By Odhrán Crumley
The final round of group games in tonight’s Dr McKenna Cup will take place tonight with plenty of groups still to be decided, bring your calculators as score difference will prove crucial especially in the case of best runner up with Tyrone and Fermanagh in pole position to advance as the fourth team.
All games will throw in at 8pm.
Armagh Vs Down (Athletic Grounds)
The pick of tonight’s games with the winner likely to go through as group winners and contest Sunday’s Semi Final. Down got their first win over inter county opposition in 21 games with a one point victory over Derry on Sunday. They seem to have found a real quality forward in newcomer Alan Davidson hit nine points seven from frees in a man of the match performance. Armagh got their first win this calendar year beating the students of Queen’s University by sixteen points meaning a win would be likely to see them top the group. Expect a tight contest with neither side wanting to give an inch even this early in the year with a championship meeting scheduled for early June. Armagh by 3.
Derry Vs QUB (Owenbeg)
Derry still harbour hopes of advancing to the semi final however it seems unlikely as they will have to rattle up a huge score to continue in the competition. Derry got the campaign off to a flying start overcoming a poor start to beat Armagh, a disappointing loss to Down last time out pushed them back showing just how competitive the group has been. Queen’s have struggled against inter county opposition and at present are the only university team not to claim a win thus far in the tournament, don’t expect that to change tonight. Derry by 8.
Monaghan Vs St.Mary’s (Inniskeen)
Monaghan have done all that is expected off them so far and hold a 100% record on top of the group. The face the challenge of a strong St.Mary’s side littered with county players who have showed they can overturn county teams on their day turning over Antrim in the opening round. The Farney Army will expect to keep their perfect start in tact tonight before moving on to play the winners of section A on Sunday. Monaghan by 6.
Fermanagh Vs Antrim (Brewster Park)
Fermanagh will need to rattle up a big score to progress to the semi final. Fermanagh saw of the Ranch’s challenge last weekend with a six points to spare. Antrim have gotten the year off to the worst possible start losing both outings including a heavy seventeen point loss at home to Monaghan. Saffron followers will worry another heavy defeat could be on the cards tonight as Fermanagh will be relentless in their hunt for scores in the hope of finishing as the best runner up. Fermanagh by 7.
Tyrone Vs Donegal (Healy Park)
Even this early a meeting of these two sides would be one not be missed. However Donegal’s decision to field their under 21’s in this year competition mean that we may see an unfamiliar scoreline in what is typically a tight encounter. Tyrone like Fermanagh will need to be relentless to in their pursuit for scores and are favourites to advance as runner’s up and set up a meeting with section C winners elect Cavan and the chance to avenge the loss in round one will serve as extra motivation for Harte’s men. Tyrone by 12.
Cavan Vs UUJ (Breffni Park)
Cavan have been the most impressive side to date in opening games and are full value sitting on top of Section C as UUJ prepare to upset the odds. An impressive second half showing ensured the Blues remained in pole position with an eleven point win over Donegal’s under 21’s. UUJ have been impressive last week opting not to play Patrick McBrearty, Ryan McHugh and Lorcan Connor much to the displeasure of Mickey Harte. Cavan will be gearing up for another clash with Tyrone on Sunday if all goes to plan in the scoring stakes.