DIV TWO: Glenullin backed to win battle of '˜Top Two' against Foreglen
H&A Mechanical Services Division Two
Foreglen And Glenullin
The two teams relegated last year clash at Owenbeg in a game that could well decide who gets back to senior football. Both have started well and they look to be the best two teams in the division. When they met in the league at Foreglen last year, the home team had a comfortable victory and that signalled the worst season Glenullin had in nearly 40 years of senior football.
With Liam Bradley back at the helm and quite a few changes in their ranks, Glenullin will be favourites to win and go through the league unbeaten. They cruised past Slaughtmanus in round one and defeated Steelstown. Paddy Bradley is still the fulcrum of the attack and he is most likely to be marked by Foreglen and Derry defender, Oisin Duffy. If Duffy can curtail him, Foreglen’s chances will brighten. On the other side of affairs Kevin O’Connor is flying for the O’Brien’s. He is to Foreglen what Paddy Bradley is to Glenullin. Foreglen might have the edge in pace but Glenullin have in form players like Neil McNicholl who can hit over long range scores. It will be a tightly contested affair but on form Glenullin look to have the match winning formula.
Verdict: Glenullin to lay down marker
Ballyguigan v Slaughtmanus
Slaughtmanus make the across the county trip to Ballymaguigan where they take on a good home team who got a draw against Craigbane in the first round.
Slaughtmanus, as expected, are quite defensive under new manager Paddy Campbell and need to be more offensive here. Ten points from two games and six of them from frees is not very encouraging for the St. Mary’s.
Ballymaguigan play to their strengths and get the ball to their attack as quickly as possible. Both teams have loads of experience and there has not been a lot between them in the past.
Slaughtmanus are not particularly strong in attack but when Kevin King hits the form he can be a match winner. The more straight forward approach of the St. Trea’s, coupled with the excellent free kicking of Gary Burke should keep the points at home. Gavin McShane and Ryan Barr are deadly from placed balls but Ballymaguigan got a good away victory against Drumsurn last week and should win again.
Verdict: Ballymaguigan to claim points
Moneymore v Steelstown
Steelstown players will have to move sharply after work to get to Moneymore for the starting time!
They will also have to move sharply on the field at a venue where they have always found points hard to collect in the past. The Brian Ogs have been unfortunate to play the top two teams Foreglen and Glenullin in their opening games, losing both.
Moneymore have the ability to improve on last year’s poor showing and while they will be the underdogs here they cannot be ruled out. Their away win at Slaughtmanus last Sunday was a top class result. While they may have weaknesses in some areas, particularly in the scoring department, they do play with a lot of spirit. They also have individuals like Christy Young, Jack Barton and the irrepressible Paudie O’Neill who have great leadership qualities. The Brian Og’s have not made the best of starts but remain a well balanced side who are at their best on a dry sod. Emigration has bit deep into the team that attained first division status and they are in the process of rebuilding. They might just do enough to get a result here.
Verdict: First win for City men.
Doire Trasna v Faughanvale
Doire Trasna have built up a very well balanced side over the past three seasons but they have not got off to as good a start as expected.
The Waterside club take on a young and promising Faughanvale team that has the ability to push for senior football in the next two or three years. In the meantime player manager, Joe Gray, will be allowing them to mature. They ground out a low scoring win over Ballerin on Sunday with the free taking of Gray a key component.
Trasna have a good recent record against the St. Mary’s and will make it difficult for the visitors on the wide open spaces of Lasnagelvin. However, Pearses have also been hit by the loss of key personnel from last year’s squad who has put a strain on the squad.
Apart from having good young players, the Faughanvale boys are also physically strong. Maybe they could be tighter at the back but up front, Kevin Martin and Eunan Murray, will stretch any defence. Doire Trasna have the ability to cause an upset but perhaps the stronger looking Faughanvale attack could be the decider in what looks a close game .
Verdict: Close but ‘Vale can shade it.
Lissan v Drumsurn
Lissan have a good home record and will fancy their chances of upsetting Drumsurn at Tullynure.
On the opening day, Drumsurn won at Moneymore and Lissan lost at home to Castledawson but both games were played in very heavy conditions. Drumsurn are expected to be without the injured Ciaran Mullan and his absence would be a major blow.Lissan had a decent run last year and finished well up the table. They will be hoping to follow that kind of form again. Drumsurn have a lot of skilful footballers and they too had a good 2015 league campaign. If they can maintain a bit of consistency this term they will finish in the upper half.
The home team have some good high fielders like Michael Quigley in midfield and a very effective full forward in Patrick Coey. Drumsurn look to have the edge in attack through Pierse McNickle who is an excellent free taker. While Lissan lost away to Craigbane last week there ere encouraging signs and if they can get enough ball to Paddy Coey it could turn things in their favour.
Verdict: How advantage the key.
Ballerin v Castledawson
When these teams met at The Broagh last year, Castledawson won by the proverbial bagful as the Sarsfield’s endured an entirely forgettable season.
This time Ballerin have home advantage but they still have a very stiff task against the ever consistent St. Malachy’s who have won both their games to date. Good under age structures have ensured that Castledawson will always have young players filtering through to the senior ranks. They have realigned their team this year with former defender Dara Shivers now an accomplished goalkeeper. Manus McAllister, Conor Taggart and Niall Keenan are excellent teenage corner-backs while the likes of Gary Chesney and Aidan Keenan have been making an impression. The skilful Niall McNicholl conducts the orchestra from centre half back.
Ballerin are well improved from last year with Gary Keane and Eugene Mullan dangerous forwards. They have never defeated Castledawson in this league and may have to wait for another year.
Verdict: ‘Dawson deliver another win