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Previews (July 1-6)

June 30th, 2011

A busy weekend of club games is in prospect, with four games in the Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship and two in the Silver Hill Foods Senior Hurling Championship, as well as full rounds in the Senior and Intermediate Football Leagues.

 Universal Graphics Websize

Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship

Aghabog v Killanny, Saturday, 7.15, Corduff


Aghabog and Killanny will be bidding to keep their JFC hopes alive when they go head-to-head on Saturday evening.

Aghabog have experienced mixed fortunes in the championship this year – a win, a draw and a loss. They came from nine points down to draw with Oram in the preliminary round before winning the replay by a point after extra-time, but they lost by the same margin against Clones in the first round. Killanny gave a subdued performance in their defeat to Toome, but they were much-improved last time out when they eased past Killeevan. The teams are separated by just a point in the JFL, where Killanny have five points from seven games and Aghabog have four from eight. Killanny had a narrow win when the sides last met at the end of March.

Gary McBride, Seán and Shane O’Brien and Francie Dolan are crucial to Aghabog’s chances, while Killanny will be looking for big performances from Peter Dooley, Eddie Markey, Daryl and Gavin Traynor and Cian Wakely.

 Silver Hill Foods

Silver Hill Foods Senior Hurling Championship

Monaghan Harps v Truagh, Sunday, 1.30, Emyvale

Carrickmacross v Clontibret, Sunday, 1.30, Inniskeen

The SHC starts with two first-round games on Sunday afternoon. Monaghan Harps and Truagh go head-to-head in Emyvale

The Harps had a narrow win when the sides clashed at the same stage last year before going on to lose to Castleblayney in the semi-finals, but Truagh have improved since then and will be targeting a big win in this one. Truagh won their first senior hurling silverware via the shield last year, as well as reaching the RHL Final, while the Harps and Truagh have both qualified for the reserve final this year.

The Harps will be looking for big performances from Brian Phelan, Alan Ryan and Raymond and Jack Lee, with Alan Lee out through suspension, while Pat O’Connell, John McAnespie, Conor McGinnity and Daniel McKenna should play central roles for Truagh.

Carrickmacross and Clontibret have struggled so far this year, but both will see their clash in Inniskeen as a chance to win a championship game and kick-start their campaign. Clontibret have yet to take a point in this year’s SHL, while Carrick’s only win to date came at the expense of Clontibret.

Neither side won a game in last year’s championship, as Clontibret lost to Castleblayney in the first round while Carrick were hammered by eventual winners Inniskeen at the semi-final stage.

Aidan Kerr, Johnny Green and Cormac Connolly should be to the fore for Clontibret, while Éanna and Aonghus Mac Suibhne and Jamie Guinan are the emerging stars of a youthful Carrick side.

Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship

Blackhill v Fergal O’Hanlons, Sunday, 2.00, Tyholland


Blackhill will be strong favourites to make it back-to-back wins in the JFC when they take on Fergal O’Hanlons on Sunday.

Blackhill gave Emyvale a scare in the first round and they had a two-point win over local rivals Oram last time out. Blackhill have just one win to their name in the JFL this year, but O’Hanlons have yet to win a JFC game and they failed to score in their defeat to Cremartin.

Players like Ryan and Donal Courtney, Colin Woods and Philip Donnelly should lead Blackhill to victory and a quarter-final place.


Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship

Emyvale v Toome, Sunday, 6.00, Clontibret

Clones v Cremartin, Sunday, 7.30, Clontibret


The weekend’s action finishes with an enticing double-header in Clontibret on Saturday evening, where there are JFC semi-final places on offer.

The first game is a repeat of the 2009 final, which Emyvale won by two points. Emyvale went on to win the Ulster JFC title that year, but Toome provided them with arguably their toughest test of the campaign, along with the drawn Ulster final against St. Teresa’s.

Both teams are going well this year – Emyvale are second in the league with 11 points from seven games, while Toome have eight points from five games, so a close game is in prospect.

Toome are the only unbeaten team left in the Senior, Intermediate or Junior Football Leagues and they go into this game in good form, having won their last three JFL games, as well as their championship victory at the expense of Killanny. Emyvale were less than impressive in defeating Blackhill, but they played half the game with 14 men after their goalkeeper Gerard McCaffrey was sent off.

Daniel McMahon, Martin McAree, Brendan McKenna, Seán McMeel and Robbie McHugh are key players for Emyvale, while Toome will need Gavin Flanagan, Stephen and Alan Lambe and Gary Wilson on top form.

Part two of the double-bill is a repeat of last year’s semi-final, where Cremartin ran out comfortable winners.

Cremartin won’t have learnt anything from their facile win over Fergal O’Hanlons in the first round, while Clones have two tough championship games under their belt, as they edged past both Killeevan and Aghabog by the minimum margin. Cremartin, who lost both league and championship finals narrowly last year, have set the pace in the JFL this year and they sit top of the table with six wins from seven games, including a win over Clones. Clones are third but their form has been decidedly mixed as they have won three, drawn three and lost three. They have lost Colm Connolly and Declan McKernan from last year’s forward line, while Darren Freeman has only played intermittently this year, but his impressive cameos in the first two championship games could earn him a recall to the starting team.

Cremartin recently welcomed Darren Bishop back to their team and he provides an extra threat up front alongside his brothers Stephen and Mark, while Barry Carragher, Declan Farrell and Paddy and Johnny McGuigan are also talented players. Adrian Alford, Danny Rooney, David Freeman and Colin McCaughey are among the main men for Clones, who are capable of beating any junior team on their day, but all form points towards Cremartin progressing.

There are also full rounds of games on Friday in the Drumlin Group of Credit Unions Senior Football League and the Monaghan Electrical Intermediate Football League.

There is a top-of-the-table clash between Ballybay and Magheracloone in the SFL, while fellow challengers Clontibret are away to parish rivals Doohamlet. Latton will be expected to continue their seven-game unbeaten run at home to Inniskeen, who got off the mark on Wednesday with a draw against Castleblayney. Blayney are away to Monaghan Harps, while there is a north-Monaghan derby between Scotstown and Truagh.

There is also a big game at the top of the Monaghan Electrical Intermediate Football League where leaders Carrickmacross make the short trip to Corduff. Elsewhere, Currin travel to Tyholland, Rockcorry host Seán McDermotts, Éire Óg take on Aughnamullen and Drumhowan face Donaghmoyne.

The McQuillan Staircases Under-21 Football Leagues continue on Sunday and Monday, with the GRM Minor Football Leagues progressing on Sunday and Tuesday, while there is a rescheduled SFL game on Tuesday, when Magheracloone have home advantage against Inniskeen.

Gerry’s Takeaway Junior Football League leaders Cremartin have a home game against Killanny on Wednesday, while Aghabog play Blackhill and Oram entertain Toome. The last remaining O’Duffy Cup quarter-final between Clontibret and Castleblayney, which was postponed last week, goes ahead on Wednesday.


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