T-MET INTERMEDIATE SEMI-FINALS PREVIEWS
This weekend’s action in the Armagh Athletic Grounds starts off with the T-Met Intermediate Championship. The First Semi-Final see’s Clann Eireann face Madden again. Both teams met each other in Round 1 of this year’s Championship and due to the back door, now see each other face off again. Madden sneaked home on that occasion by a single score and few would predict that this game won’t be as close. Clann Eireann, the Intermediate League winners, regrouped from that game to record a comfortable victory over Collegeland followed by 4 point wins over An Port Mor and Lurgan rivals Clan Na Gael.
Madden, who finished runners up in the Intermediate League were defeated in Round 2 fairly comfortably to Whitecross but bounced back with a 16 point victory over Keady Michael Dwyers and an impressive 12 point victory over St Peters. It’s that score line and the earlier 1 point victory over Clann Eireann that some quarters are giving Madden the edge in this game. One thing is for sure, both are big scoring teams and we will be in for an entertaining affair. It gives us plenty of reason to ensure we arrive early on Friday.
The 2nd game see’s Whitecross take on Grange. Both teams had solid League campaigns with Grange unlucky not to secure automatic promotion. Whitecross eased into the Quarter Finals with an easy win over relegated Dorsey Emmets, keeping them to a single point with Whitecross scoring an impressive 4-20. It was the 7 point victory over Madden in the next round that pushed Whitecross into the small group of favourites for the competition however those impressive wins almost came crashing down with Culloville leading the Quarter Final with a few minutes to go. It took a lot of resolve to pull that victory from the jaws of defeat.
Grange started their T-Met Intermediate campaign with an 8 point victory over Collegeland. Grange were red hot favourites to win the game against relegated opposition and the win came as no surprise. Bizarrely Grange played the same team in Round 2 and 3 in the shape of Eire Og, Craigavon. Due to the nature of the backdoor system now in action, this type of scenario is possible. Fortunately for Grange they won both games, on occasions throughout the Championship we see the losing side gain momentum and win the 2nd game but Grange were solid from start to finish to win the 2nd game by 11 points to set up the Semi-Final against Whitecross.
With the League game ending in a draw and nothing between the teams on paper, this is, along with the other Semi-Final, a hard one to call and we could have a draw all over again.
T-MET JUNIOR SEMI-FINALS PREVIEWS
Saturday’s action in the Armagh Athletic Grounds sees another double header. This time it’s the T-Met Junior Semi-Finals. The first game throws in at 6pm and its Tullysaran v St Patricks II. Tullysaran who have had a good League campaign and currently lie in 2nd place in Junior A will go into the game as favourites due at least to St Patricks II being a division below. St Patricks II will not mind that tag as they have had a great season and are currently in 1st place in Junior B with 2 games in hand. Tullysaran started off their campaign with a 5 point victory over Thomas’ Davis. Tullysaran then had the same feat as Grange in the intermediate level who had to play the same team in the next 2 rounds due to the back door scenario coming up against Belleek. With round 2 being a close affair with The Saran men edging home with a one point victory, the Quarter Final turned out to be a lot easier with a 16 point victory to secure their Semi-Final berth. Tullysaran remain the only team left in the competition who are unbeaten.
St Patricks II will play their 6th game in this year’s Championship due to replays and backdoor games. The Cullyhanna men got their campaign off to the worst possible start with a 2 point loss to Ballyhegan but regrouped to defeat Clady by 10 points. In Round 2 of the backdoor St Pats earned a hard fought 1 point victory over Lissummon to set up a quarter final clash against neighbours and rivals Crossmaglen II. Over 2 titanic battles, St Pat’s eventually edged Cross out by 3 points. A goal early in the game provided the vital score to split the 2 teams over 140 minutes.
St Patricks have regrouped well and those 2 games against Crossmaglen will set them up well to deal with one of the tournament favourites but having already defeated 2 teams from the division above them, St Patricks II will not have any fear going into this tasty encounter which is difficult to call.
In the 2nd Semi-Final, Killeavy II’s will be outsiders to defeat current Championship favourites Clonmore. Killeavy started off their campaign with a fine win over Pearse Og II’s. They fell at the 2nd hurdle to Derrynoose who sit top of the league above Killeavy. They picked themselves up in the backdoor game to defeat Dromintee however it’s the Quarter Final win over Ballyhegan and the manner of that win that many are predicting an upset could be on the cards against Clonmore.
Clonmore faced Clady in round 1 of the competition with a comfortable victory. The 2nd round game paired them with Ballyhegan and it was a cracking encounter with Ballyhegan edging Clonmore by one point. The backdoor game saw Clonmore having a 15 point victory over Pearse Og II’s and set up an encounter with Derrynoose who many seen as favourites. Clonmore win well in the end with a 7 point victory to set up the Semi-Final against Killeavy II’s.
Clonmore will have taken a lot of confidence with their Derrynoose victory however Killeavy II’s will have grown in strength with a great display to defeat a team a league above them and have nothing to lose at this stage.
We wish all the teams the best of luck on Friday and Saturday and what looks like 4 brilliant games.