H&A Mechanical Services ACFL Division 1A (Friday, 7.45pm)
Swatragh v Ballinderry
The Davitt’s will be determined to consolidate their top three finish for their best ever league season in the top flight.
They shared the spoils with Magherafelt in their midweek refixed league game to move onto 13 points from nine games and are now three points ahead of Lavey with the Shamrock’s one pointy further back.
Ryan Scott was red carded in Ballinderry’s 12 points defeat at home to Slaughtneil and will now miss the trip to Swatragh.
Once again scoring machine, Ryan Bell, was Ballinderry’s leading scorer as he finished with 0-08 to bring his league tally to 1-68.
With Swatragh to meet Coleraine and Ballinderry to meet Ballinascreen in the final round of games, the championship will now be the focus as neither can impact the top of the table.
VERDICT: Swatragh to continue good league run.
Glen v Lavey
This penultimate league game of the season is not really of any significance for Lavey who have 10 points from nine games and sit fourth with one game to play after this trip to Watty Graham Park.
They had a comfortable five points win over Ballinascreen in their last game with Shane McGill (1-03) and Cailean O’Boyle (0-04) the main marksmen.
After this, Lavey have a home game to finish their league season. Then it will be championship action against neighbours, Greenlough, at Owenbeg.
After they host the Erin’s Own, Glen will journey to Emmet Park to face Slaughtneil in their last game. If both sides win their respective games, that final round head to head will be for the league title, a win for either side securing the title.
If there’s one point between the sides going into this game, a draw would be sufficient for Glen to take the crown. Glen open their championship against Loup at Owenbeg.
VERDICT: Glen to maintain unbeaten record.
Loup v Dungiven
St. Canice’s players will make the long journey to the Lough Shore with heavy hearts to face Loup in what for them will be a ‘dead rubber’.
For the first time since 1982 Dungiven have been relegated to Division 1B for the 2020 season.
In 1982, as a result of incidents in the county final, both Dungiven and Ballinderry were suspended and were unable to finish their league programme and relegated as a result.
With Loup easily beating bottom club, Banagher to reach seven points, that meant that Dungiven’s loss to league leaders, Glen, put them five points adrift of Loup with two games remaining.
A late goal from Daire McKeever reduced the margin to two with against Banagher with Caolan Devlin (1-04), Ciaran Devlin (1-03), Craig O’Kane (1-00) and Michael McVey (1-00) doing most of the damage.
Loup will be expected to pick up the points against shell shocked Dungiven.
VERDICT: Loup to rub salt in Dungiven wounds
Ballinascreen v Slaughtneil
Ballinascreen have won four and lost five on their league games and sit level with Bellaghy on eight points as they entertain Slaughtneil in the penultimate game of the league season, Ballinderry their visitors on the final day.
With Banagher and Dungiven having already dropped through the relegation trapdoor, ‘Screen are free of worries and can prepare for the Owenbeg meeting with Kilrea in the championship.
No such luxuries for Slaughtneil as they have a crucial game against league leaders, Glen, on the last day of the season. They are one point behind Glen, and they will not want to hand the title to Glen ahead of their visit to Emmet Park.
Slaughtneil had a crushing win over Ballinderry in their last game with Christopher Bradley scoring 1-05 and Shane McGuigan 0-06. For their part ‘Screen were four points adrift of Lavey in their last game, Shane Mulgrew and Benny Heron sharing nine points.
VERDICT: Emmet’s will set up Glen shoot-out
Magherafelt v Coleraine
Owen Roes have had an indifferent season by their own high standards with four wins, four defeats one draw from their nine games.
It’s not the kind of form that inspires confidence, especially with their championship game against tonight’s opponents at Owenbeg looming large on the horizon.
In their weekend match at home to Bellaghy they led by a point at half time but the Tones gradually built a four-point lead and a Shea McLaughlin goal came too late for Owen Roes to snatch a late score.
The Rossas form has been just as erratic as that of their visitors, a crushing defeat to Bellaghy pushing them into the lower reaches of the league. However, they have rallied to get a win and a draw has taken them to safety.
These sides will meet in the championship in September, so expect a bit of ‘shadow boxing’ in this game and with little on the line, it’s not likely to be a thriller.
VERDICT: Rossas inflict more pain on Owen Roes
Bellaghy v Banagher
Banagher’s stay in the top flight has been short-lived as Loup’s victory over them at Fr McNally Park put pay to any fleeting hopes they might have harboured, snuffed them out mercilessly by a 16-points margin.
Mark Lynch pointed four frees of their 0-08 tally but Loup scored two goals in each half to score a facile victory which confirmed a relegation on the cards from a few weeks out.
Now St. Mary’s head to Bellaghy with only pride to play for, a home game against Magherafelt on the last day of the season their final game of what has been a very difficult season.
To date they have lost all nine games so they will be trying to break their losing sequence. In their last game Bellaghy had a one-point win over Coleraine, Ruairi McElwee (0-06) and Peter Cassidy (0-03) their main scorers.
These sides will meet in the championship in September so won’t want to give anything away to each other.
VERDICT: Comfortable Tones win