Saturday 19 October 2019

County champs out to give Jocks a dose of Blues

John Savage

Newtown Blues will be hot favourites to add the Cardinal O'Donnell Cup to their bulging Newfoundwell trophy cabinet on Saturday night as they take on Naomh Mairtin in the Division 1 League decider at the Gaelic Grounds (6.00).

The county champions booked their place in the final with minimum fuss last Thursday, slowly grinding down Mattock Rangers in a methodical, if unspectacular, 0-14 to 0-6 victory.

Ronan Phillips side cruised through the league proper and topped the table, before dispatching fourth-placed Mattock on home soil and will be strongly fancied to see off the Jocks. But they won't be underestimating the Monasterboice men who were full value for their semi-final win over Dreadnots 48 hours later.

After finishing in second place and securing home advantage, the Clogherhead outfit would have been slight favourites to advance to the final, but a superb second-half display and a brilliant cameo by the evergreen JP Rooney fired the Jocks to victory. The Division 1 decider is one of three key clashes taking place at the weekend with the other two taking place on Friday night. Kilkerley Emmets and Geraldines will battle it out for the last spot in Division 1 for 2019 when they clash at Darver in the first of two high stakes showdowns between the sides in the space of a week.

They are also due to meet in the SFC relegation play-off final the following weekend, but the focus is league status this week as Geraldines bid to hang on to their seat at the top table. Kilkerley slipped down to Division 2 at the end of last season and were denied an instant and automatic return to the top tier by O Raghallaigh's in the final round.

They recovered to easily dispatch third-placed Hunterstown last weekend, but a much closer tussle is expected when they take on the Gers. Elsewhere, St Kevin's are hoping to pull off a similar coup but trading places with Glen Emmets in Division 2. Emmets finished second-from-bottom, but negotiated the first leg of their survival mission last weekend, holding off a spirited comeback by Lannleire.

Kevin's accounted for 14-man Na Piarsaigh in Dundalk to grab a shot at promotion and a close encounter is expected.

Drogheda Independent