Emigration casts shadow over clubs
SOME of Sligo football's biggest personalities will be missing when the local club championships get under way this week-end.
Emigration for economic and football reasons has left several clubs without many key players.
The most notable absentee is Sligo star, Adrian Marren, who is playing football in New York this summer.
He's been the top scorer for defending senior champions, Curry, for the past number of years.
Last season, he was named on the Sligo Champion Club All Stars team.
He also won the player of the year award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Curry's Championship success.
Marren is among a number of Curry players unavailable for one reason or another for the start of the campaign. David Maye and Jason Marren, two key members of last season's triumphant squad, are other absentees. Two other county stars, Tony Taylor (Eastern Harps) and Pat Hughes (Geevagh) are also ruled out of the early rounds of the Championship, having travelled overseas.
A number of other players who are currently out of the country will also be unavailable to their clubs for the initial stages of the Championship.
These include Colin Neary (Tourlestrane), Cathal Finneran, Conor Brady, Paul Kelly (all St. Pat's), Alan Cawley, Brian Curley, David Carrabine (all Castleconnor) and Gareth Ryan (St. Farnan's).
Despite the loss of a number of players, Curry will still be strongly fancied to lift the senior crown for the second year in a row.
They get the defence of their title under way against Eastern Harps at Bunninadden on Saturday (7.30pm). Curry's main challengers are expected to be Tourlestrane.
The 2011 Champions start their campaign against Ballymote at Bunninadden on Saturday (6pm). Last year's runners up, St. Mary's, are in action on Sunday.
They take on Geevagh at Corran Park (7.30pm)
The other senior championship game this week-end is the meeting of Tubbercurry and St. Molaise Gaels at Markievicz Park on Saturday (7.30pm)
The Intermediate Championship also gets under way at the week-end
Drumcliffe/Rossess Point play Calry/St. Joseph's at Markievicz Park on Saturday (5.45pm) while there are three games down for decision on Sunday.
St. Pat's meet Castleconnor (6pm) and Enniscrone/Kilglass take on St. Farnan's (7.30pm) in a double header at Easkey while Shamrock Gaels are up against Owenmore Gaels at Corran Park (6pm).