With Division Two of the All County League well and truly wrapped up, the fixtures committee had hoped to complete all the outstanding games in the other two divisions. There was some talk that all games had to be completed at the same time and on the same day but as is always the case, such plans just did not come to fruition and in the case of Aghyaran and Dromore the game was not finished and will have to be replayed on Tuesday night under lights in Strabane.
In the top division the main focus was on the games featuring the bottom six teams and it came as something of a surprise on Saturday to hear that the Trillick/Carrickmore game took place earlier that afternoon. With the beaten county finalists having nothing to play for other than pride the home side secured the win that removed any lingering relegation worries for players or supporters of The Reds.
With Trillick gone from the relegation zone that left Galbally, Kildress, Aghyaran, Greencastle and Donaghmore still unsure of which division they were going to be playing football in for 2011. I had reckoned that all five were in with a fair chance of winning their respective games but that scenario did not materialise. Donaghmore were playing at home and faced an understrength Ardboe side whom they overcame easily enough. I would imagine if you were in need of two points in your last league game to guarantee your league position you would prefer to be playing your final game at home. That was how it was for Donaghmore and Trillick both at the weekend and home advantage was certainly key to them maintaining their senior football status.
Kildress, Galbally and Greencastle on the other hand had to travel for their final games and all three faced potentially challenging fixtures. I managed to get to see the Killyclogher/Greencastle match early on Sunday afternoon and although Killyclogher were short one or two players they fielded a fairly strong team. Sean Teague’s side were missing Daniel Mc Dermott and Mark Carson but with their triumvirate of young stars John and Cahir Mc Cullagh and Sean Warnock to the fore The St. Patrick’s were full value for their three point win.
Success can mean different things to different people and for Greencastle success this year was staying in senior football. Former county captain Sean Teague has done a fantastic job with his players and will now hope to consolidate their position and develop his young side further. His players have made great progress this year and two of their biggest results were the draws they got against Omagh and Dromore. Such displays showed they were worthy of a place in senior football and if you ask any of the teams they faced this year they will tell you Greencastle are a more than decent side. I would imagine that with safety guaranteed the manager may well enjoy a night or two out with his club colleagues over the next few weeks but he will already be turning his thoughts to next year and building on the progress made during this season.
Unfortunately for the three remaining clubs these results meant that regardless of what they did in their games there would be no escaping involvement of sorts in the relegation scrap. Galbally were well beaten by a very determined Errigal side who showed they are in good form coming into the league semi finals. As a result The Pearses found themselves relegated to Intermediate football for the first time since 1991. Kildress and Aghyaran now face the prospect of a playoff for the third year running with the loser automatically relegated while the winner of that game will have another chance to secure senior status for 2011 should they beat whoever comes out on top in the Moortown versus Loughmacrory game in Division Two.