Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Keith Bailie on life at the top of the Championship

Two sides in contention Carrick Rangers and Dundela do battle in the Irish Cup
Two sides in contention Carrick Rangers and Dundela do battle in the Irish Cup

While the Danske Bank Premiership heads for the split, the Belfast Telegraph Championship is also preparing itself for a hectic final few weeks.

In Championship One there are at least five teams with a realistic chance of winning the division, with just a month left in the season. Bangor, Carrick Rangers, Dundela, Institute and Knockbreda are locked into an exciting battle that could go right to the wire, while Harland & Wolff Welders and David McAlinden's Larne will have a part to play in proceedings.

With so little between the main five teams, The Park Online has decided to assess their chances of claiming the Championship One crown.

BANGOR

This time last month the Seasiders were riding high. Garth Scates' men were leading the division and looking forward to an Irish Cup Quarter Final against Queen's University, but in the last few weeks it has all gone horribly wrong for the Clandeboye Road team.

In Bangor's favour, they do have seven of their last eight games at home.

Keith's Prediction : 43 points Final Position : 5

 

CARRICK RANGERS

Carrick haven't always impressed in recent week's but with experienced players like Ryan McCann and Ciaran Donaghy in their side, Gary Haveron's men are capable of grinding out results.

However, while they are top of the league now, Rangers only have five games remaining and they are still playing their home games at Inver Park in Larne.

With two games against Knockbreda and one against Institute, April is going to be difficult month for Carrick.

Keith's Prediction : 48 points Final Position : 2
 

DUNDELA

When they're at their best Dundela are the most impressive team in the division, and in December it looked like they might run away with the division.

Since then they've been brought back to earth with a bump, and it's starting to look like the might falter in the final month.

The Duns have a hectic finish to the season with eight games left to play.

Keith's Prediction : 47 Points Final Position : 4

 

INSTITUTE

With Stephen O'Flynn and Stephen Parkhouse on their books Institute have the best forward line in the league.

As such, you can always rely on goals from Paul Kee's men but they do tend to concede goals on their travels, as Saturday's crazy 5-5 draw at Lakeview demonstrated.

With promotion in their sights, Institute have no shortage of motivation as they approach the home run.

Keith's Prediction : 51 points Final Position : 1


KNOCKBREDA

Hugh Sinclair's men are the dark horses in this title race. While everybody has been focusing on the other four Breda have been quietly working away, picking up points and scoring goals.

With Miguel Chines and James Wright in fine form, they will certainly have a say in the destination of the title. The Castlereagh club have a hectic month ahead, but with their momentum that might not be a bad thing.

Keith's Prediction : 48 points Final Position : 3
 

Summary : So there you have it, Keith thinks Institute will claim the title and promotion, while Carrick Rangers will face a promotion play-off. Knockbreda and Dundela will just fall short, but they can take heart from their final league position. Bangor will just pip the Welders and Larne to fifth place.

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