Clubs now firmly focused on championship ties

GAA: Mayo GAA Club Championships

Crossmolina Deel Rovers GAA Senior footballers (from l-r): Stephen Duffy, Cathal Carolan, Jordan Flynn, Fionan Duffy, and Conor Loftus at the launch of the new Crossmolina Deel Rovers GAA jersey. Crossmolina will be sporting the Mindspace logo on their jerseys this year to promote positive mental health in Mayo.

Crossmolina Deel Rovers GAA Senior footballers (from l-r): Stephen Duffy, Cathal Carolan, Jordan Flynn, Fionan Duffy, and Conor Loftus at the launch of the new Crossmolina Deel Rovers GAA jersey. Crossmolina will be sporting the Mindspace logo on their jerseys this year to promote positive mental health in Mayo.

It started with Moy Davitts B in the junior B and ended with Davitts in the senior championship in MacHale Park on Wednesday night where 64 teams waited to make their summer plans.

The draw for the Mayo GAA football championships threw up plenty of interesting clashes to savour this summer in the group stages, as the big guns plotted paths to the business end of the season and the lesser lights looked at ways to punch well above their perceived weight.

This will be the second year that all teams across the four championship grades will have one home game, one away, and their third game at a neutral venue in the group stages.

The senior championship is, of course, the main attraction and defending champions Castlebar Mitchels, who are looking to make it four in a row, have found themselves in a pot with Ballina Stephenites (who turned them over in the group stages last year ), Ballaghaderreen, and Aghamore. Intermediate champions from last year, Moy Davitts have been welcomed back to the top flight with a spot in a group, where they will face off against Garrymore, Knockmore, and Moy Davitts.

The surprise semifinalists of last year's senior championship Claremorris will have to battle their way past Hollymount-Carramore, Crossmolina Deel Rovers, and a Westport side that lots of people are expecting big things from this year after James Horan took charge of the team.

The last foursome in the top flight sees two of the pretenders to Castlebar's throne — last year's beaten finalists Ballintubber, and local rivals Breaffy — looking to pick their way past Kiltane and Davitts to make it to the elite eighth stage of the competition.

In the intermediate grade, last year's beaten finalists Kiltimagh have been placed in an interesting group with Mayo Gaels, Ballyhaunis, and a Belmullet side many think could give this competition a good go this summer. Islandeady who look to have the potential for another good championship run face off against neighbours Burrishoole and two teams in Swinford and Bonniconlon who have been have been involved in a long running boardroom battle over relegation in the league all winter long. More on that elsewhere in these pages.

Ballinrobe who were relegated from senior last year and will be looking to bounce straight back up will have to first battle past The Neale, Ardnaree, and Castlebar Mitchels B if they are going to make a quick return to the top flight. The final group in the intermediate championship sees last year's junior champions Lahardane take on Parke-Keelogues-Crimlin, the 2016 junior champions Louisburgh, and Shrule Glencorrib.

The junior championship will be as competitive as ever this year in group one, Achill, Kilmovee who won the junior B crown last year, Ardagh, and Ballycastle will battle it out. Last season's beaten finalists Kilmaine are in group two alongside Ballintubber B, Killala, and Crossmolina B. Tourmakeady, who were relegated from the intermediate championship at the end of the last term, have been placed alongside Kilmeena, Cill Chomain, and Ballycroy, and the final group in the grade sees Balla, who have been close to making the breakthrough in the past few years, slug it out with Charlestown B, Knockmore B, and Ballina Stephenites B.

The first draw of the night was for the junior b championship and in group one the four teams will be Kiltimagh B, Shrule-Glencorrib B, Moy Davitts B, and Swinford B. Group two will consist of Ardnaree B, Breaffy B, last year's junior C champions Moygownagh, and Westport B. The third group at this grade is made up of Claremorris B, Eastern Gaels, Aghamore B, and Ballaghanderreen B, and the final group has thrown together Lacken, Davitts B, Hollymount-Carramore B, and Kilfian.

The draw for the junior C championship will take place at a later date and full details of all the fixtures across the four draws made on Wednesday night can be found at www.mayogaa.com

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