Cargin home and hosed as St John's and Rossa battle it out for second
Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship
WHAT are the chances of Cargin taking the foot off the pedal in their final group game of the championship?
Remote, is probably the answer.
Already home and hosed and looking imperious as ever after five wins out of five, it’s still unlikely Damien Cassidy's men will ease up at home to St John’s tomorrow afternoon, with the Belfast side chasing a runners-up spot and progressing to the knock-out stages.
The three-in-a-row county champions won’t want to show any weaknesses as they eye up a quarter-final showdown with old city rivals St Gall’s later this month, plus they’ll be keen to get more minutes in some legs, especially Mick McCann's.
While there may be plenty of intrigue in who finishes second to Lamh Dhearg in Group Three – St Enda’s or Aghagallon – there remains plenty of interest in whether it will be the Johnnies or O’Donovan Rossa progressing with Cargin.
Rossa have the small matter of a senior county hurling final to debate in eight days’ time and the west Belfast club will have to weigh up just how many dual players they field in the footballers’ final group game against Moneyglass who have found the going desperately tough at senior championship level.
And how far can the Rossa footballers go in the championship especially with the prospect of facing Kickham’s Creggan in the quarter-finals who are fully expected to be Cargin’s nearest title challengers again?
Do Rossa field eight or nine dual players and run the risk of losing men ahead of the hurling final against Dunloy?
It would be a shock if St John’s turned over Cargin in their own backyard and with even a weakened Rossa side expected to ease past Moneyglass, second place could come down to scoring difference as the two Belfast clubs scored identical wins over each other which rules out head-to-head.
Rossa are fancied to do enough.
Group Four only had three teams - Creggan, St Gall's and Gort na Mona - with Creggan sailing through to the knock-out stages and St Gall's also progressing in the runners-up spot.
Creggan's dead rubber with Gort na Mona, scheduled for this weekend, has been called off because of a COVID outbreak among the Gorts.
The call-off means it will be roughly two months between Creggan’s last group game and their quarter-final fixture.
St Brigid’s are also through to the quarter-finals with James Loughrey making the journey from Cork to help the south Belfast club.
They will face either Aghgallon or St Enda’s in the next round, while it’s a straight shoot-out for a place in the knock-out stages between Portglenone and Ahoghill, with the latter needing only a draw in Kelly Park tomorrow afternoon.
After a sticky start to their campaign, Lamh Dhearg found form to top Group Three and will face either Portglenone or Ahoghill.
The quarter-finals are expected to be played on the weekend of October 25.
Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC weekend fixtures:
Group One: Cargin v St John’s; Moneyglass v O’Donovan Rossa
Group Two: Portglenone v Ahoghill
Group Three: Lamh Dhearg v Aldergrove; Aghagallon v St Enda’s
Group Four: Creggan w/o Gort na Mona