PREVIEW: Can Crosserlough retain their SFC title?

Keogan’s Imperial Senior championship

Round 1 Sunday, August 9, 11am

Group A

Templeport V Lacken

Gowna V Crosserlough

The Keogans Imperial Senior championship throws-in this Sunday with two groups of four teams. Each team will play each other on a league basis with the top two from each group progressing to the semi-finals.

In Group A Crosserlough will aim for back-to-back championship titles but face stiff competition in a very tight group. They present a tough opening game for the newly promoted Gowna who take on a Crosserlough side with five county senior players: Neasa Byrd, Shauna Lynch, Ciara Finnegan, Lauren McVeety and Muireann Cusack. However Gowna - 2019 Intermediate champions - too have some big names with Intermediate player of the year Emma Halton a key player along with Niamh Halton, Caoimhe Madden and Letiza Sheridan to name a few.

In the other group A clash Templeport host Lacken in what promises to be an exciting encounter. Under new management last year’s beaten semi-finalists Lacken have been boosted by the return of Rosie Crowe McKeever and also by the addition of former Armagh ladies player Marian McGuinness. These two have proven a deadly duo at midfield with county forward Roisin O’Keeffe also in fine form up front with county player Joanne Moore a strong presence for Lacken in the backs. Templeport will hope to bounce back from a disappointing league campaign in which they recorded a draw and two losses. They will look to the experience of Aisling Maguire up front while Rachael Doonan and Sinead Greene will drive the team from the backline. Both teams also have a number of up and coming stars looking to make an impact.

Group B

Mullahoran V Lurgan

Arva/Killeshandra V Killygarry

In Group B last year’s beaten finalists Mullahoran host the 2018 champions Lurgan. Mullahoran under the new management of Finbar O’Reilly, Liam Wilson, Fergal Brady and Eddie Sheriff will be looking to go one step further this year and will be strengthened by the return of Aishling Sheridan from the Womens AFL. Captain Sheila Reilly who made last year’s team of the championship will again be a key player, as will Mona and Geraldine Sheridan and county minor Maria Mussi.

Lurgan are in transition from the four-in-a-row championship winning team of 2014-2018, with numerous young players like the Tolan sisters starting to break into the side. Captain Catherine Dolan will be a driving force for the Virginia side that are strong in a defence led by Evelyn Baugh in goals and county players Emer Corcoran, Roisin Dolan and Michaela Doonan. Up front the experience of Niamh Daly and Claragh O’Reilly is key with Laura Keogan also making a welcome return.

The remaining Group B fixture sees Killygarry make the trip to take on the amalgamation of Arva/Killeshandra. Killygarry are a team to look out for with many of their 2019 division 1 minor championship team featuring on this year’s senior panel, including Amy Galligan, Ally Cahill, Aisling Walls and Kaioni Tuipoluto who is playing her debut season with the seniors. With injuries to the Smith sisters Catriona and Geraldine, Killygarry will call upon the experience of Rachel Talbot and Nikki Fortune to guide this young side. Arva/Killeshandra are in transition from the side that won the Intermediate championship in 2018. Donna English along with Caoimhe McDermott and county minor Eabha Whelan are vital to the side that is without Leah and Kayla Brady.