Limavady v Ardmore
Sunday (1.00) – Celtic Park
Ref: Mark O’Neill (Claudy)
If championships were won on paper, then the Wolfhounds would be already scouting a shot at an Ulster title.
They were the runaway outfit in the league and barring an acid test by Moneymore, nobody even came close.
Their opponents on Sunday Ardmore have been struggling to stay in existence in recent seasons. They had a confidence-boosting draw with Glack and on the back of a 1-12 to 2-6 win over Sean Dolan’s ensuring they have stayed off the bottom spot in the league.
In Sunday’s win over Doire Colmcille, the ageless Al McLaughlin continued to defy logic by staying on and rack up scores. James Cruickshank and Cahair O’Kane have chipped in to support him, with the latter back from a spell with Liverpool side Wolfe Tones.
Ryan Storey will give them another attacking option, while defender Leonard Quinn has featured at full-forward during the league.
In defence William McLaughlin and Anthony Hargan are the key performers, on front of regular goalkeeper Kelvin McGowan, thought Feidhlim O’Neill has also donned the goalkeeper gloves this season.
No matter what way dissect this fixture and marry the pieces back together, Limavady are raging hot favourites.
With their consistent form comes confidence but despite the back door, the Wolfhounds have one thought process – winning every game.
Last year, their post-game meal, following their defeat to Doire Trasna was littered with disappointed faces. All the players are back.
This season is about going one better. Noel McFeely and Dominic Woods came on board, taking over from Mickey Boyle. They also have Loup man Neil McCloy in as team trainer and they are purring along perfectly
An early-season challenge game brought a three point win over Foreglen, with both teams short a few players, was the perfect start. It was backed up with an Ulster league campaign that included a draw with a Ballymaguigan team close to full strength.
Cormac Quigley is still banging home goals at an alarming rate and this year his brother Manus has stepped up to the plate at full-back.
Richard King and Aaron McGregor’s continue to put their stamp on every game. At the back Derry U20 goalkeeper Oran Hartin gives them extra stability and organisation.
The most high profile player in the league is AFL target Callum Brown who has returned from his 10 day spell in Sydney.
He came on as a substitute in their win over Dolan’s - the first time that Limavady will have their full hand to pick from. King, Declan Logue and Ruairi Hasson are in England during the week.
For their away game against second-placed Magilligan, it brought the best performance of the season – despite the absence of Brown, King and McGregor.
It is maintaining their devastating form during the championship is what will matter most. Moneymore, Magilligan and Glack will all still have a say further down the tracks.
For now, barring the colossal upset, Sunday should see Limavady through with plenty to spare.
Photos and coverage in Monday's Derry News and Tuesday's County Derry Post.
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