Much to the disgust of a number of Premier League managers their has been an abundance of football on our TV screens of late. However, for the amateur lover the ‘real’ football drought comes to an end this weekend. The couch will be traded for a spot as close to the white line as you can get, the housecoat for a coat of a more robust weather resistant kind and the remote for a phone so you can #jsplive and update the amateur football’s live score feed!
Leagues across the country play host to exciting games this weekend including the LSL and it’s Senior Sunday fixtures certainly look tasty.
The star of Friday nights show looks certain to be St Mochtas home clash with Crumlin United.
It could certainly be viewed as a clash between the big name of the last decade and the emerging name in the LSL, but it’s the ramifications this clash could have on the title race that make it most interesting.
Mochtas were one result away from going into their Christmas celebrations with an unbeaten record, but for defeat to Malahide just before the break.
Brian McCarthy’s men currently sit third in the table and certainly have title ambitions going into the new year and victory in Porterstown on Friday could go a long way to killing of the chances of one of their rivals.
A surprisingly poor start to the season saw some write off Martin Loughran men’s chances of ending Bluebell’s reign as champions. However, true to form in recent seasons the side that came to within a final day result of being crowned champions last season, have picked up the pace as the season progressed. Three straight wins at the tail end of the year pushed them up to seventh and they are now six points behind Mochtas, but with a game in hand.
A win on Saturday night could get Pearse Park believing again and add some more excitement to an already tight title race.
There will also be some interesting sub plots to Friday’s clash. Alan ‘The Real Deal’ McGreal and Luke Kelly, both FAI Intermediate Cup winners with Crumlin will play against the former club for the first time since joining Mocthas, while Shane ‘Super Mario’ Dolan, who could play up front for United had a stint at Mochtas at the start of the season. Not to mention long time Crumlin leader James Lee could pull on the blue shirt again after returning from Collinstown.
It’s the battle of the promoted sides at the Iveagh League Grounds on Friday. Bangor Celtic and Wayside Celtic, who came up along side Cherry Orchard last season will go head to head. At first glance it has the look of a potentially entertaining clash with nothing really of note on the line. However, upon further inspection it could really set the tone the for each’s second half of the season.
Cherry Orchard’s impressive start has somewhat taken from how well Bangor have readjusted to the life in the top tier. They have more than bounced back from a year sabbatical they have sprung back and into the top half.
A home win on Friday for a side who have only lost once on the Crumlin Road this season could see them move as high as third in the table, if results go their way. Move that high and they could feel they have as good a chance as any of the chasing pack if not mount a challenge at the very least have a say in the title race.
Wayside have been solid if not spectacular since returning to the more familiar surroundings of Senior Sunday. However, a run of three straight defeats somewhat took away the feel good feel of earlier in the season. Indeed they haven’t won since September and will keen to end that stat this weekend. A win could help move the ninth placed side toward mid table obscurity. Defeat on the other hand might raise relegation concerns. Wayside are just four points off the drop zone and will be wary of being dragged into a battle to avoid the trap door.
Another clash with relegation ramifications on Friday is Dundrum FC versus UCD AFC and this one looks like it could be tight! Only goal difference separates the sides who sit 10 and 11 in the table respectively. Both have four wins, two draws and six league defeats this season. However, it’s the fact that both are just two points clear of the bottom three that make this such an important clash.
A victor will get some much needed breathing space while the defeated side could find themselves in the bottom three depending on results.
Both sides have been helped this season by performances of their front men and don’t be surprised if either Connor Cannon of UCD or Steven Cantwell of Drums are headline grabbers this weekend.
With Drums and UCD playing each other the weekend it provides Greystones with the chance to move out of the bottom three for the first time this season. Regardless of the result in Morton Stadium a fifth win on the trot for ‘Stones will see them move out of the drop zone for the first time since last season.
The division’s form side welcome Firhouse Clover to Wicklow and probably won’t know what to expect. Clover, who seemed a side in transition to date have added five new players to their squad over the winter break and will be looking to gel as quick as possible. They currently sit eight, but have just one point from their last three games and like teams around them will be looking to string together some results to ensure they are not facing a second half of the season relegation fight.
Top rather than bottom of the table will be on Cherry Orchard’s minds going into phase two of the term. They currently sit second and could go first on goal difference if they can secure victory over a somewhat indifferent Killester United at home on Sunday.
With Bluebell not playing Deko Heavey’s men could overtake the Champions with a win. Killester are never easy opposition and seem comfortable so far this season. Killester fans may have hoped for a stronger start to the season, but without hitting top form the Northside outfit are sixth and boast games in hand over those around them. A string of results could see them move up the table as the season progresses.
Seen as it’s the only LSL game on Sunday it may just be taken by a large crowd and with two quality midfielders like Jonathan Kelty and Stephen Chambers on display they may just be treated to some moments of quality football.