Junior Championship Preview

The Junior Championship kicks off this weekend, with 10 teams battling it out for a much sought after spot in the quarter finals.

While this has been a year dominated by uncertainty, one thing we can be confident of is a hugely competitive Junior Championship.

There’s no doubt, this seasons race for the Sean Quinn Cup could prove to be one of the best and most entertaining in recent years.

From the outset, several teams can lay claims to holding the early favourites tag, before the opening round commences.

The knock-out structure not only brings exciting ‘on the day’ focus to the competition, but offers the weaker sides a real opportunity to contest and spring a few surprises.

Derrynoose were one win away from completing history in 2019 and have carried that form into the league.

They can call upon last season’s Junior Player of the Year Conor McNally, and Davy McCreesh has been great assistance so far this season.

Four games and four wins points to a team with something to prove, and they will face the winners of Crossmaglen IIs and Redmond O’Hanlon’s in the last eight.

The Poyntzpass men will be happy with their preparation, completing two wins from their three league games.

The Rangers offer an unknown threat, as a rumoured star-studded, pre-season line-up hasn’t quite materialised, having enjoyed just one win so far this season.

Eire Og join Derrynoose at the top of the division, as the only two teams to remain undefeated after the leagues opening rounds.

After their relegation from Intermediate B last season, Eire Og will be hungry to bounce straight back up at the first time of asking.

They face Lissummon side with a 50% win rate, while the might of Forkhill await the winners in the quarter finals.

Stephen Sheridan, Paddy Burns, Jemar Hall and Barry Shannon offer a wealth of experience and talent that would be appreciated at any level in the county.

Mullabrack may hold the unwanted position at the foot of the table, but results would suggest they are beginning to close the gap.

They face a stiff test against Corrinshego in the first round and if their league encounter is anything to go on, a ding-dong battle is in store.

Newtownhamiliton await the winners and all three sides will see a real chance of gaining entry to the last four.

Belleek have all the attributes to contest at the top end of this Division and their 2019 league form suggests they have what it takes to push on this season.

They will have been disappointed with what their Championship run produced last year and a tilt at the title will remain the target.

Clady are their opponents in round one and whoever comes through that battle will face the winners of Killeavy and Dorsey.

A highly entertaining and competitive Junior Championship is on the cards and in keeping with the running thread of 2020, a few shocks and surprises are to be expected.