herald

Monday 28 July 2014

glebe itching to cut down the orchard

The curtain comes up on another brand spanking new Senior Division season tomorrow and newly promoted Glebe North will get their first taste of top flight action when they travel to meet Cherry Orchard.

As opening day fixtures go they don't get much tougher that a trip to Elm Dale, but Glebe boss, Liam Kelly, will be confident that his side can give the LSL kingpins plenty of hassle.

Glebe ended their top flight exile in impressive form when they raced away with the Division 1 title last season and they rejoin the Senior Division in no mood to be involved in a relegation battle, in fact the Market Green side will harbour hopes of featuring in the chase for title glory.

If Glebe are to feature in the upper reaches of the Senior Division then a lot will depend on their away form. The Balbriggan side will expect to pick up plenty of points at their Market Green fortress, but it is on the road that could be key to the success and failure of Glebe's season.

Kelly has added to his squad during the close season, bringing in the likes of Glen Lacey and Kevin Cornwall from Shelbourne and former Irish junior international Derek Moore from Ballymun United, and these additions along with the stars that drove Glebe to the Division 1 title will make North a formidable outfit.

The Orchard, though, will not be waiting up in Elm Dale for Glebe's arrival with the red carpet rolled out and the bunting tacked on the dressing room walls. Instead Stephen Barry will be expecting his side to get off to a winning start in this curtain raiser.

This is Barry's first full season in control of the Cherries and while his dealings in the transfer market are small in number, he has been shrewd in bringing back Phillip Sheppard and Ian Maher from Monaghan United. Sheppard's goals helped land Orchard the title two seasons ago and in a league where deadly strikers are at a premium, his acquisition could well turn out to be a master stroke.

SENIOR DIVISION

CHERRY ORCHARD v GLEBE NORTH

Glebe will be eager to impress on their return to the top flight and will be ready to hit the ground running at Elm Dale.

The Orchard will not want to lose face on the first day but may have to split the points.

Verdict: Draw.

BLUEBELL UNITED v MALAHIDE UNITED

Two sides looking to kick on this season. The 'Bell finished a creditable sixth last time out but Liam Reilly knows that it is time for the famous Red Cow club to become genuine title contenders. Reilly has been active in the close season, bringing in plenty of new faces, and he will hope that his new look side gel quickly.

A third place finish last season was a step in the right direction for Malahide and manager Bobby Browne has dipped into the ranks of Belgrove to bolster his squad.

In come the likes of Karl O'Brien, Mark Cromwell, Alan Corcoran and Neil O'Brien from the Grove as well as Austin Hannon from the AUL.

Browne's wheeling and dealing looks to be clever and could well be the final piece in a championship jigsaw.

Verdict: Away Win.

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