Starting gun fired on championship season

Mayo GAA Football Championship Round One

Wet and windy: Castlebar edged out Charlestown on Saturday evening. Photo: Charlestown GAA

Wet and windy: Castlebar edged out Charlestown on Saturday evening. Photo: Charlestown GAA

Bedroom windows, leaning over the hedge and some sort of homemade plinth to see over the fence were all used by those who couldn’t get into their chosen game this evening as the Mayo Senior Football Championship threw in for the 2020 season.

The weather might have been terrible around the county - but the competition wasn’t across the five games that took place on Saturday evening.

The result of the evening would have to go to The Neale who saw off local rivals Garrymore in their first ever senior championship game in Cong thanks to a late late Dylan Keane goal in injury time.

The victors will have enjoyed this win immensely - the only downside will be that with only 200 allowed into any of the games this weekend, there wasn’t more there to see it.

But in time - don’t be surprised if as many people claim they were there as say they were in the Top Hat in Dún Laoghaire in 1991 when Nirvana supported Sonic Youth on Wednesday night in August.

That win leaves The Neale level on two points with Ballaghaderreen in Group A after the first round of the games.

Last years beaten county finalists didn’t have it all their own way at home against Belmullet on Saturday night, with the north Mayo men leading the game by a point just after three quarters of an hour mark.

But three goals in the final ten minutes from Kuba Callaghan, Gavin Conway and Thomas Carmody put the seal on a good showing by the eastern side.

Ballaghaderreen looked the sharper and slicker of the teams right from the off and led 0-3 to 0-0 after a quarter-of-an-hour - but the game was levelled up on 18 minutes after the first of three penalties given in this game was converted by Shane Nallen.

Garry Boylan then tagged on a quick fire point to have Damien Mulligan’s men leading, before Andy Moran who was a real handful for Eoin O’Donoghue got in on the act.

Belmullet were then awarded a second penalty just before the break which was dispatched by Ryan O’Donoghue - the north Mayo men opting to shake up their spot-kick taker despite Nallen having made no mistake with his effort earlier.

The score sent Belmullet in leading 2-1 to 0-4 at the break and with it all to play for in the second half.

Ballaghaderreen reeled off four points on the spin in the opening 11 minutes of the second half with Callaghan, Gavin Conway, Cormac Doohan and David Drake all pointed as they started to take control of the game.

But Belmullet weren’t going away and points from Joni Donoghue and Cathal Barrett had the visitors back in front as the contest rounded the corner into its final quarter.

The hosts weren’t going to let it slip and they piled on the pressure and hit 3-2 in the closing ten minutes to seal their win and send them into newt weekends meeting with Garrymore on top of the table. While Belmullet will welcome the high flying men from the The Neale who’ll be making the long trek north.

Champions caught at the death

Ballintubber’s defence of the Moclair Cup didn’t get off to the winning start that most would have expected after they were hauled back late on by Aghamore in Clogher.

Ballintubber led by three points at the break on a score of 0-6 to 0-3, but both sides only managed to add on a single point each in the second half and Ciaran Harrison and James McNeice combined to get the goal five minutes before the end to bring the game level.

Both men saw a man each sent off with Ballintubber’s talisman Cillian O’Connor and David Kenny for Aghamore getting their marching orders.

The other game in that group also finished as a draw with Davitts and Moy Davitts finishing all square at nine points emac, with Davitts levelling the game up two minutes from time - having led the game 0-6 to 0-5 at the short whistle.

Next weekend Aghamore will host Davitts, while Ballintubber will be heading to the banks of the Moy to take on take on Moy Davitts.

Mitchels made work by Charlestown

Castlebar Mitchels got their challenge for the title off to a winning start in east Mayo, but they were pushed for long periods by a sticky Charlestown side.

The hosts went into an early lead through a point from the impressive Paul Towey, but the was cancelled out quickly by Paddy Durcan and from the restart Ethan Gibbons showed power, pace and composure to drive home a goal for the Mitchels.

Charlestown added on the next 1-3 of the contest with Towey landing two more points and Patrick Goldrick hitting 1-1 for Martin Mulvaney’s side.

Towey and Patrick Lenehan were causing Mitchels all kinds of problems in the opening quarter and Alan Flynn’s side also lost they ace attacker Neil Douglas who had to go off injured before ten minutes had gone on the stop watch and they had to play for ten minutes with John Lawless getting shown a black card.

The water break came at the wrong time for the hosts and the right time for the visitors who reeled off half a dozen points before the break with five of them coming from frees converted by Gibbons and the other from Callum Kyne.

Mitchels really got on top of the Chalrlestown kick-out in the second quarter and they drove at the heart of their opponents defence forcing them into fouls which Gibbons converted. Matthew Lenenhan did break that run of Mitchels scores with a point to which left his side trailing 1-7 to 1-5 at the break.

James Durcan pushed his team three clear inside a minute of the restart, but points from Goldrick and Towey kept their side well in touch. Donal Vaughan and David Stenson edged Mitchels three clear again with ten minutes to go - but Charlestown weren’t going down without a fight and a brace of points from Jack Reilly made it a one point game on 56 minutes.

However when the game was there to be won - Mitchels big players stepped up with Paddy Durcan pointing and his brother James adding on two more points in injury time to give their side a one point win.

Mitchels will host Breaffy next weekend, with Charlestown travelling to Westport.

Mayo GAA Results - Saturday, August 1

Connacht Gold Mayo SFC

Group 1

The Neale 1-09 Garrymore 0-11

Ballaghaderreen 3-11 Belmullet 2-4

Group 2

Davitts 0-9 Bohola Moy Davitts 0-9

Ballintubber 0-7 Aghamore 1-4

Group 4

Castlebar Mitchels 1-12 Charlestown Sarsfields 1-9

Egan Jewellers Mayo IFC

Group 3

Balla 2-8 Islandeady 0-11

Group 4

Ballinrobe 0-16 Lahardane 0-9

Crossmolina 0-10 Ballyhaunis 0-8

TF Royal Theatre Mayo JFC

Group 1

Ardagh 2-15 Kilmovee Shamrocks 0-7

Group 2

Kilmenna 2-18 Killala 2-8

Ballycroy 2-17 Lacken 1-3


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