Elite eight get ready to clash this weekend

GAA: Mayo Senior Football Championship

Looking to get back to winning ways: Declan Reilly will be looking for his Castlebar Mitchels side to get back to winning ways on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

Looking to get back to winning ways: Declan Reilly will be looking for his Castlebar Mitchels side to get back to winning ways on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

After one of the busiest weekends in the club calendar last weekend the quarter-finalists in the Mayo GAA senior championships are now known. The defending champions Castlebar Mitchels who were pushed into second place in their group after a Ballina Stephenites saw them off 3-8 to 1-10 last weekend - will face Knockmore in the last eight on Saturday in Ballina at 5pm in a repeat of last years county final. Knockmore were handed the toughest draw of all the table toppers when Mitchels slipped into second place in the table thanks to efforts of Evan Regan and Ciaran Tracey who finished up with 1-3 each in Ballina’s surprise win. Knockmore made it three wins from three in their group with a comfortable 2-11 to 1-9 win over Westport in Castlebar, with Peter Naughton hitting six points for them.

Ballina’s reward for topping their group is a meeting with Garrymore in Charlestown on Sunday at 2pm. Garrymore qualified in second place from group one behind Knockmore following a thrilling 2-16 to 1-17 win over Charlestown, which saw them pip their opponents to the quarter-final spot on the head-to-head rule after both sides finished level on three points each in the group. Tom Nally and Mark Tierney hit the goals for Kevin Walsh’s side. This will be Garrymore’s sixth season making the knock-out stages of the competition, but they will need all their aces to be in top form to see off a resurgent Ballina side - who will fancy their chances of making it back to the semi-final stage for the first time in a number of years.

On Saturday evening there is a double header in MacHale Park, with Breaffy’s meeting with Claremorris getting things underway at 6pm. Breaffy made it three-from-three with a powerful display against Ballaghaderreen that saw them run out 6-14 to 1-9 winners with Conor O’Shea hitting 2-2 and other goals coming from Gary Walsh, Eimhin Morrin and Rory Martyn in a very convincing win for the west Mayo men. Claremorris went down to Ballintubber in their final group game, but the victory by Kiltane over Aghamore in the other game in the group saw Johnny Mulkeen’s men take a spot in the last eight. But they will have to seriously up their performance levels if they are to upset the odds on Saturday.

The second game on Saturday night is the clash of Ballintubber and Hollymount-Carramore at 7.30pm. Ballintubber maintained their 100 per cent record in the group with their 0-16 to 1-8 win over Claremorris, in which Cillian O’Connor scored four points and Padraic O’Connor chipped in with three while seven other players also raised the white flag. Hollymount-Carramore booked their spot in the quarter-finals with a 2-11 to 1-10 win over Davitts in Bekan. Darren Coen and Kevin Ferrick combined for 2-6 of that total as the made the knock-out stages for the first time as an amalgamated club.

The places in the relegation play-offs were also sorted out last weekend, Kiltane pushed Aghamore into the final four no club wants to be in with their win over the east Mayo men, while Ballinrobe found themselves in the drop zone after their loss to Crossmolina. Those sides are joined by Davitts who lost to Hollymount-Carramore and Westport who will be looking to make sure that they have more than just a one year stay in the top level after bring promoted back up last year.

Mayo GAA SFC Quarter-Finals

Castlebar Mitchels v Knockmore; Saturday, October 7 at 5pm in Ballina

Breaffy v Claremorris; Saturday, October 7 at 6pm in MacHale Park

Ballintubber v Hollymount-Carramore; Saturday, October 7 at 7.30pm in MaHale Park

Balllina v Garrymore, Sunday, October 8 at 2pm in Charlestown.

Mayo GAA SFC Relegation Semi-Finals

Ballinrobe v Westport; Saturday, October 7 at 5pm in Garrymore

Aghamore v Davitts; Sunday, October 8 at 1.30pm in Ballyhaunis.

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