Derry captain Chrissy McKaigue has been putting Desertmartin through their paces and they look to be in pretty good shape.
Premier Electric Junior Championship
THERE are just two games in the junior football championship with some clubs having long gaps in between games due to the small number of teams participating and some crossovers between football and hurling.
So far this competition has not set the world on fire with just one close game, that as between Ballerin and Dolans where two point separated the teams the end.
Drum v Magilligan
Referee: Damian Harkin
With one of the nine teams set to miss out on a quarter final spot this is a vital game for both these teams who are in the group of five.
Magilligan have lost both their games to date but they were against two of the big hitters Craigbane and Desertmartin. Drum had just one game and that was an away defeat at Moneymore.
Drum, with an already small panel, have been hit hard with the loss of Gabriel Farren to emigration and another four on the injured list.
Magilligan,too, have no overspill of numbers but they look to be a bit stronger than the St. Colm’s particularly when it comes to taking scores.
Both were hit by a Covid-19 shut down coming up to the start of the championship and that hit their preparations badly.
Former defender Eoin Kelly is now performing well at midfield and his clash with Drum’s tall James McCartney will be interesting. James Payne, the goal scoring Magilligan full forward, will pose problems for the Drum defence with his aerial ability. Collie Mullan is back in the St. Aidan’s attack after injury they just look to have more scoring options than the Gortnaghy men.
Desertmartin v Craigbane
Referee: Declan O’Connor
Either of these two are capable of going all the way so this will be an interesting clash at Longfield. Desertmartin have beaten Moneymore and Magilligan while Craigbane in their only game have got the better of Magilligan.
Derry captain Chrissy McKaigue has been putting Desertmartin through their paces and they look to be in pretty good shape. Craigbane have Lee Moore back and long with Fergal Mortimer will form a strong attacking centre for the visitors. Craigbane manager James McGrath has had a spell with Desertmartin and he is a club mate of Chrissy McKaigue at Slaughtneil so there will be no secrets on either side.
Craigbane have been patiently building though youth and while they are not the finished article they do look to be better in attack than the St. Martin’s and that could be the deciding factor.
Meanwhile, there are six games to be played in the three different groups in the Intermediate Football Championship, with one game to be played on Friday evening.
So far, Castledwason, Greenlough and Steelstown have been the stand out teams but it is in the knock-out stages that the real tests will come.
Lissan v Faughanvale
Ballinderry, Friday 8pm
Referee: Thomas Devlin
Unbeaten Faughanvale face an eighty mile plus round journey to take on a Lissan team decimated by emigration and injuries.
Faughanvale, too, have had their casualties, losing their two midfield men Oisin Quinn and Jordan Curran for the rest of the season and probably well into the next one. Still, they had enough in reserve to beat a strong Drumsurn team in round two by 1-9 to 1-8.
Lissan conceded their opening game to Drumsurn but did play against Doire Trasna where they lost by three points. Considering their situation it was a decent enough performance.
They are now managed by former Foreglen player Kieran O’Kane. Faughanvale have a young and very athletic team that will be around for years. With the free scoring duo of Paddy O’Kane and Kevin Martin in attack it will be a surprise if they don't make it three from three.