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Ardnaree have had four weeks to drink in the fact that they had finally got back to the promised land of the intermediate championship for next year following their victory over Killala in the Mayo Junior Championship final on October 18. The withdrawal of the Leitrim representatives from the provincial competition gave Ardanree a free pass into Sunday's Connacht final. The form that Ardnaree have shown this year, you would have to assume that they would have booked that passage themselves with ease if they had to play a semi-final, but that is irrevelent and all that matters is the here and now and on Sunday, the Galway junior champions Clifden come calling to MacHale Park.
The crowds had well cleared out of the stand in Hyde Park and the TV crew were busy taking apart their rigging, but Castlebar Mitchels joint manager, Declan O’Reilly was still talking football well after his side had booked their place in the Connacht final in a fortnights time. O’Reilly was obviously pleased that his side had sealed their place in the showpiece club game in the provience, but he also admitted he knew there was plenty for his charges to work on over the next two weeks.
After the high of winning their second senior county title in three years, it was back to the mundane business of league football for Castlebar Mitchels last weekend. But they had a job to do and they did it in style hammering Crossmolina Deel Rovers and in the process picking up the senior league title to go with the championship they'd won the week before.
It was a good day for Galway club football last Sunday at Hyde Park with both Galway intermediate and junior champions, Maigh Cuilinn and Clifden, qualifying for their respective Connacht finals.
Whatever training sessions that Hollymount-Carramore put in over the next fortnight preparing for the Connacht Intermediate Football Championship Final against Moycullen, it’ll be nothing compared to the battle they came through on Sunday in MacHale Park.
There is a massive weekend of action for the Maigh Cuilinn hurling and football clubs this Saturday and Sunday, as both teams are in championship action in the space of twenty-four hours.
Sunday’s senior final between neighbours Breaffy and Castlebar is likely to be an enthralling affair and I cannot wait. It is bizarre that the junior, intermediate, and senior finals were/are all local derbies in 2015. There are some big hitters squaring up to each other on Sunday which will make it compelling viewing. Aidan O'Shea has bulldozed Breaffy and Mayo to victory in many games this year so of course the big talking point is what Castlebar will do to negate his effectiveness.
Since the last time that these two neighbours came together in the senior championship, Breaffy have won their two league meetings, a 2-13 to 0-7 win in 2014, and a 3-9 to 1-12 victory in the spring of this year. But it is the meeting before those two that was the last big one, with Mitchels claiming their 28th senior title on a rain soaked day back in 2013.
Encouraged by a battling display which earned a draw away to champions Dundalk, Tommy Dunne's Galway United travel to the Carlisle Grounds on Saturday (5.45pm) for another crucial clash with Bray Wanderers.
This one should be special, just as in the junior final that precedes it, the local rivalry between both sides will add something special to Sunday's intermediate final. Hollymount-Carramore and The Neale have crossed swords plenty of times down through the years, but never with this much at stake.