All roads lead to Ballina tomorrow for what promises to be two real battles, with a place in the Mayo Intermediate Football Championship final up for grabs. The action gets under way at 2.45pm with the meeting of last year's beaten intermediate finalists Kiltimagh and last year's Mayo and Connacht junior champions Louisburgh.
Kiltimagh booked their place in tomorrow's game with a narrow two point win over Ardnaree in the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan. Kiltimagh survived conceding an early goal and missing a penalty of their own, and only took the lead in the game late on, to see off the north Mayo men after a fierce battle. When it came to the crunch, Ronan Malee, Eoghan Lavin, and Tomás Keegan kicked the vital points for Kilti. Pa McNicholas knows that his side will have to up their performance much more tomorrow if they are to get back to the final for the second year in a row. Seán Walsh, Liam Lydon, and Brian Gallagher will be looked to, to get them over the line.
Last year's junior champions, Louisburgh, are riding the crest of a wave since claiming the third tier title last year. Stepping up to intermediate and having a long winter in the Connacht and All Ireland series could have affected them over the summer — but they show no signs of any ill effects. Last weekend they had seven points to spare over Mayo Gaels in Islandeady, with Pádraic Prendergast putting in massive showing in the middle of the park, kicking five points over the hour. Kevin Gibbons was also in good form up front finishing up with three from play, while the seemingly ageless Austin O'Malley chipped in with two. John Kelly's side will not be found wanting on the effort front, but Kiltimagh will feel that they have some unfinished business from last year to make up for and might just have enough on Saturday.
The second game of the day is the meeting of Islandeady and Moy Davitts at 4.30pm, both sides have been impressive in both league and championship this season so far and will feel that they have what it takes to get over the line tomorrow. Islandeady have been building nicely over the last number of years and are starting to reap the rewards of this work. They saw off Burrishoole by six points in the quarter-final last weekend in Westport on a score of 2-18 to 2-12 and one of the most impressive things about that win was their spread of scorers, with eight different players managing to get on the scoresheet. Their full forward line of Brendan Gibbons (0-5 ), Johnny Concannon (1-3 ), and Darragh Joyce (1-2 ) contributed 2-10 of their return and will be a serious handful for the Moy Davitts defence on Saturday.
But Moy Davitts' attack knows where to find the posts too, with their six starting forwards last weekend contributing 1-14 of their total of 1-17, as they were put to the pin of their collar by Parke in their quarter-final win. When the sides met in the league back in July it was a high scoring encounter with Moy Davitts winning out 0-20 to 0-16 at the end, so we will be expecting another exciting encounter this time around, and if Brian Reape, Séan Kelly, Anthony Jordan, and Brian Heneghan can fire they may have just too much for Declan Conway's men.