Club Championship previews
Sligo Club Championships 
Belfry Senior Championship 
Saturday Belfry Bar Senior Championship
Coolera Strandhill vs St. Molaise Gaels at 5pm in Markievicz Park
Tourlestrane vs Drumcliffe/Rosses Point at 7pm in Markievicz Park
Tubbercurry vs Curry at 7pm Bunnanadden Community Park
Sunday Fixtures 
St. Mary's vs Eastern Harps at 6pm Markievicz Park

Tourlestrane vs Drumcliffe/Rosses Point
Another senior championship campaign begins with Tourlestrane as the clear favourites to claim the title. The reigning champions – and recently crowned Division On league champions – enter the 2017 competition in fine form, and seemingly head and shoulders above the rest. 
Retaining the crown will be of real importance to Tourlestrane as, despite all of their dominance over the last 20 years, they haven’t managed to win back-to-back titles. 
Last Sunday’s league final against Tubbercurry was closer than many anticipated, and would suggest that Tourlestrane may not be as far ahead of the chasing pack as many would think.
Nonetheless, they should be capable of getting their campaign off to a winning start here against a Drumcliffe/Rosses Point side that will likely find it difficult to emerge from this group, with Coolaney/Mullinabreena the other team. 
The north Sligo men will travel to Markievicz Park having retained their Division One league status – one would imagine if they could secure their top tier championship status too, they would be quite content with their efforts for 2017. 8

St Mary’s vs Eastern Harps
Sunday evening sees an interesting battle take place at Markievicz Park, with St Mary’s and Eastern Harps facing off in Group One. 
In what is the only four team group a good start is vital, with the top team in this section heading straight through to the semi-final stage. 
Both sides will be hopeful of securing a win here in what is a difficult tie to call. St Mary’s finished fourth in a topsy-turvy Division One campaign, but will be hopeful of putting in a credible challenge for championship honours having last won the title in 2015. 
Eastern Harps have not put together a serious title bid in several years – though they reached a semi-final last year – but are a team capable of putting in decent performances, given the experience of some of their seasoned campaigners. 
Expect this to be a close affair, with St Mary’s to shade it. 

Coolera Strandhill vs St.Molaise Gaels 
On Saturday two local rivals will face off and just like two seasons ago when the Championship was home and away which saw both teams get a win a piece but it was Coolera Strandhill who came out of the group on that occasion . Fresh after winning last year’s Kennedy’s Intermediate championship North Sligo side Molaise Gaels will be hoping to get the better of John McPartland’s side who recently won the division 2 league title. 
Injuries have been a concern for Molaise Gaels throughout the season but they have been boosted by number of players returning to full fitness but they will be without Johnny Kelly, Paddy McGowan and Liam Kennedy while Coolera should have a full panel to pick from with the bonus of having Gary Cadden home from Australia. All in all it’s a tough one to call where Calry/St.Joseph’s will be looking on closely- Niall Murphy and Barry O’Mahony could be the difference if Coolera can get the ball in but I think this could end in a draw with Cathal Burns, Alan McLoughlin and Keelan Waters able to put in a big performance to get share of the spoils.  

Tubbercurry vs Curry
Another year another South Sligo derby as both Curry and Tubbercurry will have high hopes of winning this year’s Owen B Hunt Cup. Tubbercurry who came up just short against Tourlestrane in the division 1 league final last weekend will be hoping to learn from it when they face neighbours and rivals Curry who have been successful lately at u-16, minor and most recently a senior division 4 title will hoping that they could boost the club this weekend.
 Curry will be very dependent on the performance of star forward Adrian Marren, while they have other forwards well able to score with youngster Tommy Henry  well able to help out Jason Marren and co. But that all said Tubbercurry under the guideship of Pat Kilcoyne might just have enough with Brian Curran back towards his best and David Kelly sure to cause plenty of problems for Kevin Giblin’s side. 

Kennedys Bar Intermediate Championship
Saturday Fixtures
St. Michael's vs Shamrock Gaels at 5.30 Bunnanadden Community Park
Geevagh v Easkey at 7pm Cloonacool Community Park
St. John's vs Enniscrone/Kilglass at 7pm St. Brendan's GAA Park Castleconnor
Sunday Fixtures
Castleconnor vs Bunnanadden at 6pm Tourlestrane

St Michael’s vs Shamrock Gaels
Saturday’s clash between these two east Sligo neighbours should see Shamrock Gaels get their challenge for an intermediate title off to a winning start. 
The Gaels have played Division One league football for the past two seasons – they retained their status once again for 2018 – and that should stand them in good stead for a tilt at a championship crown. 
That said, they have failed to impress in the intermediate grade in recent years and have only reached the final once since being relegated. 
St Michael’s received a major boost when avoiding relegation from Division Two after a decent defeat of Castleconnor in the final round of the league. They should prove sticky opponents here, but Shamrock Gaels will be hugely disappointed if they don’t win. 

Easkey vs Geevagh
Geevagh will be hoping to make amends for a final meltdown in 2016 by bouncing back to claim a title they last won in 2009 this year. 
The east Sligo side suffered at the hands of St Molaise Gaels in last year’s decider, and look determined to go one better this year after winning the Benson Cup and reaching the Division Two league final. 
They are in a tricky group containing west Sligo sides Easkey and St Farnan’s, with the Sea Blues back in the second tier having been relegated from Senior last year. 
Easkey will fancy themselves to have a right crack at the championship this year, having won it in 2015, and this encounter at Cloonacool on Saturday evening will be a good measure of where they are at. 
Geevagh may just have the edge, but Easkey will give Peter Bolger’s side a stern test. 

Enniscrone/Kilglass vs St.John’s 
Fresh from their division 3 success Enniscrone/Klglass will make the short journey to Castleconnor as they face north Sligo St. John’s. Dara McGarty in his second season with John’s will hoping to get off to a winning start as his side was recently boosted by the return of Mark Rooney a brother of David who are two players key to the John’s side. Mark Gordon and Brian Coleman are two key players for the west side and they will have to be firing if Enniscrone are pull off shock. But with that said John’s should have enough for a side hoping for long season. 

Castleconnor vs Bunninadden
Two teams hoping to get off to good start in this year’s campaign, Castleconnor would love to get back to the final just like couple of seasons ago but they are a side in transition and will depend on likes of Kevin McDonnell, Sean Carrabine and Matthew Kilcullen. But Bunninadden a side who have plenty of tradition at senior level in Sligo will hoping that star player Vincent Frizzell can play big part along with county goalkeeper Daniel Cafferky can lead their side to victory on Sunday evening. This is game that could go either and could set the team up for long season if the result goes to plan . The west Sligo side could have enough if McDonnell is available for Castleconnor. 

Lola Montez Junior A Championship
Fixtures on Sunday
Cloonacool vs Curry at 12.00 Noon Corran Park, Ballymote
Owenmore Gaels vs Tourlestrane at 1.30pm Corran Park, Ballymote
Ballymote vs Shamrock Gaels 6pm Kilcoyne Park, Tubbercurry

Cloonacool vs Curry
Curry come into the match on the back of their recent success in the division 4 league final against Drumcliffe and they will be confident against a Cloonacool side who had a very mixed bag of  a league campaign and they will be hoping that they can put that right this Sunday against Curry. Jason Brennan at midfield and Hughie Marren in the forwards could be enough for Cloonacool to get off winning start. 

Owenmore Gaels vs Tourlestrane
On paper this would seem to be game that Owenmore Gaels should win but they face a Tourlestrane team who were runners up last year and the club seem to be flying at the minute. And with a large panel at senior level they will be able to count on number of lads on Sunday including senior managers Gerry McGowan and Eamonn O’Hara. But with that said with young underage players which have come through in recent seasons in Owenmore Gaels including U-21 player  Brian Mahon this should be a game that the Gaels should  win if they are to have chance of going back to the intermediate grade for 2018.

Ballymote vs Shamrock Gaels
Gerry Monaghan's side come into the junior championship on the back of disappointing defeat in the division 3 final but they will be hoping to bounce back this Sunday when they face Shamrock Gaels. Mark Irwin, Stephen Ross and Peter Lyons are three players definitely good enough for this grade and this could get them off to winning start.

GET OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR CLUB THIS WEEKEND


Comments and Discussion on this article:                          (+ Write a Comment)

Write comments about this article
 
Your Name:*  
Comment:*