The IFC Final takes top billing on a weekend which also includes two minor football finals, the MHC Final Replay, the second JFL semi-final, an Ulster club final involving Donaghmoyne ladies and games in the SFL and IFL.
McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship Final
Truagh v Tyholland, Sunday, 3.30, Clontibret
Sunday’s McGuigan Builders Intermediate Football Championship Final sees north-Monaghan rivals Truagh and Tyholland go head-to-head.
Truagh are just one win away from securing a quick return to senior football, while Tyholland are back at this stage after losing by the narrowest of margins to Doohamlet last year.
Championship specialists Tyholland have won just one of the six IFC finals they have appeared in since 1999, including one replay, so they will be determined to change that statistic and repeat their win over Truagh in a thrilling 2007 decider. Truagh, whose only IFC victory to date came in 1995, bounced back from losing that final to gain promotion in 2008 and they stayed in the top flight until last year’s relegation. The Gaels are in their fifth final in all, the first of which came back in 1972.
Truagh have been the front-runners in intermediate all year and even though they lost their championship opener against Donaghmoyne, comfortable wins over Corduff, Drumhowan and Clones got them to the semi-finals, where they finished strongly to see off Currin. Tyholland have lived on the edge on their route to the final. After beating Corduff in the preliminary round, they lost a forgettable game against Donaghmoyne, but they bounced back to come from six points down and edge past Inniskeen, before getting through another close game against Cremartin. They looked dead and buried when they trailed by nine points three-quarters of the way through their semi-final against Donaghmoyne, but an incredible comeback saw them win by a point.
Truagh have won both league meetings between the teams, by a combined total of 14 points and they are well ahead at the top of the table. Like last year, Tyholland are way back in seventh, but they have clearly put all their eggs in the championship basket from early on.
Truagh have an effective mix of experienced players like Neil McRory, Niall Feely, Rory Treanor, Mark Counihan and Barry Cuddy, alongside young guns such as Daniel, Paudie and Christopher McKenna and county minor Adam Treanor, who is the IFC’s top scorer with 7-7, all of which has come at today’s venue. Those young guns will shoulder most of the scoring burden today, while attacking wing-back Niall Coyle is another regular contributor. They will hope that goalkeeper Ian Treanor is available after he went off injured against Currin and that Pauric Treanor is fit to captain them from the start after he was restricted to a late cameo role in that match.
Tyholland have current Monaghan seniors Ronan McNally and Karl O’Connell, former county men Gary McQuaid and Raymond Ronaghan and ex-Armagh player Paul McCormack, as well as other experienced men like Greg Ronaghan, Paul Coyle and Peadar Farrelly, who is in his 20th championship campaign. Goal-poacher Dermot Coyle, Brian McArdle and Shane Treanor should also play key roles, while Ryan McKenna and James McQuaid made a big difference off the bench last time out.
Another closely-contested IFC decider is in prospect, with Truagh going in as slight favourites, based on their scoring power.
Truagh IFC scorers 2013: Adam Treanor 7-7; Christopher McKenna 0-14 (8f, 1 ‘45); Niall Coyle 3-3; Pádraig McKenna 0-11 (6f); Daniel McKenna 0-10 (2f); Seán McKenna 1-4; Mark Counihan 0-6 (1 pen, 2f); Gary Todd, Eoghan Kelly, Daniel Finnegan, Barry Cuddy 0-2 each; Rory Treanor, Neil McRory, John McCarron, John Treanor 0-1 each.
Tyholland IFC scorers 2013: Dermot Coyle 6-3 (2-0 pens); Raymond Ronaghan 0-11 (10f); Paul Askin 0-9 (5f); Peadar Farrelly 1-6; Shane Treanor 0-7 (2f); Paul McCormack 2-2; Ryan McKenna 0-5 (2f, 1 ’45); Shane Hughes 1-0; Brian McArdle 0-3; Karl O’Connell, Niall Askin 0-2 each; Gary McQuaid, James McQuaid 0-1 each.
Maguire Transport Minor Football Championship Division Two Final
Cúchulains Sarsfields v Donaghmoyne, Sunday, 1.45, Clontibret
Sunday’s curtain-raiser sees Cúchulains Sarsfields and Donaghmoyne clash in the MFC Division Two Final.
Donaghmoyne are in the first of two finals in the coming weeks, as they have also qualified for the league decider. The Fontenoys saw off Latton and Cremartin on their way to this stage. Cúchulains Sarsfields, who are made up of Aughnamullen and Toome, beat Clontibret and Killanny to reach the final, before losing to the latter in the league semis.
Donaghmoyne have two Ulster minor winners in Mikey Murnaghan, Ciarán Martin and Shane Garland, along with upcoming players like Niall Keenan, Shane Woods and Ronan McDonald. Seán McMahon is the main man for Cúchulains Sarsfields, who will also be looking for big performances from Aaron Kelly, Darragh McKenna and Mark McMahon.
GRM Minor Football League Division Three Final
Doohamlet v St. Tiarnach’s, Sunday, 1.00, Cremartin
Neutrals will hope for similar excitement to the recent MFC Division Three Final when Doohamlet and St. Tiarnach’s contest the league decider on Sunday.
St. Tiarnach’s, who are an amalgamation of Clones and Éire Óg, edged a high-scoring championship decider and they also topped the league table – three points ahead of Doohamlet. Both teams had comfortable wins in the semi-finals: Doohamlet against Castleblayney and St. Tiarnach’s against Corduff.
Doohamlet have a couple of star players with club senior experience in county minor Barry McGinn and Barry McBennett, along with the likes of Conor Marray, Jamie Walshe, Damian Ward and Ryan McManus. Dermot Gleeson, Michael Tierney, Cian O’Connor, Shane Ward, James Leonard and James Mealiff should again lead the way for St. Tiarnach’s.
Silver Hill Foods Minor Hurling Championship Final Replay
Clontibret v Truagh Harps, Saturday, 1.30, Scotstown
Clontibret and Truagh Harps return to Scotstown for the MHC Final Replay on Saturday after they couldn’t be separated at the same venue last week.
The Truagh and Monaghan Harps amalgamation lost to Cootehill in the league final, after finishing second in the table, one place above Clontibret, who they defeated along the way. Truagh Harps then beat Castleblayney to reach this stage, while Clontibret got a walkover from Carrickmacross.
Conor Boyle, Ciarán McQuaid, Cathal McAnespie, Noel and Matthew Flood and Tiarnán Bramley are key players for Truagh Harps, while Aodh Curran, Killian Lavelle and Ryan O’Neill are central to the chances of Clontibret, who will hope to have Michael O’Dowd available this time.
Eurotech Junior Football League Semi-Final
Blackhill v Seán McDermotts, Saturday, 4.00, Blackhill
A place in the JFL Final against Oram is up for grabs in Blackhill on Saturday.
Blackhill will have to make a quick recovery from the disappointment of losing the JFC Final Replay last Saturday evening if they are to repeat their championship semi-final win over Seán McDermotts. Blackhill surprised many by not only going all the way to the final, but going very close to beating Emyvale the first day, only for the eventual winners to up their game at the second attempt. The mid-Monaghan men finished second in the league table just a point behind Killanny, while Seán McDermotts ended up third after losing just one of their last ten games (albeit drawing three of those). The Threemilehouse side went through the front door to the last four of the championship, only to fall to Saturday’s opponents.
Blackhill will need Philip Donnelly, Colin Woods, Dermot Daly and Dónal and Ryan Courtney on form, particularly with Darren Woods almost certainly ruled out through injury. Damien Larkin, Páraic McGuirk, Brian McQuaid and Noel Rice should play key roles for the Seáns, who will be hoping that Paddy Kieran (Jnr.) is available after he missed the championship match with an ankle injury.
There is very little between these teams based on their meetings so far this year, as Blackhill’s two-point championship win came after two draws in the league. The prize of revenge and the timing of this game might just work in favour of the Seáns.
Ulster Club Ladies Senior Football Championship Final
Donaghmoyne v Termon, Sunday, 3.15, Clones
Donaghmoyne bid to win a third consecutive Ulster Ladies SFC title when they take on Donegal champions Termon on Sunday in a repeat of last year’s final.
All-Ireland champions Donaghmoyne saw off a determined challenge from Emyvale to make it 11 Monaghan titles in a row and they have breezed through to another Ulster final with convincing wins over Carrickmore and St. Paul’s, Belfast. Termon, who are the only team to beat Donaghmoyne in the Ulster championship in recent years when they won the 2010 final, are in their third final in four years after an easy victory over Cavan’s Lacken and a tight game against Carrickcruppen (Armagh).
Donaghmoyne can call on a number of players who helped Monaghan to within a score of an All-Ireland title last month, including Cathriona McConnell, Sharon and Cora Courtney, Amanda Casey, Eileen McElroy and Linda Martin, along with the in-form Majella Woods, who hit 0-10 last Saturday. The free-scoring Geraldine McLaughlin is the key player for Termon, who also need big games from Róisín and Niamh Friel and Maureen O’Donnell.
The penultimate round of the Drumlin Group of Credit Unions Senior Football League takes place this Saturday. After losing the SFC Final last Sunday, Clontibret are back in action against third-placed Magheracloone, who will be hoping that Monaghan Harps slip up in their game in Castleblayney. Elsewhere, Latton and Ballybay are at home to Doohamlet and Rockcorry respectively, while Carrickmacross have conceded to Scotstown.
There is a crucial game in the Monaghan Electrical Intermediate Football, when Currin host Inniskeen, hoping to win and overtake the Grattans in second place.
Elsewhere, this weekend, Clontibret contest the Ulster Club Junior Camogie Championship Final against Loughgiel from Antrim in Lurgan on Sunday, while O’Neills star footballer Conor McManus represents his club, county and country with the Irish team in the International Rules in Cavan on Saturday evening.