Donemana back in title hunt after Coleraine defeat

Donemana's Richard Kee
Donemana's Richard Kee

A North West Premiership title race that appeared to be meandering towards a stroll for Coleraine is suddenly right in the melting pot.

First the Bannsiders saw their match-two against Brigade washed out as a no-result by the weather, and then came a shock defeat by struggling Strabane last Saturday.

Those results have breathed life into the title race, giving hope to Brigade and to newly-crowned Senior Cup holders Donemana.

Coleraine will be massive favourites at home to St Johnston on Saturday and that leaves Donemana with no margin for error away to revitalised local rivals Strabane before they face Brigade on Sunday.

The cup winners welcome back captain Richard Kee after he missed the victory over Eglinton because of a holiday.

Kee admits Donemana’s interest has been rekindled by the recent twist in the title race.

“When we lost to Coleraine and Ardmore in successive weeks it looked as though our chance had gone but heading into the last month now we are in there with the same chance as the others,” said Kee.

“Obviously games are coming thick and fast now and we have a couple of very difficult matches this weekend against Strabane and Brigade.

“Realistically we probably need to win both but I’d expect there will still be twists and turns between now and the middle of September for all teams.

“It’s that kind of league this season but we’ll give it our best shot and see where that takes us. I certainly don’t think it will be won or lost this weekend though - this is going down to the wire.”

Twins Junior and James McBrine will be attempting to add to their long list of cup victories this weekend when they play for Donemana seconds in the Qualifying 1 Cup against Eglinton. In the Qualifying 2 contest, Ardmore have home advantage as they take on Bready thirds.

At the bottom of the Premiership Bready will be hoping to win for the second game in succession against Eglinton. David Scanlon’s men beat Ardmore last Saturday and will hope to take advantage of an Eglinton side who may have one eye on Sunday’s Ulster Cup semi-final against Instonians. Eglinton will be hoping Stuart Thompson is available after the second week of a trial with English county Surrey.

Ardmore meanwhile have been dragged back into the relegation mire after that defeat by Bready.

They will be outsiders against Brigade at Beechgrove and the game is the first of three matches against the title contenders in the space of four matches.