Another busy weekend lies ahead, with Inniskeen’s hurlers and the ladies footballers of Donaghmoyne and Truagh representing Monaghan in Ulster finals, while Corduff play their Ulster Club JFC replay. Closer to home, the Junior Football League Final takes centre stage on Sunday and there are also full rounds of games in the Senior and Intermediate Football Leagues over the weekend.
Gerry’s Fresh Fruit and Veg. Junior Football League Final
Cremartin v Seán McDermotts, Sunday, 3.00, Ballybay
There is plenty at stake this Sunday when Cremartin and Seán McDermotts go head-to-head in the final of the Gerry’s Fresh Fruit and Veg. Junior Football League.
Both sides have had narrow misses in the last 12 months, as Cremartin lost out to Corduff in last month’s JFC Final after a replay, while the Seáns were also beaten in a replay in last year’s JFL Final against Currin.
The teams finished level at the top of the league table on 26 points. The Seáns had a comfortable win in their first clash back in April, when they restricted Cremartin to just three points, but Cremartin got their own back with a two-point victory in June. Cremartin also edged past the Seáns by a point on their way to the JFC final, where they just missed out. The Shamrocks bounced back quickly, though, to ease past Corduff in the league semi-finals. The Seáns’ championship campaign met a disappointing end when they lost to Killeevan, but they have recovered with six successive wins in the league, including a nine-point semi-final success at the expense of Clones.
Cremartin rely very much on Darren Bishop for scores, as he hit 1-27 in the championship, which was almost half of his team’s total and he added 1-9 in a superb performance in the league semi-final. Niall Flanagan, Declan Farrell, Paddy and Johnny McGuigan, Barry Carragher and Kevin Brennan are also key players for Cremartin. Like Bishop on the other side, Damien Larkin is the main source of scores for the Seáns, who will also be looking for big performances from Páraic McGuirk, Mark McGuigan, James Treanor and Noel Rice.
AIB Ulster Club Junior Hurling Championship Final
Inniskeen v Cloughmills, Sunday, 1.45, Casement Park
Inniskeen’s hurlers go in search of another historic win this Sunday when they go to Casement Park to take on St. Brigid’s Cloughmills from Antrim in the Ulster Club JHC Final.
Inniskeen have already won their first-ever Monaghan SHC title this year and they went on to add the SHL to their honours, beating Castleblayney in both finals. They also enjoyed success in the Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland Hurling Sevens, where they won the shield competition. The Grattans eased past Lisnaskea from Fermanagh in their Ulster championship debut, before beating Craobh Rua Camlough from Armagh in the semi-finals.
Cloughmills beat McDermotts, Creggan and Glenravel to reach the Antrim JHC final, where they defeated Cushendun by 1-16 to 3-7. The St. Brigid’s hammered Mullahoran from Cavan in the Ulster first round and they then battled past Seán Mac Cumhaills of Donegal to book their place in the provincial decider.
The Antrim side are likely to have a strong support present at the Belfast game, particularly as their neighbours Loughgiel are in the senior final which takes place at the same venue at 3.30.
Inniskeen are backboned by a strong contingent of county players – Séamus Loftus, Trevor Hilliard, Ronan Meegan, Michael Lennon, Pauric Dowdall, Kevin Boylan and goalkeeper Gerard Ruddy – while Paul Meegan and David McGahon should also be to the fore. They are likely, however, to be without the injured Philip Brooks and the suspended PJ Boyle. Aaron Smylie, Conor Laverty, Michael Devlin, Stephen Smyth and Liam Kearns will be expected to lead the way for Cloughmills.
AIB Ulster Club Junior Football Championship Preliminary Round Replay
Corduff v Killyman, Sunday, 3.30, Inniskeen
Corduff replay their Ulster Club JFC preliminary-round game against Killyman of Tyrone in Inniskeen on Sunday.
The teams couldn’t be separated last Sunday even after extra-time. They were level at 1-9 each at full-time and they drew 1-12 apiece after the additional 20 minutes.
Corduff have already had one replay this month, as they needed a second attempt to beat Cremartin in the Monaghan JFC Final. Corduff had experienced little trouble in qualifying for the final, as they beat Fergal O’Hanlons, Clones, Killanny and Killeevan along the way. This is the south-Monaghan men’s fifth game in as many weeks, after last week’s draw, the two JFC finals and the JFL semi-final defeat to Cremartin.
Killyman beat Errigal Ciarán reserves, Glenelly and Dregish to reach last Sunday’s Tyrone JFC final, where they battled their way to a one-point win over favourites Stewartstown. Killyman conceded a late goal in that game which could have unsettled them, but they retained their composure to finish the job, thanks to a late point from Ciarán Óg Hughes.
George McKitterick’s emigration to Australia has left a void in Corduff’s forward-line, but they still have scoring power in the likes of Raymond Byrne, Keith McEnaney, Pauric Gollogly and Martin Mills. Declan Larkin has been an inspirational figure in a number of positions, while Ciarán Brennan, Shane McNally Jnr. and Gerry Mee are key men in defence.
Ciarán Óg Hughes, Seán Hughes, Ryan McKenna and Enda McGahan are among the main men for Killyman, who will again be missing Fintan McVeigh, who was shown a straight red card against Stewartstown.
In the six years since the Ulster Club JFC became an officially-recognised competition, the Monaghan and Tyrone champions have won three titles each, with the last two going to Drumhowan and Emyvale from Monaghan, so whoever eventually gets through this one will be fancied to go far.
Ulster Club Ladies Intermediate Football Championship Final
Truagh v St. Gall’s, Saturday, 2.00, Coalisland, Co Tyrone
Two Monaghan clubs contest Ulster ladies football finals this weekend, with the first of those games seeing Truagh go up against St. Gall’s from Belfast in Coalisland on Saturday. Truagh won the Ulster JFC in 2008 and they have continued their impressive progress this year, beating O’Neill Shamrocks in the Monaghan IFC Final, before easing past Devenish of Fermanagh and Armagh Harps in the Ulster quarter-finals and semi-finals. Both sides have been free-scoring, as Truagh have scored 10-25 in their two games, while St. Gall’s have hit 10-29 in their wins over St. Dympna’s (Tyrone) and Ardtrea (Derry). Natasha and Caoimhe Mohan, Rachel McKenna and Sarah Cuddy should be to the fore for Truagh.
Ulster Club Ladies Senior Football Championship Final
Donaghmoyne v Termon, Sunday, 2.30, Beragh, Co Tyrone
Donaghmoyne will be looking to continue their dominance of the Ulster Club SFC when they play Termon from Donegal in Beragh, Co Tyrone on Sunday. All-Ireland champions Donaghmoyne won their eighth successive Monaghan championship with ease this year, cruising past Monaghan Harps in the final, and they have beaten Lisnaskea (Fermanagh), St. Macartan’s (Tyrone) and Carrickcruppen (Armagh) to book their place in another provincial final.
With Cathriona McConnell in prolific form, having hit an amazing tally of 4-8 against St. Macartan’s, Donaghmoyne will fancy their chances of retaining their Ulster title. Sharon, Cora and Fiona Courtney, Majella Woods and Amanda Casey should also play central roles for Donaghmoyne. Termon will be relying on Geraldine McLaughlin and Maura O’Donnell, who between them accounted for all but a point of their team’s total of 6-7 in their Ulster semi-final victory against Down champions Bredagh.
The Drumlin Group of Credit Unions Senior Football League resumes after a seven-week gap on Saturday, when the penultimate round goes ahead, having been postponed due to replays in the SFC semi-finals and final.
Fresh from retaining their SFC title last Sunday, Clontibret return to league action with a home game against Ballybay, while Magheracloone will be looking to bounce back from their heartbreaking defeat when they make the short journey to Carrickmacross. Elsewhere, there’s a local derby between Scotstown and Monaghan Harps, while Castleblayney host Latton and Truagh travel to Drumhowan.
The final round of the Streamline Coaches Intermediate Football League takes place on Sunday, with only the order of the top four yet to be decided. The top two clash when Donaghmoyne and Doohamlet go head-to-head, although Doohamlet may have one eye on their Ulster Club IFC game against Sarsfields a week later. Third-placed Tyholland are away to already-relegated Emyvale, while Rockcorry play Currin and Aughnamullen meet Éire Óg in a pair of mid-table clashes.