Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Donnelly Group Football Championship

Fri 15th September:

St Paul’s v Shane O’Neills Ballymacnab 7.30pm

The meeting of two teams who’S progress has been enhanced by the players who have been returning to their squads. Shanes beat the other Lurgan quarter finalists St Peter’s last time out whilst Paul’s were not all that impressive in accounting for Mullaghbawn with Murnin looking less that fit but a game under his belt might be a big help. Verdict-Shanes have quietly slipped under the radar after missing out on promotion but people will start to take notice when they take their place in the semi-final following their victory in this one.

St Peter’s v Killeavy Athletic Grounds 6.45pm

Killeavy have been very impressive to date in the championship knowing that a championship win for themselves or Silverbridge will give them promotion. Peter’s are getting stronger with every outing as their injured key players return to action so Killeavy will be under no illusion as to the enormity of the challenge they face. Verdict- Killeavy have been motoring well with a well rehersed style of play which suits them. The South Armagh side carry too much scoring power in comparision to their opponents and this will tell the tale in the final outcome

Armagh Harps v St Patrick’s Athletic Grounds 8.30pm

What a match in prospect. Harps blew Pat’s out of the water in the opening 25 minutes of their earlier championship meeting. I don’t think that either defence will cough up as much as in that 4-14 to 4-9 win for Harps. A worry for Cullyhanna has to be their slow start to games, they were 8 points down to Whitecross before recovering to win by 5. A lot of people have been talking up Harps for the title which is nothing that has not been said for the last few years. Verdict- With a clean bill of health for the first time this year Pat’s have been itching for another go at Harps. Last year’s beaten finalists to keep on track for their first every Senior championship with a hard earned tight win in what should be a cracking game.

Saturday 16th September:

Madden v Ballymacnab Athletic Grounds 5.00pm

Madden have been the championship dark horses to date and will come into this derby game with Ballymacnab brimming with confidence. The ‘Nab for their part have done nothing wrong to date brushing aside Culloville and Granemore in style. Verdict- Ballymacnab have a potent attack but have a weak defence. Madden’s overreliance on Niall Grimley who will be closely marked has found them out and will do once again as the all round ‘Nab teamwork will see them through to the semis.

Clann Eireann v Crossmaglen Athletic Grounds 6.45pm

A young eager full of running Clann Eireann will fancy an upset here given the Cross performances to date in the championship. A word of warning is that as the championship progresses Cross get stronger. Verdict- Cross will be a little worried at their poor start to games and may find the opposition a handful early on. Rangers are slowly raising their game and once they get a few positional switches back in place they will begin to shine. A semi-final berth for Cross.

Monday 18th September:

Forkhill v Middletown Ballymacnab 7.30pm

After facing relegation in the league Forkhill back to near full strength for the championship have shown themselves in a different light. Middletown with their hurlers back in harness recoverd to beat Eire Og to set up this match Verdict- Forkhill to book their place in the last 4

Silverbridge v Keady Athletic Grounds 6.45pm

I am sure that Keady was not one of the teams Silverbridge thought that they would meet at this stage of the championship. With their hurlers back at the football Keady have been impressive scoring 5-24 from play in their last 2 wins over Derrynoose and Carrickcruppen. The Bridge have continued their league winning form into the championship. Verdict- Silverbridge to take care of a Keady side that may be short a few for this Monday night match.

Maghery v Sarsfields Athletic Grounds 8.30pm

The champions Maghery will be first to admit to a fortutious win over Cross in a game in which they did not play well. Sarsfields have been missing key players through injury all year but still possess the ability to get goals which has been their championship mainstay to date. Verdict-The champions to remain on course to retain their title.