Still all to play for after round two of senior championship

GAA: Casey's Call

Passing it off: Garrymore's Trevor Nally passes the ball against Charlestown last weekend. Photo: Mayo GAA

Passing it off: Garrymore's Trevor Nally passes the ball against Charlestown last weekend. Photo: Mayo GAA

Round two of the Mayo senior championship certainly threw up a few surprises, some shock results and some brilliant team and individual displays across all four groups.

As it stands going into round three only Castlebar Mitchels are technically guaranteed a quarter final spot, although Breaffy and Westport are more than certain to join them in the quarter finals no matter how their round three games go because of their superior scoring difference.

It would basically require a quadruple miracle for them not to make it, especially in Westport’s case as they have an impressive + 37 scoring difference while Breaffy's is at +16. Ultimately after round two it leaves us with the prospect of a mouthwatering round three weekend where most of the teams have something to play for, be it for making the quarter finals or avoiding a relegation play off.

Westport’s impressive 2-11 to 0-9 points victory over Ballintubber certainly makes them look like the most likely winners of this year's Moclair cup right now, although there is a lot of football to be played yet. The dilemma for any team facing Martin Connolly's team is where do you start in coming up with a game plan to try to beat them.

It's not like they have just one or two stars who will win you matches because they are armoured with an array of senior inter county talent all over the field. Mayo Gaels after their victory over a depleted Neale outfit now have that unenviable task of trying to beat Westport in their final group game to keep their championship credentials alive. Ballintubber know a round three win over The Neale will secure them second spot in group one.

Group two is a proper minefield with all four teams still in with a chance of making the quarter finals. Ballina's impressive 3-09 to 0-11 win against county champions Knockmore last weekend still doesn’t guarantee them a place in the last eight.

They will face a confident Aghamore in a potentially winner goes through contest after Aghamore impressively defeated Ballaghadeereen by 3-14 to 2-08 in the other group two game last weekend. Ray Dempsey knows full well anything other than a victory for Knockmore against Ballaghadeereen in the final round it could the end of their reign as county champions.

A Ballina victory over Aghamore and a win for Ballagh' in round three would see Paul McHugh's team advance to the quarter final along with Ballina at the expense of Aghamore and Knockmore. You won't be able to keep your eyes or ears off the ongoings in these games. It really is a minefield where anything could happen.

Claremorris have certainly put the cat among the pigeons in group three by defeating last year's county finalists Belmullet in Tallagh by 0-13 to 1-08 in round two. That result means that Belmullet could be gone from the championship unless they beat an in-form Breaffy, but at the same time they will also need a big favour from Balla who will need to defeat Claremorris in the final group game for Belmullet to progress. Neither of those outcomes look likely which will put Liam McHale's team out of the championship. Ryan O'Donoghue's absence is proving too big a loss for Belmullet to handle. He was the main reason they got to last year's county final.

Group four is up in the air as well after two very keenly contested games in round two. Charlestown and Garrymore played out a proper belter last weekend, eventually finishing level at 1-14 to 0-17. Garrymore will be wondering how they let a 0-6 to 0-00 first half lead slip, Charlestown amazingly going in at the break two points in front at 1-7 to 0-08. Darren Quinn and Aaron Hughes were certainly on fire for Garrymore, but in Paul Towey Charlestown certainly had the player of the weekend as he tormented what is normally a teak tough Garrymore defence. Towey scored 0-10, five frees and five from play. His three points from play in the second half were exquisite, Roy of the Rovers style efforts. The onlooking Mayo manager Kevin McStay can only have been impressed.

That draw, and Castlebar's narrow win over Davitts, mean Charlestown have to beat Davitts in round three and hope Castlebar who are already through beat Garrymore with a 10 points swing difference required for Charlestown to progress as Garrymore are on +9 and Charlestown are on -1 after the first two rounds. It's important to know that if three teams finish on the same points in their groups, scoring difference comes into play. If two teams are on the same points the head to head between those two teams is the deciding factor.

 

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