All to play for as ACFL reaches final round
The stage is set for the final regulation rounds in the All-County Football Leagues this weekend, with the novel system in place meaning that the majority of clubs have something to play for.
Clubs have played 11 matches to date in Division 1 and 12 in the other divisions, with 1all bar one of those running off without access to county players. To counteract this and ensure promotion and relegation as well as the destination of the Division 1 title will not be decided without county panellists, the leagues will break into top four and bottom four play-offs following this weekend.
In Division 1, senior champions Ramor are top of the pile with 10 wins and a draw, closely followed by Ballyhaise and Crosserlough.
Cavan Gaels are in fourth, four points off third, and will advance to the semi-finals should they beat Ballinagh at Terry Coyle Park on Friday. Gowna are due to meet Killinkere tonight (Wednesday and a win there would give them a chance at qualifying were the Gaels to slip up as they beat their rivals in the head-to-head match. At the bottom end of the table, Cootehill and Killygarry will certainly enter the relegation play-offs, with two of Laragh, Kingscourt, Killinkere and Lacken to join them, although Killinkere, who host the Stars on Saturday, have a game in hand.
Laragh look likeliest to slip into the play-off positions as they would need to beat Killygarry and hope Killinkere lose both games heavily or beat Kingscourt by a wide margin. If Killinkere beat Gowna and lose to Kingscourt, Lacken could also be drawn into it if they lose away to Cootehill.
The Division 2 table, meanwhile, is extraordinarily close, with just three points separating first and 10th and every team in the division having lost at least four of their 12 matches to date. Arva, Mullahoran and Drumlane are level on 15 points at the top but numerous other teams remain in with a chance of making the promotion play-offs and the top three are still not guaranteed semi-final spots.
At the bottom end, the picture is a little clearer with Denn and Ballymachugh well adrift at present. Drumgoon (12th) host Lavey and Knockbride (11th) travel to Butlersbridge while Bailieborough are not out of the woods just yet and as they face promotion-chasing Drumlane.
In Division 3, Templeport are home and hosed, with 12 wins from 12, as are second-placed Munterconnaught who have 19 points. Drumalee and Redhills, the latter of whom have charged up the table of late, are both on 18 points in third and fourth places respectively, with Kill Shamrocks the only side who can gate-crash that party.
Drumalee should have too much for Maghera, who are without a win, Redhills travel to Munterconnaught, Kill face Swanlinbar in Rathluden. Should Redhills lose and Kill win, the Shamrocks would advance by virtue of the head-to-head result between the sides.