Moyola Park will be hoping to move off the bottom of the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League (c) Presseye
Thursday, 24 January 2019
There’s five games in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League on Saturday as the third tier starts to take shape going into the second half of the league campaign, we look ahead to all the games.
Annagh United v Tobermore United (venue: Tandragee Road; kick-off: 3pm)
Ciaran McGurgan’s Annagh United will aim to continue the only unbeaten league campaign in the UK this season with the visit of Tobermore United to Portadown on Saturday afternoon. Annagh showed their firepower with a six goal salvo against Newington in their last outing, as Scott McCordick and Ruari McDonald both netted two goals apiece for the division’s top scorers.
Third placed Tobermore are hot on the heels of the league leaders and could open up the promotion race with a win on the road. Adrian Whiteside’s side came from behind twice in their last game to defeat Armagh City – a win that keeps their eight game unbeaten run in the Premier Intermediate League intact, having only lost once on the opening day of the season.
Armagh City v Portstewart (venue: Holm Park; kick-off: 2pm)
The Eagles’ may have suffered defeat for the first time in four games (against Tobermore United a fortnight ago) but they are on a tight-rope of potentially breaking into the top half of the table or alternatively being pulled back into the relegation fight depending on how results go this weekend.
Portstewart are only a point behind their opponents going into this game as they aim to stay clear of a relegation fight themselves in a tightly contested Premier Intermediate League. The Seahawks’ last outing was the 3-0 Intermediate Cup win over Brantwood last weekend and they have the advantage of a win in the last meeting between the sides in December, with Saul McCaughan grabbing a late winner on the North Coast.
Dollingstown v Queens University (venue: Planter’s Park; kick-off: 2pm)
It’s the joint bottom side against the joint leaders in a hugely important game at Planter’s Park. Dollingstown finally moved off the foot of the table on goal difference for the first time this season with their win over Lisburn Distillery two weeks ago. The Dollybirds are now only two points from climbing out of the relegation zone in their bid to retain their league status in their first season back in the NI Football League.
Peter Thompson’s Queens side also picked up a victory in their latest league outing, comfortably defeating Newington 4-2 a fortnight ago. That win allows the students to keep the pace with leaders Annagh United going into the second half of the season, they will be looking to repeat the 3-1 win against Dollingstown at The Dub back in October.
Moyola Park v Lurgan Celtic (venue: Mill Meadow; kick-off: 2pm)
The Castledawson outfit will be looking to make sure their stay at the foot of the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League table is a short one, having fallen into twelfth place two weeks ago after failing to hold onto their lead against Banbridge Town, conceding a late equaliser two weeks ago.
Gerard McMahon’s Lurgan Celtic are still without a league point in 2019 after back to back defeats since the turn of the year. The Hoops are currently well off the pace in the promotion race and will be out to avenge the 2-0 defeat to Moyola Park earlier this season, when Michael Tolan bagged a brace back in September. Lurgan Celtic start the weekend in eighth place having conceded the most goals of all the teams in the third tier.
Sport & Leisure Swifts v Banbridge Town (venue: Glen Road Heights; kick-off: 2pm)
Saturday’s game at the Glen Road is another key fixture for both club’s seasons. Sport and Leisure are hovering above the relegation place by two points – and with confirmation that they will be officially taking up the mantle of ‘Belfast Celtic’ from next season onwards, it will be hugely important that they retain their status in the NI Football League structure. Their last outing was abandoned against Portstewart two weeks ago.
Banbridge Town will be still confident of keeping up with the front two in the division going into the final stretches of the campaign and potential promotion for Stuart King’s men. They may have only snatched a point at struggling Moyola Park in their last league outing but followed it up with a comfortable 4-0 win over Islandmagee last Saturday in the Intermediate Cup.
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