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Two key games in a day for shining star Matthew Nelson

By Graham Hamilton

The all-Ireland League resumes on Saturday after a seven-week winter break - and a mouth-watering clash is in store in Dublin where leaders Lisnagarvey meet second-placed Monkstown, the current champions.

Garvey, though, are having to make special arrangements to whisk last week's two-goal hero Matthew Nelson down to the Fair City - he has a crucial Burney Cup tie in the morning for Wallace High, who take on holders Banbridge Academy.

Errol Lutton coaches both Wallace and Garvey and he is hoping Nelson comes through unscathed in what is a repeat of the McCullough Cup semi-final back in November, so that he can get the chance to repeat what he did to Railway Union in the 6-2 success in the Irish Senior Cup last week.

The Schools' Cup tie isn't likely to be over until noon, and Lutton will wait on his prodigy to get changed before heading to the Merrion Fleet Arena in Dublin to join up with the squad who will be leaving earlier for the 4pm start.

Garvey captain Jonathan Bell recalled: "Monkstown caught us on the hop early in the season when we had a few players unavailable and beat us 5-2 at home.

"But we're playing well at the moment, although we are under no illusions about how tough a trip it is to Monkstown.

"Matthew Nelson has so much potential and has grown in stature and the addition of international Mikey Watt has also added an extra dimension to our attack."

Banbridge take on Railway Union needing a win to stay in the end-of-season play-off places and coach Mark Tumilty knows it won't be easy against a team who earlier knocked them out of the Irish Senior Cup.

Meanwhile, it's a crucial weekend for Annadale and Cookstown who head to Dublin needing a positive result to climb off the foot of the table.

At domestic level, Instonians hope it will be lucky 13 when they host Newry at Shaw's Bridge but main rivals Kilkeel can keep nipping at their heels when they visit a North Down team anxious to chalk up their first win of the season.

In the Senior League, Bangor seemed home and dry but their defeat at the hands of Cliftonville last week opens things up and Queen's and Campbellians hope to close the gap further.

Burney Cup: Today: Campbell College v Antrim Grammar (3pm); Grosvenor v Friends (3pm); Cookstown High v Kilkeel High (2pm); Royal & Prior v MCB (11.30am); Bangor Grammar v Ballycastle High (2.30pm); Saturday: RBAI v Portadown College (10am); Wallace High v Banbridge Academy (10.30am); Regent House v Sullivan Upper (9.30am)

EIGHT Ulster clubs have been deducted points and 20 clubs have been fined for failing to comply with the rule regarding the supply of umpires.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed the extent of the problem earlier this month, whereby clubs voted in a rule at the last AGM which gives the governing body the right to deduct points and issue fines to those who fail to meet the targets regarding the supply of an umpire each week.

In the men's Senior League, Campbellians and Portrush have been penalised two points for falling under the 25 per cent availability of their club umpires and Queen's one point for being between 50 per cent and 25 per cent.

At women's level, Premier League clubs North Down and Portadown each lose one point, Senior One side Cookstown lose two and Senior Two teams Omagh and Carrickfergus also lose two.

Belfast Telegraph


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