H&A Mechanical Services ACFL Division 2 (Sunday, 3.30pm, but subject to change)
Slaughtmanus v Craigbane
Improving Slaughtmanus may have the edge on an injury hit Craigbane whose main aim will be the championship later in the year. Slaughtmanus do not score a lot but they do not concede much either so the Craigbane may not get much space to work in. The free scoring Lee Moore should be back for Craigbane and he is the one player who has the ability to crack a tight defence. Slaughtmanus may not have the same scoring potential as their visitors but they have enough strength elsewhere to squeeze out a narrow win. Gavin McShane and Ryan Barr often win games with their free taking.
Ballymaguigan v Ballerin
Ballymaguigan have never lost to Ballerin in the league for many years and they will be favourites to keep that record after recovering from a bad spell. Ballerin a small and fast team tend to play in patches. If they are to win this game they will need to be flat out for the hour. Ballymaguigan are a physically stronger team and have an excellent free taker in former Glen player Gary Burke. Ballerin have scored just one away victory to date. Last year they lost to Darren Conway’s men in both league and championship. No doubt they are much improved since then but maybe not enough to take points from Ballynaguigan who seldom lose at home.
Moneymore v Doire Trasna
Moneymore look to be safe enough with eight point and that is eight points more than Doire Trasna who have yet to get off the mark. Trasna will travel in the knowledge that a victory would give them a fighting chance of avoiding the drop but they have only four games to get it right. Moneymore have had some good performances this year but their last two against Steelstown and Ballerin were below the level they had been playing at. Notably the Doire Trasna men have shown an improvement in their last two games where they gave a good account of themselves against Glenullin and Steelstown. Moneymore tend to play in patches and are slow starters. If they make too many lapses the Waterside men could take advantage.
Lissan v Desertmartin
This game is between two teams who have not really got going this year. Both are on four points from nine games and the loser will have an anxious look over their shoulders if Doire Trasn would happen to win at Moneymore. Lissan probably have the slightly better form and look to have the greater scoring ability through Patrick Coey and Peter McGlone. Desertmartin’s top scorer Declan Murray has missed a number of games with injury and in his absence the St. Martin’s have turned to Dermot Breen as their main score getter. Desertmartin have been involved in a number of low scoring games this year which indicates that their defence is reliable enough. If they are to come away from Tullynure with the points they need a bit more pep in attack.
Drumsurn v Foreglen
Foreglen have only lost once in the league and that was to unbeaten Glenullin. Apart from dropping a point against Moneymore they have been very consistent since then. Drumsurn have had some good victories but their small panel has been hit with injuries to two key players. Goal scoring full forward Darly Mullan is out short term and young midfielder Michael Mullan probably for at least nine months. Foreglen will travel as favourites given their first division experience and the scoring exploits of full forward Kevin O’Connor. They also have a lot of pace on the wings but in an overall context will not get anything easy against a Drumsurn team that has a lot of experience and the ability to get goals. Foreglen have key players in the main areas and should take both points.
Steelstown v Castledawson
Both teams were expected to be keen challengers for promotion but the league table shows a different story. Both sit on eight points having lost five of their nine games to date. Castledawson’s form is a bit of a mystery, they started well enough but have now lost their last four with three of them at home. Steelstown have picked up after losing their first four, their fourth in came last week in a re-fixed game at Moneymore.
Castledawson have had injuries and that has not helped their cause but even so their current form has dipped well below that of the last few seasons. Steelstown have lost some key players over the past few seasons but they still have a physically strong and experienced team. Both would like to be stronger in the scoring department in a game where it is hard to pick a winner. Possibly Steelstown by a whisker.
Glenullin v Faughanvale (Friday, 7.30pm)
Last year Glenullin were in senior football and Faughanvale in junior so they should serve up an interesting affair at Sean O’Maolain Park Glenullin on Sunday afternoon. Glenullin are unbeaten in nine games. Faughanvale are unbeaten away but have lost two at home. They have a strong young team full of good footballers with player manager Joe Gray at the heart of all that they do good. Glenullin are loaded with experience and look nearly certain to be promoted barring something catastrophic happening to them. Still this could be one of their stiffest tests against a side that will compete for every ball and close ranks in defence. Faughanvale full back Michael Sweeney a very good young player will likely be marking Paddy Bradley so if the ‘Vale are to have the chance of a shock he will have to get the better of Bradley and that is not easy. It looks to be the best game of the day and once again Glenullin should come out on top.