Serious weekend of club action in MacHale Park

GAA: Mayo GAA SFC Quarter Final

Looking for a semi-final spot: Robert Hennelly and his Breaffy teammates will be looking to book a final four spot tomorrow. Photo: Sportsfile

Looking for a semi-final spot: Robert Hennelly and his Breaffy teammates will be looking to book a final four spot tomorrow. Photo: Sportsfile

Over the next two days, MacHale Park in Castlebar will host four big games as the quarter-finals of the Mayo GAA Senior Football Championship are down for decision. Our Sports Editor, Colm Gannon previews the action.

 

Breaffy v Crossmolina

Saturday October 15 at 3pm

In MacHale Park, Castlebar 

When the draw was made last year's beaten county finalists will have been happy enough with getting the north Mayo men out of the hat. Crossmolina are in the process of rebuilding themselves back towards former glories, and making it to the last eight will be seen a as a decent step towards that. They showed no mercy last weekend to Ballinrobe hitting 4-19 against the south Mayo men with their full forward line contributing 3-9 of that total.  Their All Ireland winning U21 pair Conor Loftus and Fionán Duffy were standout performers along with Brian Benson who it three goals.

For Breaffy it was just about getting the job done last weekend and reintegrating their Mayo senior contingent back into the fold. Seamus O'Shea had to sit it out, but Robbie Hennelly, Aidan and Conor O'Shea, and Michael Hall were all back in action for Peter Ford's men. But the standout performer was Liam Irwin, who finished up with 0-7 to his name, four of them from play. The All Ireland U21 winner has been in impressive form for his side all summer long and will fancy his chances of continuing that form again on Saturday.

Verdict: Breaffy

 

Knockmore v Aghamore

Saturday October 15 at 4.30pm

In MacHale Park, Castlebar 

Of the four senior quarter-finals down for decision over the weekend in Mayo GAA HQ this is probably the hardest one to call on paper. Aghamore looked to be in flying form ahead of last weekend's round of games, but were brought down to earth by Ballintubber in Tooreen and ended up going through in second place in their group. Agahamore still have plenty to offer with Alan Freeman, Fergal Boland, Brendan Harrison all top quality operators, while David Kenny, Niall Freeman, and Darren Duffy are all serious players too.

Knockmore showed their pedigree and tradition last weekend when they grabbed top spot in group four with a two point win over Ballaghaderreen at home. The north Mayo men might not be at the level they were 15 years ago, but they are still serious championship operators, who make the knock out stages with regularity. Kevin McLoughlin will be their key man, but there are plenty of top level supporting actors like Keith Ruttledge, Darren McHale, Shane McHale, and John Brogan to give them a serious chance of winning this one

Verdict: Aghamore

Castlebar Mitchels v Ballaghaderreen

Sunday October 16 at 2pm

In MacHale Park, Castlebar 

The county and Connacht champions are the ones that everyone wants to beat and they have impressively and solidly made their way through the championship with little fuss so far. They were able to give Paddy Durcan and Barry Moran last weekend off to get over their All Ireland heart-break and still come out with the win against a battling Ballina Stephenites side. They also have some big name players back in contention, with both Danny Kirby and Tom Cunniffe potentially available to play alongside the returned Neil Lydon.

As for the east Mayo men, they were the only side who knew 100 per cent they would be at this stage last weekend, but they will be disappointed to come into it on the back of a loss to Knockmore last time out. The absence of Barry Regan blunted their attack, but Andy Moran, not for the first time this year, really stepped up to the plate for them scoring all but one point of his side's 2-7 in that game. At the back All Ireland U21 winning pair Seamus Cunniffe and Sharoize Akram along with senior inter-county man David Drake will not give the Mitchels attack too much room to work in, but it is at the other end they will struggle.

Verdict: Castlebar Mitchels

Ballintubber v Garrymore

Sunday October 16 at 3.30pm

In MacHale Park, Castlebar

The rumours of their demise seem to have been exaggerated at this stage, as Ballintubber shook off losing their opening round group game to still make the last eight at the top of the table last weekend. They had to see off Aghamore's challenge on the road without Alan Dillon but, with three O'Connor brothers scoring 2-9 of your 2-11 total, Cillian scoring 1-8 of that, they had plenty in reserve. Also the impressive return to action of Jason Gibbons after his injury lay-off will come as a welcome boost to John Feeney and Lyndon Reilly and the rest of their management team. Ballintubber know what they have to do in situations like this and they have the hunger and belief to drive themselves to another county title if they get going.

Garrymore were involved in the surprise game last weekend when a very unfancied Claremorris side held them to a draw, it took an injury time shot from sharpshooter Jimmy Killeen to book their place in this weekend's last eight. The concession of three goals to a side that played for more than a half minus one player will be a major concern that Garrymore will have had to have addressed over the past week, as their opponents on Sunday, once they smell blood, will go for it as they have shown in the past. Along with Killeen, the south Mayo men will be looking for big performances from the likes of Shane Nally and Caolan Crowe to give themselves any chance.

Verdict: Ballintubber

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