After two rounds of action in the Mayo senior championship, it’s still all to play for, for most clubs heading into round three next weekend.
Last weekend's biggest talking point was Belmullet’s win over defending county champions Knockmore in Tallagh in group two.
Damien Mulligan’s men edged out Ray Dempsey’s charges 2-4 to 1-4 in a low scoring encounter which has thrown group two wide open going into the final round of games.
The only thing for certain heading into next weekend's games is that Aghamore will be in the relegation play-offs, following their 2-13 to 4-5 loss to Charlestown at home last Friday night and Belmullet’s win over Knockmore.
Two goals from Dathai Cosgrove in the first-half set up Belmullet for the win as they dug in to hold out their fellow north Mayo men. Ryan O’Donoghue got things moving for Belmullet with a long range point, before they hit the back of the net for the first time,
Cosgrove was the man to get a vital touch to send the ball home after an O’Donoghue effort dropped short. Peter Naughton netted from the penalty spot for Knockmore in the first half and pointed a free to put his side clear.
But that was it for them in the first half on the scoreboard, O’Donoghue added two more points from frees and Cosgrove netted again from close range after another effort dropped short and Belmullet led 2-3 to 1-2 at the break. The hosts added just one more point in the second half, but vitally the visitors were able to just add on two more scores themselves and Belmullet secured the win.
In the other game in that group, Charlestown left it late to see off the challenge from Aghamore on Friday night. Charlestown looked the most impressive side for long periods of the game and led by ten points at one stage before the half time whistle, but Aghamore hit them for 3-2 without reply with goals coming from Conor Byrne, Alan Freeman and Fergal Boland pushed hosts dramatically in front.
Before that Matthew Lenehan, Paul Towey, Gareth O’Donnell and Niall Murphy had been leading the way for Charlestown. After the surge from Aghamore Martin Mulvaney’s men dug in and despite going down to 14 men following the sending off of David Caffrey and scores from Jack Reilly and Towey saw them home on a score of 2-13 to 4-5.
Ballintubber continue good start as Ballina bounce back
In group one Ballintubber booked their place in the last eight picking up their second win from two games with a 2-15 to 2-8 win on the road against Davitts. Enda Gilvarry’s men’s goals either side of the break from Damien Coleman and Bryan Walsh proved key in their win - with the game having been level at 1-2 to 0-5 after 20 minutes with Jack Ronayne netting from a penalty for the south Mayo men. A second half burst where Ballintubber hit 1-6 inside ten minutes killed off the challenge from Davitts.
The other game in group two saw Ballina Stephenites get back to winning ways with an eight point win over Claremorris. The south Mayo men started very brightly and were 0-3 to 0-0 up early doors, but that was as good as it got for the south Mayo men.
Kevin Newell netted Ballina’s first goal seven minutes in and the Stephenites were up and running. Padraig O’Hora put the shackles on Conor Diskin in and impressive display, while Evan Regan chipped in with six points and Conor McStay with three - while Sean Regan got in for their second goal to seal the win. Ballina face Davitts in round three, while Claremorris have the tough task of trying to see off Ballintubber to keep their interest in the championship alive.
Westport win sets up winner takes all clash between Mitchels and Ballagh’
In what was a expected to be the game of the weekend, Westport showed their championship credentials to grind out a win against a stubborn Castlebar Mitchels in Saturday night in Josie Munnelly Park.
The homeside set up with a defensive formation, looking to lock down the Westport attack and hit them on the break. It was a tough and uncompromising encounter - but the fact that Mitchels went for the last 25 minutes without scoring, played a key part in their downfall. It was just 0-1 to 0-1 each at the first water break, but Mitchels pushed out into an two point lead thanks to scores from Neil Douglas and Paddy Durcan. But Westport hit back with Killian Kilkenny, Kevin Keane, Oisin McLoughlin along with Alan Kennedy hitting a couple of super scores from out on the left hand side helping Westport into the lead, before Paddy Heneghan had his say to level the game up again at the break with a brace of points.
The visitors pushed into an early three point lead in the second half with Kennedy (2 ) and Kevin Keane putting them three up. But Mitchels hit back with a 1-1 in quick succession, with Ultan O’Reilly getting their goal and a fabulous Paddy Durcan score. But that was as good as it got for Mitchels on the scoreboard, with Westport pulling them in and Lee Keegan’s inspirational equaliser sounding the call for their drive to victory, with Liam Tunney and Niall McManamon driving them on to victory.
Westport are into the last eight and Castlebar are now facing into a winner takes all clash with Ballaghaderreen for a spot in the quarter-finals, a draw will also do for Mitchels as they currently are ahead on scoring difference.
Ballaghaderreen bounced back from their loss to Westport last time out to narrowly overcome the challenge of last years intermediate champions Balla. The east Mayo men hit the ground running with 1-1 inside the opening three minutes from Andy Moran and were 1-6 to 0-1 in front at the first water break. It got worse for Balla when Darragh Kelly found the back of the net for the hosts second goal. But Balla came right back at them and Gary McHale who finished up with 1-6 to his name in a man-of-the-match display hit the back of the net. Balla tagged on points from Barry Duffy, Matthew Flanagan and points from McHale to go in trailing 2-6 to 1-5 at the break. The second half was tit for tat as both sides thundered into the game, but the vital score was Adam Phillips goal which proved vital when the final whistle was blown to give Ballaghaderreen a 3-10 to 1-15 win.
Garrymore and Breaffy book last eight spots
In group four we now know that both Garrymore and Breaffy will be in the last eight, what needs to be decided between the pair is who tops the group when they meet next weekend. Breaffy were pushed hard by Kiltane in Bangor Erris last Sunday afternoon, before they drove home the victory late on to run out 1-15 to 0-9 winners, with 1-5 coming off the bench for Martin McIntyre’s men with Colm Flynn getting 1-4 and Kevin Curry 0-1 to go with the three points kicked by Matthew Ruane and Conor O’Shea.
Kiltane have preformed well in this tough group and Ultan Corrigan got five points while Tommy Conroy and Mike Sweeney also got into on the act. They will face The Neale next weekend to see who finishes third and who ends up in the relegation play-offs. The Neale were turned over in their south Mayo derby by Garrymore last weekend in Cong. The visitors ended up 1-21 to 0-8 winners where Paul Deeley hit seven points, David Dolan three, Shane Nallen three and Mark Tierney 1-2 in and impressive win for Garrymore, who’ll head into their clash with Breaffy full of confidence.