All on the line in junior semi-finals

GAA: Mayo GAA Junior Football Championship Semi-Final

Photo: Sportsfile

Photo: Sportsfile

Two of the final four in this year's junior championship are heading into the semi-finals off the back of just a week's break, following the need for play-offs to sort out one of the groups in the round robin stage of the competition - and will be facing each other on Sunday afternoon.

Both Cill Chomain and Shrule-Glencorrib booked their spots in the semi-finals with wins over Ardagh and Achill, respectively, last weekend.

The north Mayo men had three points to spare over Ardagh with ace attacker Justin Healy hitting 1-2 including the all-important goal in a 1-9 to 0-9 win in Knockmore, while Evan Cawley chipped in with half-a-dozen points for Shrule-Glencorrib in their 1-20 to 1-7 win over Achill.

You'd do well to find two clubs who are further away from each other distance-wise than Cill Chomain and Shrule-Glencorrib, but there will be very little you'd think between them on the scoreboard come full time. The men from north Mayo will need for Healy to be on form, alongside the likes of Eoghan McGrath, while John F Coyle, Seamus Mason and Declan Murphy will also need to hit the ground running. For the southern border men, Cawley, Eoin Hennelly, Conor Mohan and Nathan McGee will all be big players if they are to get over the line. There will be little between them, but the north Mayo men might just edge it - but it'll be close.

The second semi-final will see both Kilmeena and Islandeady make the short trip to McGovern Park in Newport for a meeting between what many would think are the two best sides in the grade. Islandeady, who were relegated down from intermediate last year, have made a very good fist at breaking back out of junior at the first attempt.

Declan Conway's side will look for the likes of the experienced Peter Collins, Darragh Joyce, Danny McGowan, Brendan Gibbons and Seamie Lally to lead the way for them against Kilmeena. As for the coastal challengers, they've been knocking around at this stage of the championship for a few years and will feel this is their time to make the breakthrough. Jack Carney has got lots of grounding and work done with his time involved with Mayo this year and will need to be a big influence for them - but he'll be ably supported by Keith Joyce and Darragh Keaveny in attack, while at the back, John Ryan and Conor Madden will need to be on their toes to keep the Islandeady attack at bay.

This has all the makings of an epic encounter in McGovern Park - while Islandeady have bounced back really well after last year's set-back, Kilmeena look to have been building to get out of this grade for a while now and it might just see them over the line.

 

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