As some of you may know the league fixtures are out for the new season so the season isn't far away now. The friendlies are in full flow but things are about to get real.
The question on everybody's lips is "when do the big 2 clash?" Well Armagh/Down host Forresters in the big City derby game in the opening fixture and you have to ask yourself "is there a bigger derby game in the Newry Pool League?"
In the Premier double quadruple winners TJ's A travel across to table 1 to take on stablemates TJ's Tigers (Formerly known as TJ's D). This is a tricky looking tie for the A team as this young exciting Tigers team are attacking and a very dangerous side. The Tigers won div 1 on a play-off against Bears last season and will be brimming with confidence.
The newly formed Bravelle Dreamteam CWC A have a dream 1st round tie as they will take on Killeavy in the City Centre. Killeavy look set for another long relegation battle so CWC look a cert to to open up with a big win.
Another eye catching 1st round tie is McGuigan's A hosting Hustlers. There's been a bit of needle and lots controversy in the previous encounters so this is 1 to interest the neutrals. McGuigan's did the double over Hustlers last season but with Dee Kearney sporting new glasses he's like a new signing for Hustlers. Also McGuigan's have lost the father and son double act of the Hanna's. Both will be missed if only for their craic.
Whitecross take on Bears in what could turn out to be an early relegation battle. Whitecross have a hugely depleted side and Bears squad looks light on star quality so this could be a big 1.
Killeavy travel out to Orchard Bar for their opening league fixture. Both teams have lost their best player and both teams look set for a tough season ahead.
Further down the line the 2 main title protagonists TJ's A and CWC A clash in week 5. This mouth watering battle could go a long way to deciding who lift the league title.
Week 8 TJ's A travel out to Orchard Bar which has proved a banana skin for the league champions in the past.
Should the league go down to the final game of the season TJ's A have a tricky spin out to the Sheepbridge.
CWC finish with a home game against Orchard Bar who just love to spoil a good party.
Whitecross will need to pick up points early in their fixture list as they face CWC, TJ's A, Carrickcruppen and McGuigan's in their last 4 games.
If Killeavy don't beat Sheepbridge in week 2 they may have to wait until week 6 when they host Orchard Bar, before they earn some points as they face some really tough games in between as well as their bye.
Bears have a very tough start to the season. They will hope to beat Whitecross in the Windmill as they play both CWC and TJ's as well as other top teams in their 1st 5 fixtures.
Carrickcruppen have a very kind run-in if they can keep themselves in contention for some Silverware. They face Hustlers, Bears, Sheepridge and a South Armagh derby against Whitecross in their last 4 but they have their bye in the last round of fixtures which isn't always ideal.
TJ's Tigers will be delighted with their fixtures. They have the A team out of the way early and any tricky looking games are followed by very winable games the following week. In week 7 they travel down Hill Street to CWC and the following week they host Killeavy and that is the theme of their fixture list.
Hustlers are going to be playing catch up with CWC and TJ's A in their 1st 6 fixtures. With a bye in there too the Bears in Belinis it will be crucial to get maximum points.
Orchard Bar will hope to have gathered up plenty of points before the meet 1 of the fancied teams in Week 8 (TJ's A). Orchard have their bye in week 4 then have Bears and Killeavy to build momentum again.
McGuigan's A have a new look side and face a tough start. After their opening bout at home to Hustlers they travel to TJ's A then out to Carrickcruppen but after that the games get a bit handier.
Sheepbridge A have a daunting final 3 games to the season. The will host Carrickcruppen, travel into town to take on CWC and finish with a home tie against champions TJ's A. The Bowling club have a bye in the opening round of fixtures and will hope to gather up some points before their tough run starts.
Newly formed CWC A will finish the season with 2 very winable home games. Sheepbridge and Orchard Bar will be their final 2 fixtures so if their still in contention then that will put pressure on TJ's A. CWC have Killeavy then a tricky trip to Carrickcruppen and their 3rd game see's them visit Bears. The fixtures do look generous to CWC in their quest to stop the TJ's juggernaut.
Lots of blogs to come so keep an eye on the website.
We will take a look at a very competitive Division 1 and also the Div 2 fixtures in the coming days.
Also the fantasy pool teams will be up soon.