With all interest in the Louth GAA Championship over for another year, attentions return to the league for the next two weekends as the regular season draws to a close. There’s still much to play for for the local teams – so here’s a quick look at where the sides stand going into this weekend’s fixtures.
Ardee St Marys – Division 1
The Marys Championship campaign this year lasted no longer than a month but the season is far from over. With no knockout football to concentrate on, the Marys can now turn their attention to ensuring their place in the League Division 1 semi-finals. The Ardee men are well placed to do so – with two rounds to play, the Blues top the table, having won six of their nine games so far.
Hugh Durrigan’s side have not quite sealed their place in the last four but can do so on Sunday evening in Clogherhead when they face Dreadnots. It’s the first of a difficult double header for the Marys to end the regular league season, with Sean O’Mahony’s travelling to Ardee on the final day a week on Sunday.
Two points from their last two outings will guarantee the Marys a spot in the semi-finals – even less may do so if St Patrick’s fail to take maximum points from their matches.
CURRENT POSITION: 1ST
Hunterstown Rovers – Division 2
Like the Marys in the top tier, Hunterstown Rovers saw their Championship journey cut short in 2017, exiting at the quarter-final stage to perennial rivals Clan na Gael. But also like their neighbours, Rovers are enjoying a fine league campaign and look set far to make the semi-finals in Division 2.
Promotion may not have appeared likely for Rovers at the season’s outset but they have been consistent and efficient throughout. Seven wins and one draw from nine matches prove testament to that and Hunterstown lie just one point off joint-leaders St Brides and Naomh Fionnbarra.
No team has conceded fewer total points than Jim Mathews’ team and they have brushed off some big personnel losses throughout the summer, namely captain Muiris O’Suilleabhain and Ryan Burns. Even before his suspension, Burns hardly featured in league action for his club due to inter-county committments in the Spring. Any team would be happy to have him, but Rovers players have, generally speaking, stood up in his absence.
Just one point from their remaining two games will secure Rovers place in the promotion mix. A huge clash with St Brides comes on Sunday before Glen Emmets visit Pairc Baile Fiach.
CURRENT POSITION: 3RD
Sean McDermotts – Division 3
Four wins, four losses and one draw in 2017 tells you everything you need to know about the Sean’s league season. Sitting seventh in the 12 team division, relegation has never been a fear but the top four positions have always seemed tantalisingly out of reach. That said – mathematically – the semi-finals slots aren’t out of reach just yet.
But, the Seans would have to win their last two matches against Lann Leire and Stabannon Parnells and hope St Kevins and the Dunleer side fail to pick up anything at the same time. Unlikely, but you never know. Lann Leire and Stabannon are nowhere now as ????? as the division’s leading lights Roche Emmets and Glyde.
Brian Carroll’s side can go from dangerous to docile but they strung together three impressive wins earlier in the league campaign. They can end the season with a flourish.
CURRENT POSITION: 7TH
Westerns GFC – Division 3
The Westies have a couple of local-ish derbies to end their league season. An inconsistent league campaign will draw to a close against St Kevins and then John Mitchels in Reaghstown in nine days time.
They will be keen to add to their total of just three wins in nine league games – a figure perhaps at odds with expectation and hopes both within the club and externally too. With nothing to play for but pride, they can finish up the year minus any pressure.
CURRENT POSITION: 8TH
John Mitchels – Division 3
A disappointing league season to date has the Mitchels occupying 11th place in the 12 team division but – if youre a glass half full kind of person – they sit only three points off Westerns, comfortable in eighth. Winless Dowdallshill prop Division 3 up and are set to be relegated. Only two wins for them and two defeats for the Mitchels would spell relegation for the Ballybailie men.
With the visit of Naomh Mairtin on Saturday and a short hop to Reaghstown to face the Westerns to come, there’s no reason the end-of-season fixtures shouldn’t be approached with any great trepidation. A point will guarantee safety – but they shouldn’t even need that, unless Dowdallshill suddenly find their home. However, a playoff might be one to avoid. A one off match with an in-form Division 4 outfit would be dangerous.
CURRENT POSITION: 11TH
THIS WEEKEND’S FIXTURES
- DIV 1 – Dreadnots vs Ardee St Marys (6.45pm Sun, Clogherhead)
- DIV 2 – St Brides vs Hunterstown Rovers (6.45pm Sun, Knockbridge)
- DIV 3 – John Mitchels vs Naomh Mairtin (6.45pm Sat, Ballybailie)
- DIV 3 – St Kevins vs Westerns GFC (6.45pm Sat, Philipstown)
- DIV 3 – Sean McDermotts vs Lann Leire (6.45pm Sat, Mountrush)