Seaford will wind down their season in LSL Major 1B with a home match against Beggsboro (Rockfield Park, Saturday 27 April, 12.00pm).
Only a few weeks ago, this tie had the potential to be a promotion decider, but both teams have seen their form go off a cliff, and Seaford are playing for nothing more than pride and the hope of ending a seven-match winless run.
The hosts are at least safe from relegation, but things are more severe for Beggsboro, who have lost five on the bounce, conceding a remarkable 28 goals, which has seen them plunged into the relegation more. Their fate is still in their own hands, but they need points urgently, with the teams below them facing off against each other in the coming days in a thrilling finale at the bottom of the division.
Beggsboro have had the upper hand in the sides' most recent meetings. At the back end of last season, in anohter relegation battle, they trounced Seaford 4-0, and this season they came from behind to win 5-4 in the league match in Cabra, before dishing out another hiding in the Carroll Cup in December.
On the other hand, Seaford have won the last three fixtures between the sides at Rockfield Park, winning in league and cup during 2017/19, courtesy of start turns from Kohei Masaki and MJ Tierney. Neither of those exotic forwards will be available this weekend, but they will be hopeful of at least finishing a disappointing season on a high note.
Both Seaford sides hit the road on Saturday afternoon as they move into the final phase of their respective league campaigns.
The Majors have seen their promotion effort falter badly in recent weeks, with consecutive draws against relegation-batling Vincents Hospital and Dundrum. They are now involved in a four-way battle for third place, including against their hosts this weekend, who moved into contention with an eye-catching 7-0 win away against another challenger, Beggsboro, on Monday evening.
A last minute winner from Seaford's Christian Firth was all that separated the sides when they met earlier in the campaign, but Kilnamanagh did the double in the matches between the two sides last season, taking advantage of a very poor Seaford performance at Ned Kelly Park to win 2-0 before securing a 2-1 win at Rockfield Park in a game the home side largely dominated.
The Premiers travel north to face Balbriggan in their penultimate league fixture. Eoin Dunne's men have been on a strong run of form, with their cup defeat against Esker Celtic their only defeat in the last eight in all competitions, and last time out they saw off Pegasus St James to maintain their 100% record in the Rockfield Cup. They'll be especially confident for this tie having trounced their hosts 7-2 in their previous meeting, as well as having won the corresponding fixture last season in Division 3.
Balbriggan need a point to ensure survival in Premier 1, whilst Seaford, sitting one place above them in the table, are largely playing for pride having already secured their status for next season.
After a week off for the bank holiday, both sides are back in action on Saturday.
The Majors travel to face Dundrum FC (Meadowbank Park, Dundrum, 12.00pm ko) knowing that a win would move them back into the promotion spots with a game in hand over their nearest rivals Inchicore. After a strong period in winter, the team's form has wobbled lately, with narrow defeats against both Inchicore and Verona, and a disappointing display last time out in the draw with St Vincent's Hospital.
Dundrum are in desperate need of points to climb away from the relegation battle. Their record against the teams in the bottom three is excellent, but they have so far lost all ten matches against the other sides in the division.
Separately, the Premiers host Pegasus St James's in their second Rockfield Cup match (Rockfield Park, 11.00am), following their win over Blackrock College last month. Seaford have already hosted Pegs in league action this season, winning 3-2 courtesy of a Sam Browne strike and two from top scorer Ryan Scollard.
Mixed fortunes for the club this weekend, with a win and loss on Saturday afternoon.
The Majors were edged by the odd goal in three when they visited Inchicore Athletic. In a match played with high tempo and high quality, Mike O'Neill put Seaford in front early in the second half but Core fought back late on, eventually netting an 85th minute winner to move into the promotion spots at Seaford's expense. Match report here.
However the Premiers took a big step towards ensuring their survival by winning 1-0 away at River Valley Rangers in Swords. Chris Monk scored the only goal of the match, and Seaford were indebted to keeper Robbie Moran, who saved a second-half penalty, and substitute Robbie Murray, who made a brilliant late goalline block, for the three points.
The result relegated both River Valley and Park Vale, leaving one remaining spot to be filled in the drop zone. Seaford are yet to play its current occupants, Castleknock Celtic, and two points for Eoin Dunne's men from those two matches would be enough to keep Seaford up..
Both Seaford teams are on the road on Saturday afternoon as they try to maintain their good recent form lines.
It's third place against fourth in Major 1B as Seaford travel to face Inchicore Athletic in Bernard Curtis Park, seeking to avenge a heavy defeat in the reverse fixture last October. Seaford turned in their worst display of the season that day, and were ruthlessly picked off by Core in the second half, but they will approach the rematch with confidence after four straight league wins propelled them into the promotion spots, albeit only on goal difference.
Promotion is out of reach for the Premiers, but they too could achieve a four-match winning streak by beating bottom-placed Rivervalley Rovers in Swords. It was against the same opposition that Eoin Dunne's men recorded their first win of the season back in September, and since then they are team transformed, having seen off Balbriggan, East Wall Rovers and Blackrock College in three different competitions since Christmas.
Although the Majors' fixture away at CIE Ranch has fallen victim to the weather, the Premiers are in action in the first match of a new springtime competition - the Rockfield Cup.
The curtain-raiser, fittingly, is a Rockfield Derby, as Seaford take on neighbours Blackrock College. The two sides have already faced each other twice this year, with College winning out on both occasions, albeit narrowly. An injury-ravaged Seaford side couldn't quite hold on to an unlikely lead on the opening day of the season, eventually going down 4-3, and Blackrock also edged the second encounter in December, netting the only goal early in the second half and hanging on despite a flurry of late chances for Seaford ,
The match will kick off a five-team round-robin competition, also featuring Premier 1 rivals Pegasus, who Seaford saw off 3-2 in November courtesy of a Ryan Scollard brace, as well as another local side Booterstown United, and their fellow UCFL outfit VEC FC.
With the Major's scheduled match at home to Beggsboro falling victim to the icy weather, the Premiers took centre stage this weekend and produced a memorable performance to knock East Wall Rovers out of the Wally Wynne Cup, recording a 5-2 away win in Drumcondra.
Only one match this past weekend as the Majors recorded a fourth straight league win to move into the top three in Major 1B. Stephen Canavan scored either side of half time to put Seaford in a commanding position in Dunboyne, and although the hosts pulled one back late on, Dave Higgins sealed the points with a fine solo effort in injury time. Read the full match report here.
The Majors host Beggsboro AFC next, while the Premiers begin their Wynne Cup campaign with a trip to face East Wall Rovers.
The Majors returned to action for the new year on Friday night with a superb effort away from home against much-vaunted Booth Road Celtic in the Ryan Cup. Seaford were eventually eliminated on penalties, having been just minutes from claiming a memorable scalp following extra time.
Booth enjoyed plenty of possession and no shortage of shots on goal, but couldn't make the breakthrough until the 78th minute. Seaford responded quickly though Collie Barrett, forcing the added period, and Barrett struck again to put the visitors in front. But after Oisin Geoghegan had saved Philip Sheppard's penalty, he was eventually beaten when deflected cross found the corner of his net with just three minutes remaining, and Booth went on to win the shoot-out 4-3.
Full match report is available here.
There was no competitive action for the Premiers, but they got a good run-out in a friendly win over Booterstown United at Dun Laoghaire IADT. Mark Sullivan netted both goals in a 2-0 win, which saw Seaford utilise almost an entirely different team each half, showcasing the strength in depth at Eoin Dunne's diposal.