April’s designated ‘club month’ is drawing to a close and in Antrim and Derry you get the feeling that the action is building to a climatic crescendo.
A smattering of games gets the weekend underway on Thursday evening as All Saints Ballymena hope to belatedly lift themselves off the bottom of the Antrim league at home to Loch Mór Dál gCáis in Division 4 of the ACHL.
There is hurling action in Derry, with Swatragh and Lavey meeting at Davitt Park as they both look to get off the mark, while Eoghan Rua face a tough ask at home to holders Slaughtneil.
Ballinderry and The Loup bring Thursday evening to a close with a late night date on the Loughshore setting the stage for this fierce rivalry. A win for the visitors would open up some daylight on the bottom two.
In a move that will delight Antrim’s club players, there is a full round of ACFL fixtures on the Friday evening, with all three divisions throwing up fascinating encounters.
2018 SFC finalists and parish rivals Cargin and Creggan resume hostilities in Toome, while there will be an edge to proceedings at O’Cahan Park as former juvenile allies Casement’s and St Mary’s Ahoghill meet. Leaders Naomh Gall look to continue their 100% record at home to St Brigid’s.
Division 2 leaders Rossa meet their co-relegated St Joseph’s Glenavy on Saturday evening, while on Friday All Saints’ will attempt to usurp them and climb to the top as they travel to Pearse Park Dunloy.`
The Cricky plays host to the North Belfast derby between Pearse’s and Kickham’s Ardoyne, who can both go top of Division 3 with a win over their rivals. Laochra Loch Lao also travel to meet St Agnes’ with both clubs surely lining this one up as a must-win game.
There is a definite Super Sunday feel to events in Derry with four mammoth Div 1 clashes in store. As in Antrim, there is a repeat of the 2018 SFC Final, Lavey hosting Eoghan Rua in search of a modicum of revenge.
Swatragh have been blazing a trail of green flags across the Sperrins recently and sit second in the league, but on Sunday they make the journey to Emmet Park to face the ominously formidable Slaughtneil in a genuinely exciting top-two clash.
Glen and Bellaghy are two teams with championship aspirations and in the final match, neighbours Banagher and Dungiven find themselves in the proverbial relegation four-pointer. Adding to the drama is the fact that St Mary’s are under new management, having lost Enda Muldoon and Declan Mullan during the week, with Paul Cartin and Gary Biggs assuming interim control.
Division 1B front-runners Greenlough and third-placed Foreglen are at home to Ballymaguigan and Limavady respectively, while there is a highly-anticipated 2nd v 4th clash as Steelstown welcome goal-hungry Claudy to the city.
Current Division 2 leaders Slaughtmanus may be lying in second by Sunday, depending on the Doire Trasna result, but will have a chance to either extend or regain their lead as they host Craigbane. The St Joseph’s men have found their feet after a slightly unsteady start and will be gunning for the league leaders.
Fellow chasers Ballerin and Glack are also in action against Magilligan and Desertmartin, who are lurking menacingly just beneath them. A win for St Aidan’s in fact would see them leapfrog their opponents.
One game of note in Antrim ACHL Division 1 on Sunday as Ballycran welcome St Gall’s to McKenna Park. Both sides were on the end of narrow defeats last weekend and are in dire need of points at the foot of the table. An early dogfight in Down.
If you are at a loose end this weekend, get yourself down to at least one of these games – our picks for the weekend below:
H & A Derry ACFL Div 1A – Thursday 25th April – Shamrock Park – 8:15pm
Ballinderry Shamrocks v St Patrick’s The Loup
Antrim ACFL Div 1 – Friday 26th April – Toome – 7:30pm
Erin’s Own Cargin v Kickham’s Creggan
Antrim ACFL Div 3 – Friday 26th April – Cricky – 7pm
Kickham’s Ardoyne v Pearse’s GAC
Antrim ACFL Div 2 – Saturday 27th April – Glenavy – 7pm
St Joseph’s Glenavy v O’Donovan Rossa
H & A Derry ACFL Div 1A – Sunday 28th April – Emmet Park – 2:30pm
Emmet’s Slaughtneil v Davitt’s Swatragh
H & A Derry ACFL Div 1A – Sunday 28th April – Páirc Uí Chatháin – 2:30pm
St Canice’s Dungiven v St Mary’s Banagher
H & A Derry ACFL Div 1B – Sunday 28th April – Páirc Bhríd – 2:30pm
Steelstown Brian Óg’s v John Mitchel’s GAC Claudy
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