Still plenty to play for as season nears end

With the CCFL season quickly coming to a conclusion it’s a case of mixed fortunes for the various local sides as they prepare to wind down for the summer. For some it’s simply a matter of seeing out their league fixtures, but some of them are facing into fixtures that will make or break their season. Starting in the Senior Division and working through the divisions, we look at what’s in store in these final few weeks for the local CCFL clubs and how their season has shaped up so far.

With the CCFL season quickly coming to a conclusion it’s a case of mixed fortunes for the various local sides as they prepare to wind down for the summer. For some it’s simply a matter of seeing out their league fixtures, but some of them are facing into fixtures that will make or break their season. Starting in the Senior Division and working through the divisions, we look at what’s in store in these final few weeks for the local CCFL clubs and how their season has shaped up so far.

Mountmellick United put their disappointing pre-Christmas league form behind them and they will be relatively happy with their third placed finish, although their failure to really challenge the top two will be a source of regret. They can beat anyone on their day, a fact proven by their win over champions-elect Willow Park, but inconsistency against some of the so-called weaker teams has cost them dearly.

Arlington’s main aim this season would have been to stay up in their first year in the top flight, a mission accomplished with plenty to spare. However, reaching the Cotter Cup final has been the undoubted highlight of their season. They face Mullingar Athletic in this Saturday’s decider and while they will be definite underdogs after going out of the Counties Cup at the quarter-final stage to the same opposition, the Port men will be desperate for revenge.

In the Premier Division Rosenallis briefly flirted with relegation before pulling clear in the final few weeks. They finish their season tonight against newly-crowned Billy Hyland Cup winners Melville and while the lads from The Grove will be happy to have stayed in the second-tier, they know that they can do a lot better. For the other local side in the division, thing were a lot more dismal. Clonaslee Utd managed just one win from their entire league games to date, and with Melville also the ones to bring their season to end this Saturday, it will be hard to see the Clonaslee men changing that as they say farewell to life in the Premier Division.

Despite Clonaslee dropping down, the local interest in the Premier Division will actually be increased next season thanks to a superb Laois one-two in Division 1. Abbeyleix Athletic were superb all season and deservedly won the league while Stradbally Town’s excellent run of results in the new year saw them oust Tullamore for second spot, and they made Athletic work all the way for their eventual league title.

Noreside Celtic have a huge game in store as they await their relegation play-off decider against Highfield United of Birr. Having spent much of the season in the wrong half of the table the Castletown men managed to string a couple of season-saving performances together towards the business end of the season but Highfield’s win in their last game forced the play-off in two weeks time.

Gracefield were outstanding all season in Division 2 and they won promotion as champions with three points to spare over Walsh Island Shamrocks. Dynamo Town saved their best form for the Counties Cup, making it all the way to the last eight before narrowly succumbing to Willow Park. They had to settle for mid-table obscurity again this year in the league, three points behind local rivals Portlaoise A, while at the bottom brave Ballybrittas slipped down to Division 3.