Final fours decided in league race

GAA: Mayo Senior League

Into the semi-finals: Castlebar Mitchels Paddy Durcan and Knockmore's Kevin McLoughlin were key men in their sides progress to the semi-finals of the Mayo GAA Senior League Division 1 last weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Into the semi-finals: Castlebar Mitchels Paddy Durcan and Knockmore's Kevin McLoughlin were key men in their sides progress to the semi-finals of the Mayo GAA Senior League Division 1 last weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Last weekend saw the quarter-finals in the top divisions of the Mayo Senior League take place as the sides limbered up for the championship race coming into view in a few weeks.

Last year's senior championship winners Knockmore booked their place in the final four in division one with a two-point win over Breaffy in a low scoring encounter last Friday night.

Ray Dempsey's men edged out their hosts by 0-9 to 0-7, kicking late on in the game to get over the line in what was a tight defensive affair, but littered with a number of wides from both sides that will need to be converted come championship time.

Peter Naughaton kicked five points over the hour for Knockmore, but just one of them came from play, while Aiden Orme chipped in with two and both Kevin McLoughlin and Charlie Bourke landed a point each during the game for Knockmore. For Breaffy, Conor O'Shea got three points from play with with Tommy O'Reilly getting two, one from play and both Rory Martyn and Colm Flynn getting one each.

Neither side were going at full tilt in this one and were both missing a number of key players yet who will be expected to be involved come championship time, but when the game was levelled up late on and Knockmore were down to 14 players for the concluding minutes after Kevin McLoughlin was shown a black-card - the north Mayo men were able to see off the Breaffy pressure and late scores from Naughton and Bourke saw them home and into the semi-final.

On Sunday lunch time, Castlebar Mitchels continued their upward trajectory with a six-point win over a sticky Aghamore side in Josie Munnelly Park. Paddy Durcan's late goal when he finished off a flowing move saw Mitchels home to victory. They started the day by rattling the back of the net right from the off, when Conor Stenson was on the end of a smart move to get things going.

For the rest of the game, both sides went tit-for-tat for long periods as both adopted defensive postures and looked to hit the other on the break. Both Anthony O'Boyle and James Drucan got two points from play each, with David Stenson getting three from frees for Barry Moran's side.

For Aghamore, Conor Byrne impressed kicking four points with Darren Duffy getting three and Ross Egan, Tom O'Flaherty and Sean Óg Tight all chipping in with a point each. The east Mayo men needed to get a goal themselves in this game to really get back into it, but Mitchels back line were never in real danger of letting them in for a chance and were able to shut them down all day.

On Saturday evening extra time was needed to separate Garrymore and Westport in south Mayo with the hosts emerging winners on a score of 0-15 to 1-11 when all was said and done.

The Covies were dominating the game for the most part and will feel they should have been further in front that they were, when a late Garrymore rally saw them pull level and send the game into an additional 20 minutes of action, thanks to a late injury time free from Michéal Connolly.

The sides were level at five points each at the half time break, after Garrymore had got off to a flying start going 0-3 to 0-0 up early on, but Westport grew into the game and took over large tracts of play and by the midway point in the second half were 0-9 to 0-6 up.

Connolly was the hero in extra time kicking two frees along with a point from Brendan Walsh to win for Garrymore, who will be happy to get the win and other game under their belts this weekend before the championship starts.

Conal Dawson hit 1-2 for a Westport side who were short of the services of a number of key players still at this stage of the season, while Pat Lambert hit four points over the course of the contest. While they will be disappointed to lose out like the did, it is going to be all about championship for this Westport side this year.

The other quarter-final which was down for decision did not take place with Ballinrobe conceding their scheduled game against Ballina Stephenites last weekend, sending the north Mayo men straight into the final four.

In the division two quarter-finals last year's beaten senior championship finalists Belmullet had a three point win over the The Neale in Tallagh last weekend. Ronan Murphy kicked four points for Liam McHale's side with Padraic Cowman chipping in with three points and Evan Ivers two over the hour in their 0-13 to 0-10 win.

Parke-Keelogues-Crimlin booked their spot in the final four with an impressive 2-12 to 2-6 win over Bohola Moy Davitts at home last weekend. Ronan Clarke hit 1-5 for the winners with Jack McLoughlin getting in for 1-1 and Sean Corcoran getting three points also.

Davitts got the better of Ballyhaunis by four points in Davitt Park in their clash in the last eight of Division 2 on a score of 0-12 to 0-8. Jack Ronayne hit four points and Niall Tracey registered three in the win for the south Mayo men against last year's beaten intermediate championship finalists.

Darren Coen was the main man when it came to scoring for Hollymount-Carramore in their win over Balla on the road in the final Division 2 quarter final last weekend. The sharp-shooting forward hit eight points, five from frees while Dylan Morris chipped in with four points for the South Mayo men to book their spot in this weekends semi-finals.

In the Division 3 quarter-finals Ardagh saw off Tourmakeady 3-14 to 0-11, Bonniconlon had three points to spare over Swinford, Castlebar Mitchels were 2-10 to 0-12 winners on the road against Shurle-Glencorrib and Killala saw off Eastern Gaels 2-12 to 0-13 at home.

The Division 4 last eight games that took place last week there were wins from Breaffy on the road against Crossmolina Deel Rovers where they ran out 5-10 to 1-13 winners and Charlestown were 2-14 to 0-10 winners against Parke-Keelogues-Crimlin.


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