Despite the fact that there are two county teams in action this weekend, it is still a busy weekend of club fixtures, with the Dveleopment Hurling League Final and the start of the Junior Football Championship taking centre stage.
Silver Hill Foods Development Hurling League Final
Monaghan Harps v Truagh, Thursday, 7.45, Smithborough
Monaghan Harps and Truagh contest the second Development Hurling League Final at Éire Óg’s grounds on Thursday. The competition, which features all players except county senior panellists, started last year, when Castleblayney defeated Inniskeen in the inaugural final.
The Harps, who won the last reserve league final against Truagh two years ago, won all their group games to top the table and set up a hard-earned semi-final win over Clontibret, while Truagh won four out of five to finish second, before easing past Inniskeen last Thursday. The Harps ran out narrow winners against Truagh in their previous meeting in this competition, but the north-Monaghan men got their own back in the senior league last month.
Truagh have had the likes of Conor McGinnity and county minors Conor Boyle, Cathal McAnespie and Noel Flood in good form, while the Harps will look to Alan Ryan, Maurice McKenna, Shane Smyth, Gavin Baxter and Dónal Hahessy to lead the way.
Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship
Seán McDermotts v Toome, Friday, 7.30, Drumhowan
Blackhill v Killeevan, Sunday, 2.00, Ballybay
Oram v Scotstown, Wednesday, 7.30, Clontibret * Note change of date
The Universal Graphics JFC gets underway with three games this weekend, starting with the clash of last year’s relegated teams from intermediate on Friday evening.
Seán McDermotts and Toome have both had mixed fortunes since they returned to the junior ranks, with the Seáns taking nine points from eight games and Toome six from five. The Seáns will be looking for a big performance from county goalkeeper Mark Keogh, who is likely to play at midfield, as well as the likes of Páraic McGuirk, Damien Larkin, Brian McQuaid, Paddy Kieran and Noel Rice, while Toome will need Gary Flanagan, and Gary and Damien Wilson on top form. The sides played out a draw at the start of this month, so there should be little between them once again, but the Seáns should edge it.
There are two games on Sunday, one of which sees JFL leaders Blackhill take on Killeevan. These teams have had contrasting fortunes so far this year, with Blackhill losing just one of their seven games to go top of the league, while Killeevan have won just once in eight, leaving them second from bottom. Blackhill are an emerging team, backboned by a number of players from last year’s county title-winning Emerald Sarsfields Under-21 team such as Ryan, Dónal and Ciarán Courtney and county minor Michael Geehan, alongside more experienced players like Colin Woods. Killeevan would need Kevin McGinn, Darren Quigley, Noel Smith and Gerard Graham at their best to turn league form on its head. Blackhill should advance.
Scotstown’s third string enter the JFC for the first time when they play Oram in a rescheduled game on Wednesday. Scotstown have struggled to adapt to the junior league in their maiden campaign, as they are yet to pick up their first win at this level, but they have given a couple of teams scares, particularly Killeevan, who they held to a draw. It has been a mixed start to the season for Oram, who have won three and lost three so far, but they produced their best form of the year to date last Sunday, when they had a good win over Emyvale.
Scotstown could be able to call on the likes of David McCague and Nicholas Corrigan for this one, but they have mainly been relying on younger players like Seán Mohan, Paul Sherlock and Adrian Carbin. Like Blackhill, Oram are dependent on some of the successful Emerald Sarsfields Under-21s, including Ryan McGuinness and Pauric Graham, as well as Deaglán Crowe and Stephen Mone. Oram’s greater experience is likely to count.
There is a round of games in the Eurotech Junior Football League on Wednesday. Leaders Blackhill are at home to Éire Óg, while Toome and Killanny make the long trips to Emyvale and Scotstown respectively and Aghabog host Oram.
There is action in all divisions of the Platinum Tanks Reserve Football Leagues over the weekend.
Castleblayney and Clontibret go head-to-head in Division 1A on Saturday, while Latton face Magheracloone on Sunday. In Division 1B on Sunday, there are games between Cremartin and Ballybay, Doohamlet and Tyholland and Truagh and Drumhowan. Donaghmoyne travel to Corduff in Division 2A on Saturday, before Emyvale host Carrickmacross on Sunday, while the sole Division 2B game sees Aughnamullen face Truagh on Friday. Feargal O’Hanlons meet Clontibret in Division Three on Friday, while there are games between Ahgabog and Monaghan Harps and Clones and Éire Óg on Saturday.
The first Platinum Tanks Reserve Football Championship O’Duffy Cup quarter-final takes place between Latton and Monaghan Harps on Wednesday.
In the Gerry’s Prepared Veg. juvenile competitions, there are games in Under-16 and Under-14 football, as well as the start of the competitive Under-12 Football Leagues.