It went right down to the wire in Group One of the Mayo GAA Senior Football Championship, with The Neale edging out Belmullet on scoring difference of a single point to claim a place in the last eight of the competition.
Both sides finished level on three points each on the table after three rounds of games, but it was the South Mayo men who progressed with a scoring difference of -6 compared to the -7 of Belmullet.
Just after 5pm it looked like Belmullet had done enough as they were beating Garrymore by six points and Ballaghaderreen were doing their part and holding a nine point lead over The Neale, but the south Mayo men dug in and at the full time whistle they they cut that gap back to seven points losing 3-12 to 1-11 and that was enough to see them through - despite Belmullet’s 2-6 to 1-6 win over Garrymore, with Garrymore’s late goal proving decisive, that result also sent sent Garrymore into the relegation play-offs.
The other game in the senior championship took place in Knockmore in Group Three where Kiltane ensured that they are staying in the senior championship for another year beating Claremorris 3-11 to 1-13 and send the south Mayo men into the relegation play-offs.
In the Intermediate Championship the main focus was on Group One, where Kiltimagh faced down Bonniconlon in Ballina - with the latter already assured of their place in the last eight before throw in.
The east Mayo men knew that they had to win to make the knockout stages with Louisburgh breathing down their necks in the race for the last eight.
Kiltimagh started like men who weren’t going to let this one slip and led 1-7 to 0-0 at the first water break with their goal coming from Brian Gallagher inside the opening two minutes. But as we have seen before the water break can halt a sides momentum and that certainly happened in this game with Bonniconlon winning the second quarter 1-3 to 0-1 with Aodhain Harrington getting the north Mayo sides goal.
Bonniconlon did get the game back to just three points early in the second half but Cillian Finn’s fortunate goal early in the second half put Kiltimagh that bit in front that they never really surrendered despite David Walsh’s fine goal for Bonniclon and David Lydon’s late goal put the icing on the cake for the men from Gilmartin Park. In the other game in Group One Louisburgh thad four points to spare over Swinford on scoreline of 1-16 to 1-12 to secure third place in the group and send the East Mayo men into the relegation play-offs.
In group two Mayo Gaels made it three wins from three beating Burrishoole 3-14 to 0-12 in Castlebar, that win saw them top the group and consign Burrishoole who made the semi-finals last year to relegation play-offs. Joining Mayo Gaels in the last eight are Ardnaree with the north Mayo men eliminating Castlebar Mitchels B in a winner takes all game in Foxford on a score of 3-8 to 2-9.
Group three had been wrapped up on Saturday with Hollymount-Carramore and Balla heading into the next round and Islandeady in the relegation play-offs as was one of the issues in group four where Lahardane’s late, late winning goal saw them condemn last years beaten finalists Ballyhaunis to the relegation play-offs.
The one thing left for decision in Group Four on Sunday was who would top the table and get the seeded draw in the last eight and that honour went to Ballinrobe with the south Mayo men seeing off Crossmolina Deel Rovers by a single point on a score of 1-13 to 1-12 in Parke.
Sunday, August 23 Results
Mayo GAA Senior Football Championship
Ballaghaderreen 3-12 The Neale 1-11
Belmullet 2-6 Garrymore 1-6
Kiltane 3-11 Claremorris 1-13
Mayo Intermediate Football Championship
Louisburgh 1-16 Swinford 1-12
Kiltimagh 3-12 Bonniconlon 2-8
Mayo Gaels 3-14 Burrishoole 0-12
Ardnaree 3-8 Castlebar Mitchels B 2-9
Crossmolina Deel Rovers 1-12 Ballinrobe 1-13