IT’S no exaggeration to say that the race for survival in Division Two is on a knife-edge heading into the final three rounds of matches.
Tattyreagh, Eskra, Rock, Clogher and Cookstown are in particular peril at the bottom of the table, and there are a few others who aren’t yet guaranteed of safety even at this relatively late juncture of the season.
Whoever is unfortunate enough to finish dead last will be automatically relegated, while a play-off will ensue between the teams that finish second and third from bottom.
The losers of that particular game will be relegated, while the victors will play the winners of the Division Three play-offs for the right to play Division Two football next season.
The preferred outcome for the teams locked for a fight for survival is that they avoid the play-offs altogether, but that’s easier said than done and Eskra boss Niall Colton is braced for a particularly demanding run to to the finish line (their final three games are Pomeroy, Edendork and the Rock).
The Emmett’s currently sit third from bottom after they played out a draw against fellow strugglers Tattyreagh last Sunday, and Dromore native Colton is conscious that they face an almighty battle on their hands to stay afloat in Division Two.
“Pomeroy will be another serious test and will be pushing hard to secure a promotion playoff place at the very least.
“We just need to be prepared for another almighty battle. We have three seriously tough games ahead and we have to maximise our chances of gaining as many league points as possible.”
“The thing about it is that bar the top three or four teams any team can beat each other. Eskra and Tattyreagh are similar in that there’s been games that they could have won but a bit of luck hasn’t went their way in tight games which both have been losing.”
The loss of Niall Mc Ginn to serious injury a couple of weeks ago has been a blow but other players have stepped up for Eskra.
Johnny Hackett was pivotal last Sunday, veteran forward Joe McCarroll scored the equaliser and Peter Hughes, physio with Ulster Champions Derry, continues to carry a scoring threat.
Elsewhere in the fight for survival, Cookstown picked up an impressive win against Aghyaran, the Rock lost to Eglish and Clogher fell short against Kildress.