With two rounds to go The Hills have qualified for the second phase of the LHW Financial Planning Premier league. Merrion are also nearly over the line and it would require a major loss of form and a particular combination of results to deny them a place in the top four. Malahide and Pembroke are also well placed but still have work to do.
YMCA and Leinster are not out of contention but need two good wins and other things to go right for them. Leinster have an interesting final two games against rivals Malahide and Pembroke and they could squeeze through by winning these, made easier if The Hills can do them a favour and beat Pembroke next weekend. YMCA have two away games to Phoenix and Rush. But perhaps the most interesting storyline could end up with a final round encounter between Phoenix and Malahide. If the teams stay within @20 points of each other going into this game then it could set up a ‘winner takes all’ contest.
The other issues to be decided are who finishes in the top two and has home advantage. In case anyone has forgotten how the Play Off system works it goes like this. Assuming for the purpose of this exercise that the current placings determine the outcome of the final set of games then The Hills would play Merrion in the first SF and Malahide would play Pembroke in the second. Assuming The Hills win they would go straight through to final. Merrion would playoff against the winner of the other game. If they were to win then they would face The Hills again in the final - for the third time in a month. The final will be in Anglesea Road but who has home advantage in the play-off games depends on the league placings.
Where does all this leave us regarding the final positions and who will be in the Premier League next season. There are still multiple permutations possible but Merrion, Pembroke, The Hills and YMCA are sure of Premier league cricket next year. Clontarf are nearly over the line and no combination of results can deny them promotion if they stay ahead of North County in the Championship. But the real battle is likely between North County, Leinster, Phoenix and Malahide for three places. North County if they maintain their current second position in the Championship will end up on 812.5 points. To overtake them Phoenix need to end up no worse than 7th in the Premier league. Malahide would need to finish no worse than 6th [they would be on equal points with North County but would have scored more points in 2019]. For Leinster, as long as North County don’t do better than second place in the Championship, then they are safe. If North County win the Championship then they need at least a 7th place finish to get ahead of them. So for North County, the best option is to beat Clontarf to the Championship. Clontarf are still safe as long as they are only one place below North County.
If the Championship ends up North County followed by Clontarf then the key number for the Premier teams in the bottom half of the table to beat is 837.5. Leinster can afford to end up as 7th and still survive. For Phoenix a sixth placed finish is enough, but for Malahide they need at least a fifth place finish. If you have followed this so far [and the math is correct for which there are no guarantees] then we still have much to play for. The key matches to look out for [although there are a number that could have an impact on final outcomes] are likely to be Phoenix v Malahide [R7 Premier] and North County v Clontarf [R7 Championship].