Who would have thought when the draw was made that the top spot in Group 3 could be decided in a game not involving Maghery. If Madden were to come away with a victory in this weekend’s ‘Game of the Week’, they look certain to top the group as their final game is at home to Annaghmore, who have yet to win in the 2019 Championship.
Madden threw up the shock of the campaign last Saturday evening when they dominated League Champions Maghery. The pressure is now on the Raparees as they travel to Dromintee in search of another two points and the chance to sit top of the table and all but confirm their place in the quarter finals.
Dromintee on the other hand came through their first round clash with a win over Annaghmore although with more difficulty than expected. Late points from star man Conor Martin and Ryan Hughes saw their side pull away in the final moments but the game was certainly nip and tuck before that.
If Dromintee were to come out on the right side of this weekend’s match, it would leave a very interesting final weekend as they would be on four points compared to Madden and Maghery’s two but would have to travel to Maghery and get a win to guarantee that much sought after first place.
These sides have met in the last two championship seasons, with Madden coming out on top on both occasions so Dromintee will be looking to make it third time lucky this weekend. Both teams have lost key personal with Barry Mallon and Peter Lappin missing out through injury for the visitors while doubts remain over Dromintee’s Aaron Boyle and Darren McKenna.
Donal Rafferty will likely come in to fill the centre half back spot for Madden but it’s hard to see who will start for Dromintee and make a real difference in the absence of their key men. Aaron McKay could go to centre field to man-mark his county team mate Niall Grimley but with the form Grimley’s in it’ll take more than one man to watch him.
Madden will filter men back into their defence and look for Rafferty and Niall Smith to support the attacking trio of Conor Grimley, Ciaran Rafferty and Aron McKenna. Smith’s late charges forward will be of concern to Dromintee as he has a habit of ghosting in behind the defence and finding space, which he constantly done against Maghery to great effect.
The hosts will also bring bodies back although their forward line doesn’t seem to contain as many match winners as the oppositions. Conor Martin is the captain and main attacking threat so Madden will want to curtail his influence while midfielder Gareth Kilgallon could spend time on the edge of the square to support Aidan Morgan.
Home advantage is massive but we’ve learned from last weekend that it isn’t everything as only three teams won on home soil during the eight games played. If Dromintee can restrict Niall Grimley’s influence then they have a brilliant chance of gaining victory but should Grimley perform like he did last weekend then it’s hard to look past Madden.
With their superior forward unit and the momentum that will come after last weekend’s upset, Madden should head into the contest full of confidence and that could see the away side taking home the two points to sit top of the group and increase their chances of reaching the quarter final stages for the third year in a row.