Four games spread across three venues will determine the future of eight sides all looking to be the one to claim the Mayo Intermediate Championship and book their place with the big boys in the senior event next summer. The last few games that had to be tidied up in the group stages took place last weekend and Kiltimagh, Westport, Belmullet, and Islandeady topped their groups, with Moy Davitts, Burrishoole, The Neale, and Shrule Glenncorrib joining them at the quarter final stage as runners up.
Saturday evening sees three of the quarter-finals down for decision with Belmullet taking on Shrule-Glencorrib in Ballina, Islandeady and Burrishoole facing off in Westport, and Kiltimagh and The Neale squaring off in Claremorris, all the games throw in at 4.30pm, while on Sunday in Ballina Westport and Moy Davitts will do their dance at 2pm.
The meeting of Belmullet and Shrule-Glencorrib will see both sides in action for the second week in a row. The north Mayo men booked top spot in group three last weekend with a five point win over Burrishoole in Tallagh. Cathal Barret found the back of the net for the home side who were boosted by the return to action of both of their Mayo senior men Eoin O'Donoghue and Chris Barrett, while Shane Nallen hit three points over the hour for Nigel Reape's side. Shrule-Glencorrib's group stages came to a conclusion last Sunday, when Westport saw them off by nine points in a battle for top spot in the group. The south Mayo men had previously beaten Castlebar Mitchels B and Ardnaree in the earlier rounds to ensure they made it at least this far, but it could be a step too far for them come Saturday.
Less than 20km separates Islandeady and the town of Newport, and the meeting of Burrishoole and Islandeady in Westport on Saturday evening should be an engrossing encounter. Islandeady wrapped up their group stage on the last Sunday in August with a draw against Kilmaine which was enough for them to top one of the tightest groups in the championship. Declan Conway's men won only once in those round robin games games against The Neale, but the draws against Kilmaine and Parke were more than enough for them to get this far. Burrishoole come into the game as mentioned above on the back of the defeat to Belmullet last weekend, but before that game they knew they were already going to be through. They also had to do without Jason Doherty who got injured in the warm up, but they will need their inter-county man this weekend if they are to make the break through back to the last eight.
Kiltimagh look to be one of the real form teams at this grade, with three wins from three in the group stages, they saw off Moy Davitts, Swinford, and Tourmkeady with relative ease in group one scoring 9-47 along the way. Those three games will have them in confident mood ahead of tomorrow's meeting with The Neale. The south Mayo men have acquitted themselves very well at this level after making the breakthrough and winning the junior for the first time ever a few years ago. Two wins from three saw them finish in second place in their group, they had to battle hard against Parke in their last group game which was winner takes all affair, but they came good when it counted and they will fancy their chances against the east Mayo men.
The final quarter-final on Sunday sees Moy Davitts and Westport go head to head in what should be an top class encounter. Moy Davitts booked their spot in this round with an impressive 2-15 to 1-4 win over Swinford in Foxford last weekend, Brian Reape was the main man hitting 2-5 from centre half forward and he will take plenty of watching. Of course Wesptort have a man more than capable of doing that in the shape of Lee Keegan of whom, along with his inter-county team-mate Kevin Keane, a lot will be expected come Sunday from the Westport faithful.
There is one final thing to be cleared up at the bottom of the intermediate grade with the relegation play-off between Tourmakeady and Kilmaine taking place on Sunday in Mayo Abbey at 12 noon. Both sides were beaten in their relegation semi-finals last weekend with Kilmaine going down by seven to Mayo Gaels and Ardaree having just two to spare over the Gaeltacht men in their meeting. This is the game no side wants to be in, staring down relegation to the junior level next year, it will be frantic and physical and one to keep an eye on.