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Leagues Coming to the Boil
As usual there was lots of action on the club front across the county alst weekend with under sixteen, minor and senior competitions all coming to the boil nicely. The big winners of the weekend had to be Eglish as they secured a return to senior football at the first time of asking following their seven point victory over their closest challengers Derrylaughan. The St Patrick’s have led the way all year in division two and apart from a home draw against Augher they have been unstoppable at the top. They will be hoping to complete an Intermediate double as they prepare for their up coming championship semi final with Urney. Congratulations to Eglish on winning the league and at this stage it would be a brave man who would bet against them doing the double.
Having said that, one thing last weekend has taught us about Gaelic Games is that there is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to the championship. Eglish in fact are on course for a clean sweep in Intermediate Football as they are through to the final of the reserve championship as well as being top of the reserve league. Obviously all the good work being done at underage over the past few years is beginning to pay off. The big question however now that they have are returning to the top flight is will they manage to compete successfully in the top division or will it be another year of struggle to avoid relegation.
Once again Greencastle took points away from home with a massive win over relegation rivals Galbally. The Hoops are on something of a roll now and with two games left they could well finish up in the top half of the division. No mean achievement for a team that was many people’s favourite to go straight back down.
Meanwhile Galbally’s chances of survival were further reduced when Kildress travelled to Trillick and beat The Reds in a very tight and competitive game. This result undoes a lot of the good work done by Liam Donnelly’s side in their previous two outings winning twice away from home at Clonoe and Donaghmore. Donaghmore eased their relegation worries slightly with a narrow win over Clonoe while Aghyaran must feel like the world is against them following their latest game against Coalisland. The Border side led for most of this game only to be pipped at the post by a late Martin Early goal and now find themselves relying on other teams to do them favours if they are to avoid the drop.
No change at the top of course as all the top sides recorded wins and with only two games remaining it looks like the league semi finals will be between Errigal, Omagh, Coalisland and Dromore. However Carrickmore could still have a say in things if results in the final two rounds go in their favour.
The race for play off spots in Division Two heated up last weekend with Derrylaughan’s defeat at Eglish. As well as securing the league title for the home side this result breathed new life into the race for second place as both Loughmacrory and Moortown closed the gap on the Kevin Barry’s to a single point. There is still a lot to play for at both ends of the league and in terms of relegation things look bleak for Aghaloo and Killeshil but there are at least four other sides who could find themselves caught up in the drama of play offs should results go against them. Gortin and Augher both looked fairly safe a few weeks ago but following some good results from Clan na Gael in particular, ten points does not look as secure as it once did. To cap it all many of these teams have to play each other in the last few games of the season and with so much at stake they could be well worth seeing.
Stewartstown and Killyman continue to lead the way in Junior football and with only three league games left it would take a major collapse to prevent one of these two sides lifting the title. Waiting in the wings to capitalise on any such slip up is Fintona who continued their good league form with a thumping twenty four point victory over Owen Roes. Drumquin and Brackaville are putting in a strong late run and for the East Tyrone side particularly they are coming good at the right time. They also have a championship semi final with local rivals Stewartstown to look forward to and they will approach that game with considerable confidence. Glenelly on the other hand suffered badly from their championship exit with two league defeats in the space of five days and could find themselves slipping out of the play off positions very easily should they lose another game.