Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship Preliminary Round
Drumhowan v Emyvale, Sunday, 12.30, Clontibret
Cremartin v Oram, Sunday, 2.15, Clontibret
Scotstown v Truagh, Sunday, 4.45, Emyvale
Aghabog v Clones, Sunday, 6.15, Emyvale
The JFC gets underway with four preliminary-round games on Sunday.
Kicking off the double-header in Clontibret is the clash of Drumhowan and Emyvale.
These teams shared six JFC titles between 2006 and 2014, with Drumhowan winning four and Emyvale claiming two. Drumhowan have yet to earn a point in this year’s JFL, while Emyvale (who were relegated in 2017) have taken seven out of eight points so far to sit second in the table.
Ryan McAnespie, Karl McQuaid, Daniel McMahon and James O’Neill could play key roles for Emyvale, while David Millar, Mark McCabe, Anthony Mulligan and Liam McGuirk are central to Drumhowan’s chances of reversing their recent form.
The other team to drop out of intermediate last year, Cremartin, have also started well in junior ahead of their championship clash with Oram.
Four straight wins have Cremartin top of the league, while Oram have yet to get their first victory of the campaign. Despite the transfer of Johnny McGuigan, Cremartin can call on county senior Barry Kerr, along with last year’s Monaghan minor captain David Hanley and the likes of Paddy McNally and Declan Farrell. Pauric Graham, Ryan McGuinness, Deaglán Crowe and goalkeeper Berat Turker are key for Oram, who reached the quarter-finals last year.
The double-bill in Emyvale starts with a local derby between Scotstown and Truagh.
Scotstown have been entering a junior team for several years at this stage, while this is a new venture for Truagh, whose closest brush with a JFL win to date came in a recent one-point defeat against Sunday’s opponents. Conor Forde, Ruairí Sheehan and Brian McGinnity could lead Scotstown’s challenge.
The last of the four games promises to be the pick of the round, with Aghabog and Clones going head to head.
Clones have lost just once in the league so far – by the narrowest of margins in Aghabog earlier this month – and they will be hoping to go further than in the last two years when they lost back-to-back JFC semi-finals to Seán McDermotts. All-Star nominee Fintan Kelly is the main man for Clones, who have James Mealiff back from injury and Darren Freeman having returned from Dublin club St. Vincent’s to help Adrian Alford and Eoin McQuaid with the scoring burden. Aghabog will need big performances from Damian and Dermot Smyth, Tyler O’Hanlon and Oisín Gleeson.
Senior Football League joint-leaders Carrickmacross and Scotstown are away to Truagh and Clontibret, respectively, on Saturday. Elsewhere, Ballybay host Inniskeen, Latton travel to Castleblayney and Monaghan Harps face Magheracloone.
Saturday’s Monaghan Electrical Intermediate Football League games include a repeat of last year’s JFC and JFL Finals between Seán McDermotts and Currin, who have both started well in the higher grade. There are local derbies between Donaghmoyne and Toome and Aughnamullen and Corduff, while Doohamlet travel to Killanny and Blackhill go to Tyholland.
Eurotech Junior Football League front-runners Cremartin are away to Rockcorry on Wednesday, with Éire Óg hosting Emyvale and Clones travelling to Drumhowan. Aghabog host Truagh, with Scotstown up against Corduff.
There is one Platinum Tanks Reserve Football League fixture on Sunday: Monaghan Harps v Éire Óg in Division 2B.
The Silver Hill Farm Development Hurling League round two takes place on Thursday evening. Castleblayney are at home to new entrants Mattock Rangers (Louth), with Truagh away to Craobh Rua, Camlough and Clontibret hosting Carrickmacross.
The juvenile football and hurling competitions also continue this week, with Féile qualification taking place in Cloghan on Friday night.