Battle for McDonnell Cup to savour on Sunday

Mayo GAA JFC Final

John Maughan's Lahardane pulled off a big win last weekend, can they follow it up this Sunday in the county final against Kilmaine. Photo: Sportsfile

John Maughan's Lahardane pulled off a big win last weekend, can they follow it up this Sunday in the county final against Kilmaine. Photo: Sportsfile

This promises to be something special on Sunday, we got it wrong last weekend when we picked Balla to see off Lahardane and book their spot in Sunday's semifinal — John Maughan's men hit Balla with everything they had and were deserving eight point winners. They never let Balla settle and against the wind they went in leading by two points, in the second half they really upped the ante and outscored their opponents by 2-7 to 1-2, after they had been pulled level five minutes into the second half, with sub Cormac Reilly netting two goals in the final quarter of the game.

Kilmaine had it tougher in their meeting with Ballycastle but still ran out five point winners on a scoreline of 2-12 to 1-10 - they hit the back of the net right from the throw-in with Matthew Keady firing it home to lay down a marker of intent. They kept up the pace and went in eight points to the good at the break on a score of 1-9 to 0-4. They managed to hold off the Ballycastle fightback with Jarlath Mullin hitting their second goal to seal the win.

Both managers, Kilmaine's Norman O'Brien and the aforementioned Maughan, will have been planning and plotting all week to counteract the other. Lahardane have never won an adult county final and this Sunday would represent a magnificent milestone for the north Mayo men. For the south Mayo side it has been 25 years since they last won an adult championship, this same one, and since then they have had a number of near misses including a number of intermediate final losses in the not too distant past.

Kilmaine boast plenty of experience with Pat Kelly, Joey Maloney, Derek O'Dea, and Brian Maloney having years of football among them that O'Brien will be looking to draw on, while Jarlath Mullin and Michael Hession, who combined for 1-9 between them in last Sunday's semifinal win, will be looked to provide scores from up front.

Lahardane will not be found wanting either with Barry Leonard, Chris Rowland, and Tony Dever all key men, while Adrian Leonard and James Maughan who hit seven points between them last weekend are a potent attacking pairing along with Cormac Reilly who hit the net twice last weekend. Whoever wins this one it will be a very special day for either club and MacHale Park should witness a cracker of a game.

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