Intermediate Championship Preview

The Intermediate Championship swings into action this weekend with some great games in prospect across the four groups. Last year’s beaten finalists Mullaghbawn will surely be everyone’s favourites to lift the trophy this year and their league triumph only furthers that prediction. They will face still opposition however from the likes of last year’s Junior Champions Keady, Whitecross who played in the Senior Championship last year and Clan na Gael who were their closest to them in the 2019 league campaign.

Group 1

Eire OG – Grange – Shane O’Neill’s – Clan Na Gael

The biggest game of Group 1 will take place this weekend as Grange host a Stefan Campbell inspired Clan na Gael this evening. Grange are boosted by their own county star Ethan Rafferty who will have the McKenna brothers Miceal and Cathal there for back up. The Clans are favourites to top the group as they have already qualified for the Senior league next year but the Grange will fancy their chances of denying the Lurgan side top spot. Shane O’Neill’s will also turn to their county men Connaire Mackin and Greg McCabe to lead them through the group after a disappointing league campaign which saw them just survive relegation on head to head while Eire Og will feature in the Junior Championship next season and it will be a surprise if they make it through Group 1.

Group 2

Carrickcruppen – Keady – Wolfe Tones – Whitecross

Whitecross made it through to the top four of the top section of the Intermediate League with a win on the last day. Mark Shields will be the commander of his side with Cathal McSherry up front the main scoring threat. Keady had a great league campaign this season, winning 10 of their 14 games and gaining promotion from the bottom sector of the Intermediate League, following on from their Junior Championship victory last season and they will look to continue their momentum into this year’s championship. Wolfe Tones will fill the gap left by Keady in the Intermediate League B next season and they will battle it out with Carrickcruppen for third place in Group 2.

Group 3

An Port Mor – Ballyhegan – Tir na nOg – St Paul’s

St Paul’s will no doubt be the team on everyone’s mind to come through Group 3 with Andrew Murnin the main man for the Lurgan men. St Paul’s just missed out on promotion due to Clan na Gael’s superior points difference but will be happy with their showings and will feel they can finish out the group stages at the top of the pile. Tir na nOg still turn to Brian Mallon for inspiration and having finished just two points behind St Paul’s in the league they will target a top two position in Group 3. Only one point separated Ballyhegan and An Port Mor in the league standings and their tie could be the deciding game in who makes the play offs and who fails to make the cut, but both teams will be confident of making it out of the group.

Group 4

Crossmaglen II – Tullysaran – Middletown – Mullaghbawn

Group 4 sees Intermediate League A Champions Mullaghbawn take on Intermediate League B Champions Tullysaran, who will fight for the top spot. Mullaghbawn should  top the group and make a statement to the rest of the division and the fire power of Eddie English, Shea Loye and Eoghan McDonnell should help them to do so. Tullysaran had a wonderful league losing just twice all season and should be able to give Mullaghbawn their biggest test in the group stages. It’s hard to see Crossmaglen IIs reaching the play off stage of the competition as the South Armagh men have already been relegated to the Junior Championship while winning just two games all year. Middletown will target a playoff place after their disappointing league run which saw them relegated from the top flight of the Intermediate division with just two wins but a playoff spot is well within their grasp.