herald

Sunday 16 December 2018

Orchard can pick off yet another win at Merrion

Three weeks in, four games down, only one team left with a 100pc record and six sides still looking for their first win of the season. That is the bones of the Senior Division story so far as the title challenge settles into the new term.

Already, this campaign is looking like being one of the most open top-flight chases in a long time, with a clamour of sides forming an orderly queue behind current leaders Cherry Orchard, who are faultless with a dozen points from their four games.

Sitting in behind the Orchard's slipstream in second place are Bluebell United. The 'Bell opened their account for the campaign with a hard-fought point against Glebe North, but have since managed to post three wins on the bounce in the past week and a half.

It's an impressive start for the 'Bell, who will be glad to let the Orchard take the early spotlight and the strain that goes along with being the front runner.

Tomorrow, United remain at home and take on Rocky O'Brien's Belgrove. The 'Grove have had a difficult start, as their three home defeats will testify, but the Whitehall side are looking to blend youth with experience within their squad.

The 'Grove hit the road for the first time tomorrow hoping that they can squeeze out a little more luck on their travels as they have on their own door step.

It's difficult to see Bluebell accommodating any 'Grove revival, though.

SENIOR DIVISION

ARKLOW TOWN v BANGOR CELTIC

Both of these sides are seeking their first win of the season, although Town will be more anxious to get points on the board after three defeats on the bounce. Bangor have racked up three points thanks to three draws, but will want to break their winless streak. With Town at a low ebb, the Celts can finally post that maiden victory. Verdict: Away win.

BLUEBELL UNITED v BELGROVE

The 'Grove are struggling as Bluebell make it four wins in a row to keep the pressure on the Orchard at the summit. Verdict: Home win.

TOLKA ROVERS v FIRHOUSE CLOVER

Tolka are another side with title aspirations who have yet to record a victory. Two draws and a defeat has left them slipping off the front runners and Jason Kelly will know that his side will need to get into their stride soon. Verdict: Home win.

WAYSIDE CELTIC v NEWBRIDGE TOWN

Town have picked up one win so far, but it is their three defeats that will be cause for concern. The Celts let Bangor off the hook last Sunday and then they lost to Cherry Orchard on Wednesday. Peter Lennon will not want to end the week without a win, so expect the home side to grab the three points. Verdict: Home win.

MOUNT MERRION v CHERRY ORCHARD

The Orchard are flying at the moment thanks to four wins from their opening four games. Paul Doyle's side have defeated some of the league's heavy hitters on their way to the summit and they have done so with conceding a goal. Mount Merrion have opened their season with two defeats and it is hard to see them changing that tomorrow. Verdict: Away win.

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