There is quite a weekend of football coming up with key games on both Saturday and Sunday in all three divisions. Saturday sees the situation in Division One become somewhat clearer with the two semi finals for the top four and the relegation play off at the bottom. All three of the games get underway at two o’clock and interestingly there is history with each of them.
Defending champions Errigal Ciaran face Omagh in a repeat of last year’s low scoring bad tempered league semi final which was ultimately decided by Mark Harte’s goal. Both sides have had mixed seasons by their standards having had high hopes of being serious contenders for the championship. Errigal finished top of the league and were very convincing in most of their league games. They showed a particularly ruthless streak last time out against relegation candidates Galbally playing some fine football into the bargain. However they showed signs of frailties against Coalisland in the championship and in their league match against old rivals Carrickmore.
Omagh are not without their faults either in that they have played well for most of the season but have had a tendency to be somewhat one dimensional in attack. These two sides are capable of producing a top class game and with a place in the league final to play for I would expect both teams to make a real go of it. Although Errigal are at home and are defending champions, I think Omagh, with a full team, could cause a surprise in this one.
The other semi is equally intriguing but for different reasons. Coalisland are still in with a great chance of doing the double and with the talent and pace they have within their squad they would normally fancy their chances in a game like this. The dilemma for Damien O’Hagan and his management team is that eight days later they face one of the biggest games in their club’s history when they take the field against Glenties in The Ulster Club Championship. If the Fianna decide to play a full strength team they would be in with a great chance of defeating a Dromore that threw away a ten point lead against Aghyaran on Tuesday night. In the final analysis the outcome of this game could well be decided by how Coalisland decide to prepare for their date with destiny just over a week later.
At the other end of the table Aghyaran host Kildress in the Division One relegation playoff knowing that whoever loses will be automatically relegated. This is not a completely new scenario for either side as this is the third year in a row where these teams have faced each other in similar circumstances. For the winners the prize is a further playoff game for senior status for 2011 with the victors from the final Division Two playoff between Moortown and Loughmacrory. All four of these sides were involved in the relegation/promotion play offs last year which ultimately resulted in Aghyaran and Kildress remaining in senior football and Loughmacrory being relegated. Saturday will guarantee a temporary reprieve for one of these two sides and with Martin Penrose and Jude Hans in fine form Aghyaran might just make the most of home advantage and nick it. However don’t expect Tiffy Quinn’s side to roll over easily and with Fran Loughran and Frank Mc Gurk leading by example The Wolfe Tones might even take it to extra time.