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Local sides lining up for late junior league challenge

(Pictured, St Senan’s, who will  be hoping to pick up vital league points on Sunday)

By Aidan Corr
WITH the stage set for a grand finale,  the battle for the top four places in this season’s MJL1 continues on Sunday. Kilfeacle, Newcastle West, Mallow and Thomond will go in search of victories that would strengthen their challenge for the title. Kilfeacle and Newcastle have a game in hand over the other two, the ‘West’ trail the leaders by three points while Mallow are third, a point behind the Limerick side. Thomond threaten in fourth place and are just two points adrift of the second spot.
Right from the start of the campaign, this league race has been interesting with Kilfeacle and Newcastle emerging as favourites from the early rounds. The meeting of the two sides on November 24 was always going to be decisive and the Tipperary side nicked victory by a single point, 21-22. That result has proven to be crucial with Newcastle left chasing the leaders right up to the current series of fixtures. On Sunday Kilfeacle are at home to Clonakilty who are sixth in the table and 12 points inferior. A home win for the Energia All-Ireland Junior Cup champions is likely here. Newcastle West travel to play Abbeyfeale and this derby game will test the commitment of Ger Earls’ boys. ‘Feale are on a good run at the moment and on home soil they are always fully committed. It is a seriously important game for Newcastle, they have to win it to retain their challenge and hope that Kilfeacle will not reap a winning bonus point in their home game.
Richmond are at home to chasers Mallow who are in third place. In a disappointing seventh place, the Canal Bank side are 15 points behind the leaders and out of reach of a top four finish despite having a game in hand. Mallow have been impressive and will be fancied to return down the Cork road with the four points. The other city game on Sunday sees Thomond welcome Galbally to Liam Fitzgerald Park and they should be capable of keeping pressure on Mallow by getting the required victory. Their county opponents, who have dramatically moved clear of the relegation zone in recent weeks, will put up a decent fight but it is unlikely that they will have enough fire-power to lower the colours of the royal blues.
Fixtures, Saturday, 8th February:
Munster Junior League Division 2: Fethard v Kinsale, Fethard, 7.45pm.
Sunday, 9th February, 2.30 kick-offs:
Munster Junior League Division 1: Abbeyfeale v Newcastle West, Abbeyfeale.
Bandon v Skibbereen, Bandon.
Clanwilliam v Crosshaven, Clanwilliam Park.
Kilfeacle v Clonakilty, Kilfeacle.
Richmond v Mallow, Richmond Park.
Thomond v Galbally, Liam Fitzgerald Park.
Waterpark v St. Senan’s, Ballinakill.
Division 2: Charleville v Cobh Pirates, Charleville.
Fermoy v Kanturk, Fermoy.
Muskerry v Dungarvan, Ballyanly.
Thurles v Ballincollig, Thurles.
Tralee v Old Christians, Tralee.
Division 3: Chorca Dhuibhne v Douglas-Carrigaline, Ballydavid.
Dunmanway v Killorglin, Dunmanway.
Ennis v Bantry Bay, Ennis.
Mitchelstown v Scariff, Mitchelstown.
Waterford City v Youghal, Waterford.

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