Mitchels still the men to beat ahead of semi-finals

GAA: Mayo SFC Semi-Finals

See you Sunday: Mayo teammates Donnie Newcombe, and Shane Nally will be facing each other on Sunday when Castlebar Mitchels and Garrymore clash. Photo: Sportsfile.

See you Sunday: Mayo teammates Donnie Newcombe, and Shane Nally will be facing each other on Sunday when Castlebar Mitchels and Garrymore clash. Photo: Sportsfile.

After Wednesday night's win for Ballintubber over Hollymount-Carramore, we now know the four sides who will be competing in Sunday's semi-finals of the Mayo senior football championship. Defending champions Castlebar Mitchels still look the team to beat after their win over last year's finalists Knockmore. They haven't hit full tilt yet but they are still the leading lights in the county at the minute, but their opponents on Sunday Garrymore will have plenty to say about it before the game is over in MacHale Park.

Mitchels had three points to spare over Knockmore in the quarter-final last Sunday, with Paddy Durcan continuing the excellent form he showed for Mayo during the summer, hitting the all important goal in that win. David Stenson's return of six points - four from frees was also a good return from the young Mitchels attacker, while Neil Dogulas chipped in with two points and everyone has seen in the past few years Douglas has the potential to catch fire and win any game if he gets going. James Durcan also kicked two points against Knockmore, while Mitchels also have the likes of county men Danny Kirby, Donnie Newcombe, and Barry Moran to look to as they try to get back to the final in their quest for three titles in a row.

Garrymore are back at this stage again and the south Mayo men will be looking to make the breakthrough to the final after a long number of years out of big show. They showed last weekend coming from eight points behind against Ballina Stephenites that they have the battling and footballing quality to test any side. They hit four goals in that win with Mark Tierney and Myles Fallon both rattling David Clarke's net twice in that win. Garrymore can play some lovely football at times, but come Sunday they'll have to keep things tight at the back, and in the likes of Trevor Nally and Jamie Oates they have men who will be ready to do what's needed to keep things tight at the back. They'll be looking for big performances too from their county men Shane Nally and Caloan Crowe, while Jimmy Killeen can always be relied on to chip in with a few points in every game. Garrymore won't fear Mitchels and this is going to be a serious test for them, but you'd have to think that the two times defending champions will have enough to get over the line.

Ballintubber will have been delighted to have got over the challenge of Hollymount-Carramore at the second time of asking, but they will be hoping that they don't feel the impact of three games in just over eight days when they taken on Claremorris on Sunday. They also can't say they weren't warned about Claremorris, who turned over a very fancied Breaffy side last weekend by a point to book their first semi-final appearance in eight years. Claremorris are a youthful side with 10 of their squad under the age of 21, and the fearlessness of youth will be needed again this weekend against the canny operators from Ballintubber. The likes of James McCormack, David Egan, James Shaughnessy, Conor Diskin, David O'Reilly, Seán Diskin, and Ronan Finn all stood up last weekend and will be needed to do the same again on Sunday.

Ballintubber showed all their experience on Wednesday night getting over a sticky and tough Hollymount-Carramore challenge with Alan Dillon and Jason Gibbons really coming to the fore when needed. They were even able to withstand the loss of Cillian O'Connor in the final quarter, when he picked up a second yellow card and close down the shop at the back and hit their opponents on the break to run out comprehensive winners. Along with the aforementioned players they also have the likes of Diarmuid O'Connor, Michael Plunkett, Alan Plunkett, and Padraig O'Connor to call on to drive them on. It's been a great return for Claremorris to get to this stage and they'll want to go one further at least, but you'd have to think the experience and nous of Ballintubber will see them through to set up and all west Mayo final.

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