By Denis J. Croke
THERE may be a few changes to this year’s senior football championship, mainly the introduction of a ‘B’ championship, but Wednesday night’s draw threw up a few interesting pairings.
Four-in-a-row title seeking Portarlington have been paired against Ballyfin, a side that year after year has defied their odds. Last year’s intermediate champions, The Heath take on Killeshin, who just avoided relegation last year.
Under the old system, teams had to win just one game to assure themselves of senior football the following year. In that system the first round winners advanced to a second round winners’ section and even if losing next time out were safe from relegation, with the losing teams progressing to a losers’ section.
Following the second round the losers of the winners’ section played the winners’ of the losers’ section in the third round. The four losing teams in the losers’ section were plunged into the relegation semi-finals.
From there is the final is was straight knock out championship.
This year, however, a team could win their first round game but lose the next two and not necessarily be involved in the relegation battle. Instead they will advance to a ‘B’ championship quarter-final. The losers of these games will go into the relegation semi-final.
The ‘B’ championship will be played alongside the senior championship and a trophy going to the winners.
The same structure will be utilised in the Intermediate football championship.
Here, the four teams that do not reach the semi-finals will go into ‘B’ semi-finals. The winners will contest the final while the losers will play the relegation final.
In the intermediate championship, the 2022 beaten finalists Arles Kilcruise will be hoping to go one better this year and will face Mountmellick in the opening round, while the junior champions, Portlaoise will take on O’Dempsey’s.
Senior Football Championship
Ballyfin v Portarlington
Ballyroan-Abbey v Park-Ratheniska
Stradbally v Courtwood
The Heath v Killeshin
Portlaoise v St Joseph’s
O’Dempsey’s v Graiguecullen
Arles Killeen v Clonaslee/St Manman’s
Emo v Rosenallis
Intermediate Football Championship
Mountmellick v Arles Kilcruise
Portlaoise v O’Dempsey’s
Timahoe v Ballyroan Abbey
Crettyard v Ballylinan
Junior Football Championship ‘A’
Junior Football Championship ‘B’
Junior Football Championship ‘C’