In the first of this season’s Intermediate League roundups, we take a whirlwind tour around the three leagues that have kicked off so far, beginning this month in the Amateur League’s top flight.
Last season’s champions, Crumlin Star, have begun the season just as they finished the last one, steamrolling the opposition. Paul Trainor’s men won all four games in August, scoring at least 5 goals in each. The North Belfast side are once again looking like the team to beat as they seek to make it four titles in a row.
Hot on their heels are the impressive Ballynahinch Olympic side. Also on four wins from four, the Kilmore PF side enjoyed a fine maiden season in the top flight last season finishing in fourth place and reaching the Border Cup final. East Belfast are the other side with a 100% record, with three wins from three as they look to go one better than their second place finish last season. At the other end of the table, Drumaness Mills have begun with four heavy defeats and look set for a long hard winter.
Moving on to the Ballymena League, and Dunloy are making the early running with some impressive results and performances. This weekend saw them take full points on the road against new boys Belfast Celtic. 2017 champions Coagh United are also in the mix with their own unbeaten start. Their 3-3 draw with Dunloy proving to be the only points dropped by either side so far.
Meanwhile last season’s runners up St James Swifts dropped their first points of the season on Saturday, falling to a 1-0 defeat against an upwardly mobile Ballymoney United side. Four sides remain without a win so far, with Donegal Celtic taking bottom spot by virtue of their goals conceded column. A few heavy defeats allied with two games they failed to fulfil had led to some doubt over the club continuing. However a new manager has been appointed, and with it a number of signings as they strive to regroup and lift themselves away from the bottom of the table.
In Mid Ulster the early season favourites are playing catch up at this early stage, with new boys Oxford Sunnyside and Rectory Rangers alongside Valley Rangers at the summit. Valley and Rectory remain unbeaten, while the only defeat for Oxford Sunnyside came at the hands of the league leaders. Crewe and Hanover have had a somewhat mixed start, while Ballymacash Rangers have played just one game so far, an impressive win over Crewe United.
At the other end of the table, Laurelvale and Fivemiletown United remain without a point so far this season. Moneyslane and Banbridge Rangers are another pair of sides with title ambitions who have yet to fire on all cylinders.
|5||Derriaghy C C||4||2||1||1||4||3||1||7|
|9||Larne Tech O.B.||3||1||1||1||4||6||-2||4|
|13||1st Bangor Old Boys||3||0||0||3||4||11||-7||0|
|3||St James Swifts||5||4||0||1||21||6||15||12|