The latest round-up from the Down Area Winter Football League:
As pre-season draws to a close, the excitement continues to build amongst the ranks of the DAWFL, with the 2014-15 league campaign due to commence this Saturday (16 August 2014).
With Greenwell Star lifting the first piece of silverware of the season in the Dennis S. Charity Shield final, manager Lee Cathcart will be aiming to continue the good start when they entertain Vision Athletic.
Last season’s champions Moat Park Rangers face a difficult opener with Ravenhill Young Men the visitors to Billy Neill Playing fields, however manager James Dickson will be confident his players can continue their fine form of last season into the next.
Peter McAnally endures a difficult challenge in his first official match as manager of Comber Star with Gary Barclay’s Brentwood the opponents, while it will be interesting to see how Premiership new boys Abbey Villa III’s and North Down fair against Comber Young Men and Oakfield respectfully.
In the remaining opening day Premiership tie, Francis O’Hagan’s Corrymeela travel to 8th OBs.
The second tier of the DAWFL is building up to be one the most intriguing in recent years, with several teams capable of challenging for promotion to the top flight.
Despite enduring a hellish 2013-14 season, Clandeboye Young Men have regrouped and under manager Roy Walsh will be aiming for an immediate return to the Premiership. Their opening day opponents Agape are no stranger to pulling of good results however and will offer a sturdy challenge.
Many peoples’ money will be on Glen McMurray’s 3rd Bangor OBs to also bounce straight back away and they will be looking for an opening day win against local rivals Bangor YM III. Bangor Rangers III face a Newtown Forest side that were unlucky not to gain promotion last time out, while another potential challenger, Ballygowan travel to 82.
With Alan Ferris moving into the 3rd XI manager role at Bryansburn Rangers, they could be the surprise package of the division, although Stranmillis 37 OB will be out to demonstrate that last year was just a blip in their history.
There will be no love lost between Ards Rangers III and Comber Rec III when they lock horns, while in the remaining fixtures, Ballywalter Rec III entertain Queens Graduates III and Bangor Swifts III host 43rd OB.