February was an eventful month across the four Intermediate leagues, and as we enter the final few months of the season, the title races remain wide open.
In the NAFL it was certainly a month to forget for Ballynahinch Olympic, who lost three of their five games, loosening their grip on the title. Defeats to Immaculata, Crumlin United and Shankill United undid some of the good work achieved by inflicting a first defeat of the season on Crumlin Star at the end of January. For their part, the Star reacted well, picking up 7 points from 9 to close within 11 points of Olympic, having played 5 games less. East Belfast are now the only team with a 100% record, having seen out February playing only cup matches.
Shankill United continued their resurgence under David McAlinden, adding to that win over Ballynahinch with a 4-0 win over Islandmagee and a 2-2 draw with in form Immaculata. At the foot of the table, Drumaness Mills are all but down, with just four games to play they remain without a point. They now sit 11 points below the team above, 1st Bangor OB.
In the BPIL the race is now down to three teams, Dunloy, St James Swifts & Belfast Celtic. Long term leaders Dunloy have six games left to play, having registered 18 wins and 2 draws from their 20 games played. St James are 19 points behind with five games in hand on the leaders, with Belfast Celtic a further ten points behind.
Celtic have been hamstrung in their league campaign due to their excellent progress in a number of cup competitions, plus the recent spell of bad weather leading to a number of postponements. The key games look set to be played at Dunloy’s McCamphill Park with both the Swifts and the Celts due to make the journey north over the next number of weeks.
Banbridge Rangers have snatched control of the Mid Ulster Intermediate A this month with a full house of five wins from five, sealed with a fine 2-1 win away at Crewe United last weekend. This was a crucial three points in a proverbial six-pointer, stretching the lead over United to 12 points, Ballymacash Rangers are also on 30 points, having played 2 games less than Crewe.
Laurelvale sit rock bottom in the division on 8 points from their 20 games, 2 points behind Fivemiletown United having played 5 games more. Tandragee Rovers are a further 3 points in front as we enter the run-in, they have now played 18 games and picked up a massive three points in their survival battle with a 1-0 win away at reigning champions Hanover last weekend.
In the North West based NI Intermediate League, Newbuildings United maintained their 100% record while also progressing to the quarter-finals of the Intermediate Cup where they will travel to face PIL side Dollingstown.
Northern Amateur Football League Premier Division
|6||Derriaghy C C||17||8||3||6||31||32||-1||27|
|10||Larne Tech O.B.||11||5||2||4||27||19||8||17|
|13||1st Bangor Old Boys||16||3||2||11||21||46||-25||11|
Ballymena & Provincial Intermediate League
|2||St James Swifts||15||12||1||2||56||15||41||37|
Mid Ulster Intermediate A
NI Intermediate League
|6||Magherafelt Sky Blues||7||1||1||5||8||19||-11||4|