herald

Monday 20 November 2017

orchard standing on edge of an abyss

Cherry Orchard's glittering tenure in the top flight of Leinster Senior League football is on the verge of coming to an end and with only three games to save themselves time is running out for the famous Ballyfermot club.

Since their arrival in the LSL's top flight in 1993 (the Cherries played their first season in the league in Division 1 but won promotion in their first year), the Orchard have won six titles along with enjoying Cahill, Metropolitan and Intermediate Cup glories.

Now after 17 seasons in the top flight, the Orchard are on the verge of tipping over the Senior Division edge and into the abyss that is Division 1 unless they can produce a great escape in their final three games.

The trilogy of games begins tomorrow in Ringsend Park when they travel to take on a Liffeys Pearse side sitting safely in mid table after surviving a steep learning curve in their debut season in the top flight.

You can be sure that the Orchard's plight will not rouse any sympathies within the Liffeys camp and the Townsend Street side will be more than happy to add to the Ballyfermot club's tale of misery.

After their rumble in Ringsend tomorrow, the Orchard will have two games against fellow strugglers Malahide United, just one point above the Cherries, and Belgrove, who lie two points above them.

The term 'relegation six-pointer' has never meant so much and these games will have more of a cup final feel to them than their usual league meetings.

While the Orchard is the side occupying the basement spot and therefore favourites to go down, they shouldn't be deemed dead and buried just yet.

This is a club with a remarkable history, a wonderful tradition, a name known throughout the country and the players that pull on those famous red and black shirts will not give their top flight status up without a fight.

SENIOR DIVISION

LIFFEYS PEARSE v CHERRY ORCHARD

While the focus will be on the Cherries' fight for survival, Liffeys deserve some plaudits in what has been a tough debut season in the Senior Division. Liffeys have managed to survive the rigours of a tough league and avoided been dragged into what has turned into a remarkable relegation battle. While mid-table safety may not be glamorous, the Dublin 2 club now has a platform to build on this season's adventure and to sow themselves into the Senior Division fabric over the next few seasons. Tomorrow, though, will depend on attitude for Liffeys. They are safe, they are in holiday mood, the Orchard's need is greater and that could swing the game their way.

Verdict: Away Win

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