Corduff v Cremartin, Saturday, 2.00, Aughnamullen
Corduff and Cremartin return to Aughnamullen for the replay of the Harte Peat Junior Football Championship Final after last week’s entertaining draw.
Cremartin got off to a flying start with an early goal from Kevin Brennan and they led by 1-4 to 0-5 at half-time, they started the second half in a similar fashion to take a four-point lead. Corduff hit back, though, as they hit 1-4 without reply to lead by three with just six minutes left. Cremartin kept their cool, however, as three points from Darren Bishop made it 1-10 apiece at the death.
Both clubs spent a number of years in intermediate football before being relegated last year – as Cremartin were in the second division for five successive years after their 2004 JFC success, while Corduff had been there since winning the JFL in 2005. In fact, both teams reached the semi-finals of the IFC in recent years, as Corduff were narrowly beaten by Monaghan Harps in 2006 before Cremartin lost to Truagh in 2007. Both teams would have had promotion in their sights rather than relegation, but after last year’s setbacks in what was the most competitive intermediate league for some time, at least one of them are set to bounce back. Cremartin have won the JFC five times, while Corduff are going for their fourth success at this level.
The teams have each gone through the front door to reach the final. Corduff started with a comprehensive defeat of Fergal O’Hanlons in the preliminary round, before battling through their first-round game against Clones. They saw off Killanny to book their place in the semi-finals, where a brace of goals from George McKitterick helped them past the challenge of Killeevan.
Cremartin held off a late charge to beat Blackhill in the first round, when they made hard work of it, as after opening up a nine-point lead, they kicked 12 wides and conceded three goals. An injury-time point from Shane Burke edged them past Seán McDermotts, before they produced an impressive performance in a comfortable semi-final victory against Clones.
Corduff have scored 9-57 in their five games – an impressive average of 16.8 points per game, which is the highest in the championship. They have conceded just 4-34, which works out at 9.2 points
Cremartin have scored 3-46 in four games – an average of 13.75 points per game, while their total conceded (4-30) is just over ten points per game.
These sides have had a number of closely-contested clashes in recent years, even before last week’s draw, and they will also play each other in the league semi-finals after Cremartin topped the table on 24 points, two places and three points ahead of Corduff. Their league meetings produced a win apiece, as Cremartin won their first clash in May, before Corduff edged a low-scoring game a few weeks ago. Corduff had narrow wins when the sides battled it out in the IFC in each of the last two years.
Player-manager Raymond Byrne and George McKitterick have led the scoring for Corduff, while county minor Keith McEnaney, Martin Mills and the recently returned Shane Malone can also offer options up front. Declan Larkin has impressed at both midfield and centre-half back, while county under-21 panellist Shane McNally Jnr., Ciarán Brennan and captain Gerry Mee are the main men in the Corduff defence. A few subs made an impact last Sunday, particularly Brendan McNally, who could be pushing for a starting place.
Darren Bishop has been in prolific form for Cremartin, with his six points last weekend maintaining his JFC average of over six per game, while he has had good support up front from Kevin Brennan and Christopher Farrell. Niall Flanagan, who snuffed out the threat of Clones full-forward Declan McKernan in the semi-finals before keeping a close eye on McKitterick in the drawn final, has been a key player at the back along with Declan Farrell. Barry Carragher provides experience and strength at midfield, while Fergal Mulligan and county minors Patrick and Jonathan McGuigan have added youth and pace to the Cremartin team.
It’s certainly expected to go down to the wire again, with extra-time to be played in the event of another draw.
Corduff JFC scorers 2010: Raymond Byrne 3-13 (0-6f); George McKitterick 3-8; Keith McEnaney 1-6 (0-1f); Pauric Gollogly 1-4 (0-1f); Martin Mills 0-7; Fran Monaghan 1-1; Brendan McNally 0-4 (2f); Mark Gilsenan 0-3 (1f); Shane McNally Snr, Shane Malone, Cathal Connolly 0-2 each; Shane McNally Jnr, Michael Fox, Niall Reilly, Declan Larkin, Shane Connolly 0-1 each.
Cremartin JFC scorers 2010: Darren Bishop 0-25 (14f); Kevin Brennan 1-5; Barry Carragher 0-8f; Michael Morgan, Fergal Mulligan 1-0 each; Jonathan McGuigan 0-3; Kevin Atkinson, Liam McVicar, Shane Burke, Christopher Farrell, Gary Boyd 0-1 each.
Gormley UPVC Senior Football Championship Semi-Final Replay
Magheracloone v Scotstown, Saturday, 5.00, Clontibret
Magheracloone and Scotstown battle it out once again on Saturday for the right to challenge defending champions Clontibret in the SFC Final.
The sides were only briefly separated by more than a point last Saturday in a very close, competitive draw. Magheracloone, who are joint top of the SFL, have won both of the teams’ league clashes this year, but Scotstown competed very well last weekend and they could easily have snatched the win. Scotstown have beaten Magheracloone twice in the last few years in the championship, although the Mitchells were comfortable winners when they met in the county final in 2004, which remains their only SFC victory, despite their consistent challenging in the latter stages in the last decade.
Magheracloone went through the front door to reach this stage, with straightforward wins over Truagh and Ballybay and a narrow triumph in a war of attrition against Clontibret. Scotstown edged past Latton in the first round and although they lost to Castleblayney, a hard-earned victory at the expense of Carrickmacross kept them in the running.
As ever, Tommy Freeman will be expected to lead the scoring for Magheracloone, but he was kept quiet from play by Mark Duffy last time and Duffy will surely be assigned to Freeman once again. Scotstown’s midfield pairing of Francis Caulfield and David McCague won most of the possession last week, despite the best efforts of Francie and Gavin Doogan, and their tussle will be crucial. Darren Hughes will be expected to continue at full-forward, where he has been going well in the last two games, while his brother Kieran is in fine form at full-back. Eddie Beggan, Donal Morgan and Pádraig Keenan are other key players for Scotstown, with James Ward, James Hand and Damien Freeman central to Magheracloone’s plans.
McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship Final
Doohamlet v Tyholland, Sunday, 4.00, Clontibret
Doohamlet and Tyholland will both have a return to senior football in their sights when they go head-to-head in today’s McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship Final in Clontibret.
Like in the JFC Final between Corduff and Cremartin, there’s little argument about the quality of these two teams. Doohamlet spent three years in the senior ranks before last year’s relegation, while Tyholland competed in the top division in three of the last five years; most recently in 2008.
Doohamlet have never won the IFC, with their only two appearances in the final both ending in one-point defeats – against Aghabog in 2003 and Inniskeen in ’05. Tyholland never got as far as the final until 1999, but this is their sixth decider since then, including one replay. They lost narrowly to Monaghan Harps in ’99 and to Ballybay in 2001 and ’04 (the latter after a replay), but they made history three years ago when they beat Truagh to take the title for the first time.
Doohamlet have played five games so far, winning four and drawing one. They eased past Aghabog in the preliminary round before squeezing through a low-scoring first-round replay against Rockcorry. Their next game against Éire Óg looked set to be another low-scoring one until a Ciarán McManus penalty helped Doohamlet pull away. They then shot their highest tally of the championship to date (2-15) in a convincing semi-final victory at the expense of Aughnamullen.
Tyholland have won three from three to date, to book their place in another decider, starting with a north-Monaghan derby against Emyvale, when they had seven points to spare. Tyholland then edged past Donaghmoyne, who had been unbeaten in their previous 10 games and they had a fairly straightforward win over Rockcorry last time out.
The sides met in the league as recently as last Sunday, when Tyholland had a comfortable win, although not much can be read into that result in terms of today’s game. Their first clash finished in a draw back in April. Just two points and one position separate the teams in the table, where Doohamlet are second on 23 points, followed by Tyholland with 21 points.
Doohamlet have scored 5-55 in five championship games, so their average score is 1-11, while they have conceded 3-31, which is an average of just eight points per game. Tyholland have hit a total 3-36 in three games, giving them an average of 1-12 per game, and they have let in 2-24 – an average of 10 points. Both sides have been mean at the back, as Doohamlet have only let in one goal from open play (plus two from penalties), while Tyholland keeper Ciarán Boyce hasn’t been beaten in the championship since the Emyvale game.
County Under-21 panellist Boyce is a capable last line of defence, while the central defensive positions are likely to be manned by Paul Coyle and Ronan McNally, who is also effective when going forward. Gary McQuaid is the playmaker for Tyholland, most likely from midfield, although he can play elsewhere if needed, like he did in the Donaghmoyne game to restrict the influence of Rory Woods. Cyril Ronaghan impressed off the bench against Rockcorry and he could get the nod to start alongside McQuaid i lár na páirce. Tyholland also have options up front with the strength and scoring power of Raymond Ronaghan, the accurate free-taking of Paul Askin, the finishing ability of Dermot Coyle and James McQuaid, as well as Karl O’Connell’s searing pace. They are likely to be without Shane Treanor, however, he went off injured in the semi-final, while county Under-21 Brian McArdle has been a long-term injury victim.
James Casey has been steady in goals for Doohamlet, with Gabie Casey, Martin Hughes and Shane Johnny Connolly working well in the full-back line. County man Colin Walshe anchors the half-back line, with Kevin McArdle and Darren Connolly on the wings, while captain Glen Cumiskey and Ciarán McManus form a strong midfield partnership. Ted Duffy has been the main man in attack, while Shane McManus provides an effective target-man and Mark Murphy and Niall Jim Connolly can also provide scoring threats.
Doohamlet IFC scorers 2010: Ted Duffy 1-21 (0-10f, 0-1 pen); Shane McManus 0-10; Niall Jim Connolly 2-1; Ollie Hughes, Ciarán McManus (1-0 pen) 1-3 each; Mark Murphy 0-6 (3f); Glen Comiskey 0-3; Greg Duffy, Colin Walshe 0-2 each; Niall Johnny Connolly, Kevin McArdle, Jason McElroy, Johnny Duffy 0-1 each
Tyholland IFC scorers 2010: Dermot Coyle 2-6 (0-2f); Shane Treanor 0-9 (6f); Paul Askin 0-7 (3f); Raymond Ronaghan 1-3; Gary McQuaid, James McQuaid, Cyril Ronaghan, Brian McArdle 0-2 each; Karl O’Connell, Peadar Farrelly, Ronan McNally 0-1 each.
Gerry’s Fresh Fruit and Veg. Junior Football League Semi-Final
Seán McDermotts v Clones, Sunday, 12.30, Threemilehouse
The first of the JFL semi-finals goes ahead on Sunday, when Seán McDermotts have home advantage against Clones.
Despite a disappointing championship campaign which ended with a defeat to Killeevan, the Seáns finished joint top of the league along with Cremartin on 24 points, three points ahead of Clones, who reached the JFC semi-finals only to tamely lose to Cremartin. The teams’ two meetings in the league so far have brought one win for the Seáns in Threemilehouse, as well as a draw in Clones.
Damien Larkin will be expected to lead the scoring for the Seáns, while Páraic McGuirk, Paddy Kieran, Noel Rice and James Treanor should also play prominent roles. Clones will be looking for big performances from Darren Freeman, Declan McKernan, Adrian Alford and Fintan Kelly and they will also hope to have Colm Connolly and Danny Rooney back after they missed their championship exit.
Gerry’s Takeaway Ballybay Under-16 Football Championship Division One Final
Carrickmacross v Scotstown, Sunday, 2.15, Clontibret
Carrickmacross and Scotstown contest the Under-16 FC Division One Final, which is being played as a curtain-raiser to the IFC Final in Clontibret on Sunday.
Scotstown beat a previously unbeaten Monaghan Harps team in the first round, thanks to a last-minute goal, and they went on to ease past Clontibret in the semi-finals. Carrick have had fairly comfortable wins over Castleblayney and Emyvale. The sides have met three times so far this year, with Scotstown winning twice, including the league semi-finals. Scotstown lost the league final against Monaghan Harps, so they will be determined to avoid another final defeat.
AIB Ulster Club Junior Hurling Championship First Round
Inniskeen v Lisnaskea, Sunday, 3.30, Inniskeen
Inniskeen’s senior hurlers will be attempting to take another step forward in what has been an amazing year when they host Lisnaskea on Sunday in the first round of the Ulster Club JHC.
Inniskeen have already won the Monaghan Senior Hurling double, with the league success coming last Sunday when they beat Castleblayney in the final, as they did in the championship earlier this year. Meanwhile, Lisnaskea lost the Fermanagh county final to Lisbellaw.
Séamus Loftus, Trevor Hilliard, Michael Lennon, Ronan and Paul Meegan and Kevin Boylan should be to the fore for Inniskeen, although Pauric Dowdall is a doubt after he missed last Sunday’s game through injury. Shea Curran, Francis McBrien, Barry Smith and Michael Beggan are among the main men for Lisnaskea.
Also this weekend, the finals of Divisions Two, Three and Four of the Gerry’s Takeaway Under-14 Football Championships are down for decision – all with 12pm throw-in times on Saturday.