This weekend sees the opening round of the Mayo GAA Junior Football Championship taking place and the battle to follow in Balla's footsteps getting underway.
In group one, Kilmeena who were beaten at the semi-final stage last year, will travel to Ballycroy on Saturday evening. The west Mayo men are plying their trade in division three and while they have lost both of their two league games to date - they will still be expected to see off their hosts, who are playing league football in division 5A. The other game is the meeting of two sides, Ballina Stephenities B and Kilmovee, who are both playing out of division four in the league. Kilmovee have won two from three, while Ballina have lost two from two in the league.
There is only one game going ahead in group two this weekend and it's an all West Mayo meeting of Achill and Westport B. The islanders reached the final last year, but so far things have not been going that good for them this season, having lost all of their three games in division three to date. Losing to Castlebar B last weekend will be disappointing, while losses to intermediate championship sides, Parke and Swinford, would not have been unexpected. Westport B are playing in a division below their hosts and have won two from three and will fancy their chances of taking a scalp here.
In group three, Castlebar Mitchels B will host Ballycastle on Sunday lunchtime - the county town second string were playing intermediate football last year, but ended up getting relegated down to junior for this term. They are playing in a league division ahead of their opponents on Sunday and would be expecting to take the points, but the north Mayo men will be no pushovers. The other game is the meeting of Cill Chomain and Charlestown B on Sunday at 3pm. The visitors will be looking to have a serious cut at this championship and will be hoping to carry in their good league form where they have won two from three in division four and head home with the points.
Tourmakeady will host Kilmaine in the first game in group four, the south Mayo men will have been very disappointed with how last year's championship turned out for them and looking to make amends this year. They are the highest ranked team in league terms in the championship playing in division two and, so far in that competition, they beat Islandeady and lost to senior outfit Kiltane. Tourmakeady are labouring in division four and have just seen off Knockmore B to date and lost to Ballintubber B and Kilmovee. The final game is the meeting of last year's beaten semi-finalists, Killala and Ballintubber B. Both sides are playing in division four in the league and Killala are still looking to pick up a win, while Ballintubber have one win under their belt coming last weekend against Tourmakeady.
Mayo GAA JFC Round One
Ballycroy v Kilmeena, Saturday, April 20 at 6pm
Ballina Stephenites v Kilmovee, Sunday, April 21 at 3pm
Achill v Westport, Sunday, April 21 at 3pm
Castlebar Mitchels v Ballycastle, Sunday, April 21 at 1pm
Charlestown v Cill Chomain, Sunday, April 21 at 3pm
Tourmakeady v Kilmaine, Saturday, April 20 at 6pm
Killala v Ballintubber, Sunday April 21 at 1pm