THE remaining quarter-finalists will be known late on Sunday afternoon following the conclusion of the group stages of the Antrim Senior Football Championship.
Just one last eight pairing is known at his stage with defending champions Cargin set to face old rivals St Gall’s while Lámh Dhearg, Creggan and St Brigid’s are also assured of their place in the knockout phase on the competition.
In Group One, Cargin have won five from five and they guaranteed their quarter-final berth as group winners with a 2-13 to 2-6 win over Rossa last time out.
Hugh McGettigan’s men remain in the hunt to join them in the last eight, but they’ll need a commanding win at Moneyglass on Sunday and they’ll be hoping Damian Cassidy’s side can account for West Belfast rivals St John’s.
Unless the Johnnies can claim a point at Toome, they’ll be hoping to keep their margin of defeat to as small as possible as they currently enjoy a superior scoring difference to Rossa of seven points, but that could all change on Sunday.
Much will depend on how quickly the dual stars from Rossa and St John’s can recover following last Sunday’s hurling semi-finals and both McGettigan and Johnnies boss Paddy Nugent will be hoping for a clean bill of health ahead of this weekend.
The Group One runners-up will progress to face Group Four winners Creggan, whose Group Four game is off as Gort na Móna withdrew.
In Group Two, there is a winner-takes-all battle at Kelly Park as Portglenone host neighbours Ahoghill for the right to join group winners St Brigid’s in the quarter-finals.
A draw in Clooney last time out was enough to see the Musgrave men progress and Casement’s will fancy their chances claiming second place and setting up a quarter-final meeting with the winners of Group Three - most likely to be Lámh Dhearg.
Only a bizarre set of results would see the Hannahstown men denied top spot as they’d need to lose to an Aldergrove side who have failed to claim a point in their previous five game while they’d also need Naomh Éanna to defeat Aghagallon by more than seven points.
The more likely scenario is that Lámh Dhearg will win on Sunday and St Mary’s will fight it out with the Glengormley men for second place.
A draw will be enough to put Aghagallon through to the last eight for the second successive year while Carl McCabe’s Naomh Éanna side must win in order to progress due to their inferior scoring difference.
Antrim defender James McAuley was introduced early on during their last game against Lámh Dhearg as he completed his recovery from a foot injury and his return is a timely boost for the Hightown men. The runners-up in Group Three will face St Brigid’s in the quarter-finals.
In the Intermediate Championship, three teams are vying for two semi-final places in each group ahead of Sunday’s final round of group games.
In Group One, the South West cohort have dominated with two from the trio of Ballymena, Tír na nÓg and Glenravel set to progress while Ardoyne, St Teresa’s and Davitt’s have nothing but pride to play for this Sunday.
All Saints will top the group if they beat Glenravel, who must realistically win to have a chance as Randalstown will be expected to account for Ardoyne with St Teresa’s hosting Davitt’s in the remaining fixture.If Randalstown and Glenravel win, they’ll join Ballymena on eight points and scoring difference will be used to determine the top two.
In Group Two, it is a similar situation with Sarsfield’s, Dunloy and St Paul’s in the reckoning.
A brace of points from Keelan Molloy gave Cuchullains a 0-11 to 0-9 win at the Bear Pitt in round five and Dunloy now need to defeat Glenavy to remain in contention.
St Paul’s also have home advantage in their game against St Pat’s Lisburn and wins for the Shaws Road side and Dunloy would see them join Sarsfield’s on six points.
The Paddies have a scoring difference of +18 points which should see them hold on to top spot while St Paul’s must better Dunloy’s result by four points in order to secure their place in the semi-finals.
In the Junior Championship, the situation is much more straight-forward with the semi-final berths all but confirmed.
St Comgall’s are likely to top Group One with Pearse’s finishing in second place unless Laochra Loch Lao can, somehow, pull off a 56-point victory over the Antrim men at Coláiste Feirste while O’Donnell’s host Wolfe Tones at MacRory Park.
Rasharkin will top Group Two and travel to Ballycastle on Sunday while St Malachy’s take on Éire Óg.
St Agnes’ have a bye this weekend, but are assured of finishing second and are likely to face St Comgall’s in the last four with Rasharkin facing Pearse’s.