ON Saturday 25 June Eoghan Rua, Coleraine will begin the defence of their Derry senior football championship title when they face Glenullin in Celtic Park in the first round.
This will be the second part of a huge local derby ‘double header’ at the Derry city venue as Dungiven meet Banagher at 6.00pm while Eoghan Rua and Glenullin lock horns immediately after at 7.45. The last weekend in June promises to be a bumper few days of championship action as the first rounds of the Senior and Intermediate competitions are down for decision. The senior championship first round ends on Sunday evening at Glen with another mouth watering double header. Loup, champions in 2009, will meet Bellaghy at 6.00pm while at 7.45pm in arguably the tie of the round Ballinderry meet Lavey. Last year these sides met at the semi-final stage when Ballinderry staged a dramatic comeback in the game of the season to edge out Lavey with two late goals. After that thrilling encounter many pundits had Ballinderry’s name written onto the John McLaughlin Cup but Eoghan Rua wrote their own name into the history books when they caused the shock of the season to beat the mighty Shamrocks and lift the Cup for the first time ever. It’s hard to believe that in just over three weeks the journey to see who will get their hands onto the John McLaughlin Cup in 2011 begins yet again. The draw has certainly thrown up some tasty looking encounters where near neighbours will be pitted against each other to test their championship credentials once again. Of course, defeat will not be the end of the road in the first round as once again there will be a ‘back door’ for the losers but as has been the case so far in the revamped Derry championship, going through the front door provides the best chance for ultimate glory as Eoghan Rua proved last year.
The dates, venues and times for the M&L Contracts Derry Senior Football Championship frist round are as follows: Thursday, June 23 at Bellaghy: 7.15pm: Newbridge v Ballinascreen.
Friday, June 24 at Slaughtneil: 7.15pm: Greenlough v Glen; Saturday, June 25 at Celtic Park: 6.00pm: Banagher v Dungiven and at 7.45pm: Coleraine v Glenullin. Sunday, June 26 at Ballinascreen: 1.30pm: Slaughtneil v Castledawson and at 3.15pm: Kilrea v Magherafelt; Sunday, June 26 at Glen: 6.00pm: Loup v Bellaghy and at 7.45pm: Lavey v Ballinderry.
The GBS Scaffolding Intermediate Football Championship first round: Thursday, June 23 at Claudy: 7.15pm: Craigbane v Faughanvale; Friday, June 24 at Dungiven: 6.00pm: Sean Dolans v Swatragh and at 7.45pm: Ogra Colmcille v Slaughtmanus; Saturday, June 25 at Banagher: 1.30pm: Foreglen v Claudy and at 3.15pm Drumsurn v Steelstown; Saturday, June 25 at Magherafelt
1.30pm: Desertmartin v Ballymaguigan; Sunday, June 26 at Swatragh: 1.30pm: Ballerin v Lissan and at 3.15pm: Moneymore v Limavady.