Six of the last eight confirmed after first two days of action in senior championship

GAA: Mayo GAA Senior Football Championship

Ready to go: Charlestown captain Gerard McLoughlin and Knockmore captain David McHale with referee John Glavey ahead of throw-in on Saturday. Photo: Mayo GAA

Ready to go: Charlestown captain Gerard McLoughlin and Knockmore captain David McHale with referee John Glavey ahead of throw-in on Saturday. Photo: Mayo GAA

Five of the eight games to be played this weekend in the Mayo GAA Senior Football Championship have been completed since Friday night. We know know six of the eight quarter-finalists for the competition.

The group winner from groups two, three and four are Westport, Belmullet and Garrymore, with the second seeds from those respective groups Castlebar Mitchels, Knockmore and Breaffy - the latter pair of the last trio met in last years county final.

The final group is down for decision today in group one with Ballintubber facing Claremorris in Hollymount and Davitt taking on Ballina in Charlestown, with both games throwing in at 4pm. Ballintubber are currently top of the standing with four points from two games, with Claremorris and Ballina both on two points and Davitt on zero, but all sides can still make it to the last eight if things fall their way.

Mitchels edge into the last eight

Castlebar Mitchels ensured they didn’t miss out on the quarter-finals for the second year in a row after they pipped Ballaghaderreen on scoring difference following a draw between the two sides in Aghamore on Friday night. Alan Flynn’s side raced into an early 0-5 to 0-0 lead after seven minutes and looked well on their way to victory, with James Durcan, Ultan O’Reilly, Gavan Durcan, Danny Kirby and Eoghan O’Reilly all raising the white flag. Kuba Callaghan got Ballagh’s first score of the evening to cut the gap back to four, before O’Reilly and a Cormac Doohan brace for the east Mayo men left the score 0-6 to 0-3 at the water break. Ballagh’ outscored Mitchels 0-3 to 0-1 in the second quarter with Calllaghan kicking two pointed frees and Andy Moran adding one while James Durcan popped over a mark for Mitchels.

Anthony O’Boyle put Castlebar two clear again early doors in the second half with a well taken point - but on 39 minutes Ballaghaderren hit the front for the first time when Sharoize Akram rattle the back of here net after a ball in from Andy Moran was broken down by Darragh Kelly and Akram made no mistake. Neil Douglas levelled the game up from distance four minutes later, before Thomas Carmody nudged Ballagh’ in front again - but it was the county town men who went in leading at the second water break thanks to points from Paddy Heneghan and O’Boyle, leaving the score 0-11 to 1-7 in their favour.

Mitchels had a great goal chance themselves just after the resumption but Gavin Conway pulled off a fine save from Heneghan to send the ball out for a 45. Kallaghan and Moran pointed to send Ballagh’ back into the lead with 58 minutes one on the clock as the tension began to ratchet up. Ger McDonnnagh levelled for Mitchels from a long way out and Ballaghaderren looked like they had done enough after brace of Callaghan points, but Mitchels weren’t going to bend the knee easily and they rallied strongly down the home stretch with James Durcan and O’Boyle both kicking points to leave the game all square at 0-14 to 1-11.

Ballagh’ pushed hard in injury time and they had a great chance to win it, but Akram miscued his effort form close range wide and Mitchels got the point they needed to follow group winners Westport into the last eight.

Westport laid down another serious marker of intent on Saturday afternoon in Tourmakeady when the saw off fellow West Mayo men Balla 3-16 to 0-4. Martin Calvey and Martin Connolly’s side cut loos against a Balla team who were already heading for the relegation play-offs and lead 1-9 to 0-0 at the break, and added on 2-7 more in the second half. Westport head into the last eight as group winners and team nobody will want to face, in this current form.

Knockmore show they mean business

After being caught up in the surprise result of round two, Knockmore allayed any fears that they might be on the slide, with a powerful performance against Charlestown in Breaffy on Saturday afternoon. Ray Dempsey’s men hit the front early on finding the back of the Charlestown net twice inside the opening two minutes and never took their foot off the gas all day long.

Darren McHale drove the ball home from close range inside the opening minute and Conor Flynn’s floating effort was missed by everyone and nestled in the back of the net a few seconds later and from then on there was only going to be one winner. T

hey led 2-4 to 0-2 at the water break with points from from a brace of Aidan Orme efforts and scores from Peter Naughton and Pearse Ruttledge, with two Paul Towey frees keeping Charlstown in touch somewhat. The next goal in the game was going to be crucial, if Charlestown got it, that would have brought them right back into he game - but it went to the defending county champions on 27 minutes when Peter Naughton hammered the ball home and send his side leading 3-6 to 0-6 at the break.

It was more of the same in the second half, with Knockmore ruthlessly expoing Charlestown’s defensive on the break, two late goals from Paddy Lenehan and Matthew Lenehan put some gloss on the scoreboard, but it was one way traffic all day and Knockmore will be ready to roll in the quarter-finals come next weekend. The other game in the group saw Belmullet come from behind to pick up a single point win over Aghamore and book their place in the last eight as group winners. The edged out the east Mayo men 1-9 to 1-8 in Ballina with Ryan O’Donoghue kicking a late free to win the game and send them through as table toppers.

They had to show great fortitude coming back from going 0-5 to 0-0 down after 21 minutes and then again after levelling the game up at 0-8 each with 21 minutes gone in the second half, Aghamore hit the back of the net - but Marty Boylan struck back with a goal almost instantly - but O’Donoghue held his nerve to kick his sixth point of the day a minute into injury time to seal the win from a free.

Garrymore top group after draw with Breaffy

In group four the meeting of Garrymore and Breaffy in the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence on Saturday night was all about who would top the group and it was the south Mayo men who did so after a 2-9 to 2-9 draw.

Garrymore hit the front early on leafing 1-3 to 0-2 at the first water break with Enda Hession finding the back of the net along with points from Gary Golden, Paul Deeley and Liam Og Horkan - with Breaffy’s scores coming from Tommy O’Reilly and Colm Flynn. Breaffy got more into he game in the second quarter and reeled off three points though a brace of Flynn efforts and one from Paul McDermott, while David Dolan got one for Garrymore to send his side in leading 1-4 to 0-5 at the break. Breaffy made a number of changes at half-time and they continued their upwards trajectory with Oisin Tunney, McDermott and Aidan O’Shea all kicking points before McDermott rattled the back of Brian Lynskey’s net to put his side 1-8 to 1-4 up, but points from Mark Tierney and Enda Varley - their sides first scores for 25 minutes cut the gap to two at the second water break - deservedly so. Tierney put just one between the sides on 50 minutes and from the resulting kick-out Breaffy failed to clear their lines properly and the ball fell to Vaely who found the net and put his side 2-7 to 1-8 up. Tierney and Shane Nally tagged on two more points in quick succession and the south Mayo men were four up and looking good for the win. Conor Beirne cut the gap to three and in the dying stages of injury time Robert Fadden got his paw to the ball to force it over the line and level it up at the death. Both sides maintained their unbeaten records in the group, but Garrymore go through as table toppers on scoring difference.

Mayo GAA SFC Results 

Group Two

Balla 0-4 Westport 3-16

Ballaghderreen 1-11 Castlebar Mitchels 0-14

Group Three

Knockmore 3-15 Charlestown 2-10

Belmullet 1-9 Aghamore 1-8

Group Four

Breaffy 2-9 Garrymore 2-9


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