Sunday showdowns for final spots

GAA: Mayo GAA IFC Semi Finals

Northern Star: Chris Barrett will be hoping to lead his Belmullet team to the county intermediate final. Photo: Sportsfile

Northern Star: Chris Barrett will be hoping to lead his Belmullet team to the county intermediate final. Photo: Sportsfile

And then there were four. Sunday afternoon will see the final four teams left in the Mayo GAA Intermediate Championship battle it out for a spot in the final of this year's competition in an exciting double header in MacHale Park.

The action will throw in with the meeting of Burrishoole and The Neale at 1pm and will be followed up by the clash of Belmullet and Kiltimagh at 2.30pm.

West and south collide in opener

Burrishoole v The Neale

Sunday, October 7 at 1pm

In MacHale Park

It has been 26 years since Burrishoole last claimed the Mayo intermediate title and they have had a few near misses since then. They are back again this year in the final four, with club legend, Colm McManamon, once again pulling the strings for them on the sideline as they look to make it back to the final for the first time in eight years.

The McGovern Park outfit got the better of Ballinrobe easily enough, or so it looked like on the scoreboard at the the end of their quarter-final tie, but the south Mayo men could have made it much tougher of a contest if they had taken a few more of the chances they missed in that one.

Prior to that game they topped their group with three wins from three, seeing off Swinford, Islandeady and Bonniconlon impressively and racking up 4-41 over those three games. They also sit on top of division three in the league at the minute, with eight wins from their ten games to date.

Along with the experience of McManamon on the sideline, they also have one major advantage in the shape of Mayo star Jason Doherty in their attack, but they have a strong supporting cast with the likes of David Hanley, Alan Ryder, Liam O'Malley, Fintan McManamon and Padraic McManamon.

The Neale are going to be no pushovers though - the south Mayo men battled it out against a hardened Parke side in the last eight a fortnight ago, to book their place at this stage of the competition.

Since winning the junior title six years ago, they have acquitted themselves quite well at this level - bar one relegation scare last season. So far in this year's championship they have won three of their four games, seeing off Ballinrobe and Ardnaree in the group stages and drawing with Castlebar Mitchels - along with their win over Parke in the quarter-finals.

The south Mayo outfit will be looking to the likes of Tommy Conroy, who impressed with the Mayo u20s this year to be a livewire in attack, while they will also need big games from Padraic Walsh, Aidan O'Sullivan and Stephen Conroy. They were able to call on super-sub Seáine Cosgrove to come off the bench and chip in with three points in their last outing and that kind of impact could be vital on Sunday.

Familiar faces collide again

Belmullet v Kiltimagh

Sunday, October 7 at 2.30pm

In MacHale Park

When these two sides met in their final group game, Kiltimagh were able to afford a slip-up and still make it through to the knock-out stages. There is no such second chance for the east Mayo men this time around.

They have been beaten in the last two intermediate finals, going down to Westport and Bohola Moy Davitts respectively and they badly want to get back to the final to make it third time lucky.

Pa McNicholas' men - bar that loss to Belmullet - have been having an excellent year, mixing it with the big boys in the league in division one, so that they finished up in a fantastic fifth place, picking up six wins, including taking the scalps of Breaffy and Claremorris and holding Castlebar Mitchels to a draw along the way.

In the last eight, Kiltimagh went about their business well in seeing off a tough Louisburgh challenge with Eoin Lavin kicking five points - three of them when it really mattered. Lavin, along with the likes of TJ Byrne, Cillian Finn, Ronan Malee and Sean Forkan, will have to be on the top of their game to get their side back to the final for a third year in a row.

There was no such problems for Belmullet in their quarter-final, as they swatted away the challenge of Swinford with ease, seeing them off 5-16 to 1-5. Damien Mulligan's men will have no fear of their opponents, having already seen them off this year in the championship.

The north Mayo men have plenty of quality players in their line-up, such as their senior inter-county duo Chris Barrett and Eoin O'Donoghue, Mayo u20 captin Ryan O'Donoghue as well as Shane Nallen, Johnny O'Donoghue and James Kelly.

In the league this year they have been very competitive in division, two winning seven of their 11 games and finishing in fourth place, just two points off second-placed Ballaghaderreen.

This one promises to go right down to the wire and will be a game not to be missed this weekend.

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