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Previews (September 29-October 1)

September 29th, 2017

Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship Final

Currin v Seán McDermotts, Sunday, 4.00, Scotstown


Currin and Seán McDermotts will be hoping to end long waits to win the Universal Graphics Junior Football Championship when they contest Sunday’s final.

Currin had won the JFC four times by 1972, but this is their first championship final appearance since then, even though they enjoyed success in junior and intermediate leagues in more recent times. Seán McDermotts – also four-time winners – last won this crown in 1990, although they did claim the IFC in 2002. The Seáns reached the final last year, only to lose out to Blackhill.

These teams have taken the direct route to Sunday’s final. Currin saw off Drumhowan, Clones and Éire Óg to end their 45-year wait for a place in the decider, while the Seáns have proved too potent for Scotstown, Oram and Clones.

The Seáns hold the edge in the teams’ scoring rates in the championship to date; boosted by their impressive semi-final victory. They have 5-49 to their name in just three games, giving them an average score of 21.33 points, while Currin have hit 3-45 for an average of 18 points. The Threemilehouse side also have the better defensive record: having conceded two points less per game (2-34) than Currin (2-40). Their average concession of 13.33 points is identical to their run to last year’s final.

Both sides have also been consistently near the top of the league, where the Seáns put a remarkable 14 straight wins to their credit, including one in Scotshouse back in June, even though their 100% record was finally ended by Oram last weekend.

The return of McGuirk has been a major boost, with his power in the middle third proving a good foil for county U-21 and senior panellist Niall Kearns. Long-serving forward Damien Larkin has been enticed to give it another go and his presence adds significantly to an attack that also features the talents of Adam O’Driscoll and Paddy Kieran. Brian McQuaid, Ryan McGuinness and Mark McGuigan are key players in defence for the Seáns, who now have Mark Counihan joining Ciarán Murphy as joint-manager.

Currin have an ace in their pack in county forward Jack McCarron, who has racked up 2-20 in just three games, while Stephen Smyth is their other main threat up front. Player-manager and long-serving former Monaghan player Dick Clerkin provides a wealth of experience at midfield alongside Ciarán McCaffrey, while his brother Ben anchors the defence in front of three McCaffreys; Colm, Conor and team captain, Enda.

All of Currin’s JFC games to date have been tight contests, while the Seáns have shown an ability to emphatically put opponents away. This final has a recent history of close contests, with last year’s somewhat one-sided second half being an exception to the rule, as it took replays to decide the champions in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

Greenfield Foods Senior Football Championship Semi-Final Replay

Ballybay v Scotstown, Saturday, 3.00, Clontibret


Ballybay and Scotstown meet again in this SFC semi-final replay in Clontibret on Saturday, six days after their dramatic draw in Clones.

Scotstown came from eight points down in the space of eight added minutes last Sunday to keep a grip on the title, which they retained last year via a last-four win over Ballybay. The league leaders got past Killanny and Latton en route to this stage, while 2012 winners Ballybay lost to Magheracloone in Round 2A, having previously beaten Castleblayney, but they bounced back to knock out Truagh.

Scotstown, who could be without Kieran Hughes due to injury, Darren Hughes, Conor McCarthy, Shane Carey and Dónal Morgan on form as they bid to qualify for a fifth straight county final. Ballybay will need Paul Finlay, Christopher McGuinness, Drew and Ryan Wylie, Dessie Ward and Thomas Kerr at their best.


AIB Ulster Club Junior Hurling Championship Quarter-Final

Carrickmacross v Na Magha, Sunday, 12.45, Castleblayney

AIB Ulster Club Intermediate Hurling Championship Quarter-Final

Castleblayney v Patrick Sarsfields, Sunday, 2.30, Castleblayney


Castleblayney hosts a double-header of AIB Ulster Club Junior Hurling Championship action on Sunday.

First up is Carrickmacross v Na Magha. Carrick edged out Monaghan Harps in the Monaghan SHC Shield Final, while city club Na Magha overpowered Coleraine in the Derry JHC decider. Na Magha reached the final of this competition in 2012 and 2014; losing the latter to Castleblayney.

Carrick were without Éanna and Aonghus Mac Suibhne for the Shield Final, where they were led by the likes of Jamie Guinan, David Butler, new recruit Éamonn Collins and young guns Luke McKenna and Oisín Wilcox, who helped them win the MHC recently. Na Magha can call on players who have featured for Derry like Alan Grant, Deaglán Foley, Breandán Quigley and Brendan Douban.

Castleblayney are on home soil for their clash with Antrim Intermediate champions Patrick Sarsfields.

Blayney regained the Monaghan SHC title when they dethroned Inniskeen and they received a timely boost by completing the double in last Sunday’s league final against the Grattans. Belfast club Patrick Sarsfields defeated St. Gall’s, St. John’s and Carey Faughs to win the Antrim IHC. Antrim teams have dominated this competition in recent years; winning the last four titles and seven of the last nine. Two-time Ulster JHC winners Blayney reached the provincial IHC Final in 2011, where they lost to Middletown from Armagh.

Blayney will be looking for Mark and Peter Treanor, Brian McGuigan, Fergal Rafter, Jim McHugh and Hugh Byrne to lead the way, while Kevin and Daniel McKernan, Niall McKenna and Caillin Caldwell are among the main men for Patrick Sarsfields.


Maguire Transport Minor Football Championship Division Three Final

Clontibret v Doohamlet, Sunday, 2.00, Scotstown


Neighbours Clontibret and Doohamlet contest the MFC Division Three Final in Sunday’s curtain-raiser to the JFC decider.

Clontibret have seen off Seán McDermotts and St. Mary’s Na Mullaí on their way to this game, while Doohamlet earned their place at the expense of Cremartin and Tyholland. Doohamlet won silverware earlier this year via the Division Three League Shield, while Clontibret qualified for the Cup section, only to miss out on the final. These teams haven’t met since April, when Clontibret won by a point in a high-scoring shoot-out.

Clontibret can call on county minors Jack Gormley and Conor Doyle, with Doohamlet looking for big performances from Hugh McGinn, Seán Markey and Oisín O’Neill.


There are two important County Monaghan Group of Credit Unions Senior Football League fixtures this weekend, with Latton facing Killanny on Saturday and Magheracloone looking to build on their county final qualification when they host Truagh on Sunday.


Monaghan Electrical Intermediate Football League leaders Carrickmacross make the short journey to Inniskeen for a floodlit game on Friday night. Fellow IFC finalists Aughnamullen meet Corduff on Saturday, while last year’s promoted teams Blackhill and Toome go head to head and Cremartin and Doohamlet travel to Emyvale and Tyholland, respectively.


The weekend’s only Eurotech Junior Football League fixture is a local derby between Clones and Killeevan on Saturday.


The juvenile football season reaches its conclusion with the last batch of Mallon’s Foods Under-16 and Gerry’s Prepared Veg. Under-12 finals on Saturday. Clones hosts a triple-bill, while there are double-headers in Cremartin and Oram, as well as a single game in Aghabog.


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