The Devenish Antrim JFC – Preliminary Round
St Patrick’s Lisburn v Laochra Loch Lao
Chapel Hill, Glenavy
Friday 23rd Agust @ 7:30pm
Referee - Barry Hotchkiss
Tomorrow night in Glenavy Naomh Pádraig Lisburn and the fledgling Laochra Loch Lao open their 2019 The Devenish Antrim Junior Football Championship campaigns.
Beaten finalists in 2017 and 2018, the Lisburn men will be hoping to make it third time lucky in 2019. St Pat’s won promotion to Division 2 last season and although they made an immediate return to Division 3, they will be hoping their experience of playing in the second flight will help them get over the line at the third time of asking.
Naomh Pádraig’s sole league victory in 2019 came at Fr Maginn Park where they exacted a modicum of revenge on Con Magee’s, who both defeated them in the championship final and pipped them to the Division 3 league title by the narrowest of margins.
However, their position at the foot of the table is somewhat misleading. St Pat’s lost by less than five points on six occasions throughout the campaign and acquitted themselves well in a tough division.
Laochra Loch Lao’s second season has built on the progress made in their first. The side have managed 4 league wins and found the net a healthy 17 times. Their championship bow last season ended in defeat against Na Piarsaigh after they lost talisman Seán Mac Corraidh to injury at the end of the first half.
Although finishing second from bottom in Division 3, the Gaeltacht men had a healthy eight-point cushion over Ballycastle. Their most notable victory came at home to O’Donnell’s, where three goals saw them take a 3-07 to 0-15 win against a side who operated in Division 2 in 2018.
Francis McMeel and Josh McMullan continue to be crucial to the Lisburn attack with Eoin Fay driving the side forward from midfield. McMeel was our Man of the Match in last year’s championship outing against Ardoyne.
There is a real inter-county feel to the Laochra side. They added brothers Éamonn and Connla Ó Coinn from Armagh to their ranks this year alongside Aaron Ó Sraitheáin from Down.
Seán Mac Corraidh suffered an injury in the early stages of the league but is fit again to take his place for championship, while Conchúr Mac Siacais is a tricky customer who will keep the St Pat’s back line honest.
Both sides will be hoping that previous experience will benefit them tomorrow night in Glenavy, but Naomh Pádraig’s season in Division 2 and their drive to return once again to the showpiece should be enough to see them into a quarter-final against Na Piarsaigh.