their talisman, Fergal Doherty after his injury in the championship defeat to Lavey, Joe Diver also a likely absentee.

They are not in any danger of being sucked into the relegation zone, Kevin Doherty, Michael McGoldrick, Eoghan Brown and Peter Cassidy hoping to give Loup a good hour.

Loup had to hold on in the closing stages against Steelstown in the championship but should win at home.

Swatragh V Ballinderry

Swatragh swept all before them last year in the Intermediate ranks with a league and championship double.

However, injuries to Ruairi Convery and Michael Kirkpatrick, and the absence of two or three other players, have hurt their Division One season.

And now they find themselves battling against relegation.

The Shamrock’s have also a host of injuries but, as they showed in the championship win over Newbridge they have a big panel.

Young players like Ryan Bell and Gareth McKinless were outstanding in that game - an away win the prediction for Sunday’s clash.

Newbridge V Magherafelt

Newbridge manager, John Mulholland will hope that his charges can carry their good form of the championship, even in defeat, into this vital game at Rossa Park.

They were without Michael Bateson who is their top player and they will need him in the closing stages of the league to assist young stars like Nathan Rocks and Peter McGrogan.

Magherafelt were in disarray for much of the game against Glenullin.

However they came to life late on to threaten Glenullin’s big lead. If they can sort out their off-field problems they have the personnel to get back to last year’s form at the back end of the season.

Slaughtneil V Glenullin

Slaughtneil played poorly against Ballinascreen, especially in attack where too many players were below form as they missed a succession of scoring chances. Chrissy and Karl McKaigue’s form held up in that game but they will need others to step up. Glenullin almost blew a big lead against Magherafelt and that sudden slump in the final quarter will worry manager Michael O’Kane.

Gerard O’Kane was in top form in the championship. This will be a tight game.