Local clubs prepare for championship action

Local clubs prepare for championship action

15 September 2021

GAA championship action makes its long awaited return in Down.

And once again the big question is can anyone stop  Kilcoo becoming senior football champions once again.

The Magpies have been champions nine times since the Millennium — but there could be a new name on the trophy this year.

They start their defence in Newry this Sunday against Mayobridge, who many think could go all the way.

Kilcoo endured an uncharacteristic end to their league campaign, losing back-to-back fixtures against Mayobridge and Clonduff.

Senior Championship action begins tomorrow night when Warrenpoint face off against Longstone at 7.30pm in Ballymartin.

Locally, the action begins Friday evening with newly promoted Saul, last year’s Internediate champions, squaring off against Burren in Liatroim at 7.30pm.

The action begins to flow freely on Saturday when the bulk of contests commence. Bredagh meet Castlewellan while Drumaness play St Michaels in the Intermediate Championship and Dromara square off against Clann na Banna in the Junior Championship. 

Last year’s runners-up, Carryduff, face Downpatrick RGU at Darragh Cross at 5pm.

Downpatrick manager Aidan Robinson spoke of his side’s anticipation for their championship campaign, while knowing they will have no easy task ahead of them. 

“We are very much looking forward to our clash with Carryduff this weekend, it will be a real test for us,” he said. 

“Carryduff are now an experienced first division team and they will rightly be favourites for this match, especially after their run to the final last year. 

“We achieved our main goal of the year when we got promoted to Division 1, anything after that is a bonus,” he continued. 

“We have a few injury concerns so we will have to see how that works out during the week, but we will try our best and we will see where that takes us.”

Meanwhile Downpatrick RGU chairwoman Edel Curran noted the club’s delight at returning to Championship action after they were banned from the competition.

“We are delighted to be back in the championship after our expulsion last year, hopefully the team does their best and that’s all we can ask,” she said.

Ms Curran also highlighted the club’s frustration at the untimely overlapping of male and female competition.

“We also look forward to our senior ladies team playing in the Championship this weekend too, but it is disappointing that the county board and the ladies county board have not been able to coordinate their match times, she said. 

“Both our senior teams take the field on Saturday evening at either end of the county. When we are trying hard at club level to promote all our teams it is frustrating to have such clashes which can easily be avoided and give respect to both our senior teams.”

The pick of Sunday’s action is the fiery rematch between Loughinisland and Ballyholland who meet at St Patrick’s Park in Newcastle.

If this contest is anything like last year’s encounter then the surrounding crowds will no doubt be expecting fireworks.

St John’s and Liatroim meet in the Intermediate Championship, while Darragh Cross take on Saval.

Junior Championship action continues with Aughlisnafin facing Teconnaught and Ardglass competing against Dundrum.

In the Intermediate Championship Bright, nearly crowned Division winners, travel to Liatroim on Monday where they will face Tullylish.