BLUEFIN SPORT PREMIER INTERMEDIATE LEAGUE: MATCHDAY 2 PREVIEW

After an action packed start to the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League season last week, we go again with our look ahead to matchday two this Saturday.

Annagh United v Moyola Park (venue: Tandragee Road; kick-off: 3pm)

Ciaran McGurgan’s Annagh United got their Premier Intermediate League promotion challenge off to a winning start last Saturday, Andrew Gordon’s late winner was enough to overcome Tobermore United at Fortwilliam Park. Defender Christian Stewart is suspended having been sent off for violent conduct seven days ago.

Their opponents this weekend, Moyola Park, had to settle for a point in their league opener against Armagh City. Goalkeeper Dwayne Nelson’s second league debut for his hometown club ended in disaster as his foul led to the equalising penalty for Armagh and a straight red card which leaves the former Glentoran and Ballymena United stopper suspended for this weekend.

Armagh City v Lisburn Distillery (venue: Holm Park; kick-off: 3pm)

The Eagles showed their mettle in their first game under new manager Shea Campbell, who also found himself on the scoresheet as they came from behind to draw 2-2 against Moyola Park. Player-manager Campbell found himself sent off late in the game last week and will be restricted to the sidelines. Gavin McParland was a deadline day signing from neighbours Annagh United and could go straight into the team.

Veteran Kevin Braniff showed his class with a superb winner for Lisburn Distillery on his debut for the club last week against Dollingstown. The three points will be vital for the Whites’ ambitious of climbing back up the league pyramid under Stephen Hatfield this season and continuing this against Armagh City this Saturday.

Bangor v Banbridge Town (venue: Bangor Fuels Arena; kick-off: 3pm)

The Seasiders finally can start their league season after being forced to be the odd team out last Saturday owing to Lurgan Celtic’s withdrawal from the league last month. To date this season Hugh Sinclair’s side have won three of their four cup games, defeating East Belfast (Steel & Sons rd1), Ballynahinch Olympic (Irish Cup) and Carrick Rangers (League Cup), although did suffer defeat to Crewe United in the following round of the Steel & Sons two weeks ago.

Stuart King’s Banbridge Town suffered a dismal 3-0 defeat away to Portstewart in their first Premier Intermediate League outing of the season last Saturday. Not the start to County Down side would have hoped for with so little margin for error in the 20 game season with promotion on the line.

Limavady United v Dollingstown (venue: Limavady Showgrounds; kick-off: 3pm)

The Roesiders’ return to the third tier following relegation last term started with defeat to Newington at the Showgrounds last Saturday. It was a first league outing for new Limavady United boss Mark Clyde, who were undone by Padraig Scollay’s late goal against the North Belfast side seven days ago.

Dollingstown were one of the few Premier Intermediate League clubs to make some deadline day transfer business as they bolstered their squad with the arrival of experienced campaigner David McCullough from Loughgall. The Dollybirds lost their opening league game of the season last week to a single Kevin Braniff goal against Lisburn Distillery.

Portstewart v Tobermore United (venue: Mullaghcall; kick-off: 3pm)

Johnny Law’s Portstewart host their county rivals Tobermore United on the North Coast this Saturday and will be looking to continue their great start to the league campaign which seen them defeat Banbridge Town by three goals without reply last weekend.

Tobermore United will be severely weakened by the loss of influential trio Shane Mulgrew, Thomas Elder and Conor Kearns for the trip to Mullaghcall. They kicked their PIL season off with a 3-2 defeat to Annagh with a fiery encounter last week, talented forward Peter Duffin starting the campaign off with two goals for United.