There were several crucial games in the Leinster leagues in recent days, with varying repercussions for our own promotion hopes.
As there’s been no Armstrong games since our last update, we’ll start off with the Ennis and, in the aftermath of our own first defeat of the season, Drogheda very kindly declined to take advantage, drawing 3-3 against lowly Aer Lingus. It means that Naomh Barróg are now odds-on for the title, while a lot will rest on round 10 as we travel to faltering Royal Lopez while Drogheda take on promotion outsiders Kilkenny in Drogheda. If we can manage to emerge from that ahead of Drogheda, we’d only have to match their final-day score against Elm Mount in our own game against bottom-of-the-table Dublin to be promoted (assuming Kilkenny, realistically the only side with a chance of promotion, don’t go on a scoring spree in the meantime). In the event of a tie for second between us and Drogheda (or, indeed, Kilkenny), we will be promoted on tie-break.
It’s getting really tight in the BAs now. Again, we lost our first game of the season last time out, but here, other teams have taken advantage. Rathmines A scored an excellent 5-0 win away to Portmarnock, while Blanchardstown disappointingly forfeited against both Ballinasloe A and Bray/Greystones, meaning that – somewhat improbably – all three of our promotion rivals have taken maximum advantage of our slip-up. Blanchardstown, while weak, had taken points off everyone bar us, including a potentially vital 3½-1½ win over Rathmines A earlier in the season. They have indicated to the controller that they will be seeing the season through, so there’s no danger at present of Rathmines A gaining 3½ points more on us but, coupled with the mystery of Dún Laoghaire’s away form as noted in the last BA update, we’re really having to do things the hard way to get promoted. The next game will be vital – away to Rathmines A.
Note that, although the league rules allow for a play-off in the event that a team gains promotion partly because of walk-over wins, that doesn’t apply here as we beat Blanchardstown 5-0. The rule only applies if, once the results against the relevant team are eliminated, the table finishing order changes. Blanchardstown are, pending appeals, automatically relegated because of their walkovers.
Meanwhile, the Bodley B is finally getting towards an even number of games for each team, and it’s still quite tight, with 4½ points separating second from second-last. Cavan have jumped right into contention with a 4½-½ win away against Inchicore, meaning they’re ½ point behind our Bs with a whole match in hand, and that against Bray B. Cavan also have to play our Bs and Rathmines Juniors, so there’s plenty of vital games coming up in the next couple of weeks. Our As host Inchicore on Wednesday week, while our Bs travel to Balbriggan on Saturday week. Balbriggan beat Bray B 4-1 yesterday and pretty much have promotion in the bag.