Metro Leagues enter the final countdown
As the league season nears its end there is still a lot to play for in the Metro Leagues. Having been revamped three seasons ago, they have generally been regarded as a success and now as we come to the business end of the season, the fight for promotion or to avoid relegation ramps up.
For the record, the top two teams in each division play off to win the division outright and gain promotion (with the exception of Metro 1 where there is no promotion), and at the other end the bottom two teams battle it out to see who goes down and who survives.
Here's the state of play for Divisions 1 to 5 with two rounds to go and the runners and riders for the promotion play-off spots:
Despite losing at home last Sunday, Terenure still find themselves nine points clear and barring a complete meltdown should hold on to home advantage in the play-off to win the division. Who they will play in that showdown is less clear with realistically three teams in contention, UCD, Belvedere and Lansdowne.
Despite a heavy defeat last weekend, Blackrock (like Terenure in Division1) remain top of Metro 2, four points clear of Naas. Both of these sides are well clear of the rest of the field so look odds on to be the two teams to be set for the play-offs, with Trinity an outside bet having played one game less than the top two.
Clontarf are one of only a few teams to have won all their matches so far this season. No easy feat, and yet although 11 points clear of second placed Bective they will have to play them at home to win the league and gain promotion to Metro 2. Neither of these sides can be caught at this stage so that play-off is a done deal.
Old Wesley sit at the top of this Division … for now. But waiting in the long grass with two games in hand are Malahide who still have postponed games against Rathdrum and Dundalk to play along with a derby against Skerries next weekend and finally another opponent from beside the sea in Blackrock to see their schedule complete. Wesley should win their final two games against Mary's and Dundalk - so the likely pairing for the promotion play-offs are Wesley and Malahide - the big question may well be: who's at home?
UCD are another one of the few who have won all their games so far and they too lie ten points ahead of their nearest rivals Bective. These two teams play each other this weekend in Donnybrook so a win for UCD would guarantee them home advantage in the play-off. Bective should be able to do enough in their final game against Terenure to hold on to the second play-off spot. Should they happen to lose their final two games and if third-placed Wanderers can manage to win their final two games against Terenure and Clontarf, they might just leapfrog Bective for the play-off spot.