Once all the drama of the last day of the group stages of the Mayo club championships had been put to bed, only the third placed teams in the groups could rest on their laurels for the rest of the season, as the qualifiers into the last eight in of the various competitions and the bottom placed teams all waited to discover their fates.
Those fates were made a lot clearer a little after 9pm last Monday night in the TF Royal in Castlebar where the draw for the quarter-finals in the senior, intermediate, and junior relegation play-offs were made. Notebooks were scribbled on as each team was drawn out, while some relayed the draw live down the phone to waiting club members and the beep of text messages going in and out echoed through the air.
The senior draw pits the 2006 champions Crossmolina against the winners of the competition in 2008, Ballaghaderreen, as the stand-out tie of the round. Not that the other three quarter finals don’t have their own appeal. Ballintubber, who brought Ballaghaderreen to a replay at this stage of the competition last year, will face a tough task when they take on Knockmore in their last eight joust. Charlestown, who have lost the last two county finals, will look to take a step on the road to making it third time lucky when they face off against Kiltane, with Shrule Glencorrib who made it back into the last eight after a gap of a few years facing off against the urbanites from Castlebar.
The draw for the last four was also made ahead of the quarter final draw and the semi-final will see the winners of the Ballintubber and Knockmore game playing against the winners of the Crossmolina v Ballaghaderreen game. The second semi final will pitch the winners of Charlestown and Kiltane against the side who comes out of the meeting of Shrule Glencorrib and Castlebar. The quarter-finals have been marked in for Sunday September 27, all in Castlebar, and the semi-final provisionally down for October 4 or 11, with the county final on Sunday October 25.
The draw was also made for the relegation play-off in the senior championship, Burrishoole will face Moy Davitts, with Ballinrobe taking on Garrymore. The losers of those games will then play off against each other, with the loser of that dropping down to intermediate for next season.
Still places up for grabs in intermediate last eight
With six of the quarter-finalists already known in the intermediate championship, we are still waiting to see the outcome of section two where Belmullet, Swinford, and Davitts are involved in a three-way play-off for the top two places. Whoever finishes first in section two will face Tourmakeady, while the side who finish in second place in the group will take on Cill Chomain. The other two quarter-finals see the favourites Westport playing Mayo Gaels and last year’s beaten finalists Kilmaine squaring up against Achill. The semi-final will pair the winners of the Kilmaine and Achill game against the winners of the Westport and Mayo Gaels clash, with the other semi-final still having multiple pairings depending on results.
The relegation play-off sees Louisburgh and Hollymount face off with the losers playing the defeated side from the Crossmolina B and Hollymount clash, with whoever loses that game dropping out of the second tier of Mayo football and into the junior division.
Jostling in the junior sections
With the prize of a place in the intermediate championship up for grabs, the last eight of the junior championship promises to be an interesting battle. Castlebar B will go in as underdogs against a side who were in the intermediate final and almost playing senior football two years ago, Kiltimagh, in the first quarter-final. Also squaring off against each other in an all-west Mayo derby will be Parke and Islandeady if the latter can see off the challenge of Charlestown B in an outstanding tie. Crossmolina B will take on Ardnaree for the right to face Carramore in the last eight, while the final game sees last year’s beaten finalists, The Neale, getting ready to take on either Lahardane or Ballina B.
Mayo club championship draw
County Senior Football Championship relegation play-off
Burrishoole v Moy Davitts - to be fixed, Referee: Kevin Connelly in Crossmolina
Ballinrobe v Garrymore - to be fixed, Referee: Michael Daly in Hollymount
Burrishoole or Moy Davitts v Ballinrobe or Garrymore - to be fixed
County Senior Football Championship quarter-final (Sunday September 27 )
Ballintubber v Knockmore, Referee: Ronan Gurren in Castlebar
Charlestown v Kiltane, Referee: John Hughes in Ballina
Shrule-Glencorrib v Castlebar, Referee: Charlie Collins in Castlebar
Crossmolina v Ballaghaderreen, Referee: Dennis Harrington in Castlebar
County Intermediate Football Championship relegation play-off
Louisburgh v Hollymount - to be fixed, Referee: Malachy McCarron in Islandeady
Crossmolina B v Bonniconlon - to be fixed, Referee: Declan Corcoran in Ballina
County Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final (Saturday September 26 )
Swinford or Davitts v Tuar Mhic Éadaigh, Referee: Vincent Neary in Ballinrobe
Kilmaine v Achill on Saturday September 26, in Islandeady
Westport v Mayo Gaels, Referee: Liam Higgins in Ballintubber
Cill Chomáin v Swinford or Davitts or Béal an Mhuirthead, Referee: Mel Kenny in Ballina
County Junior Football Championship preliminary play-offs
Ballina Stephenites v Lahardane on Sun Sep 6, Referee: Richard Cosgrove in Crossmolina
Islandeady v Charlestown on Sep 19, Referee: Padraig Costello in Kiltimagh
Ardnaree v Crossmolina on Sep 6, Referee: Kevin Corcoran in Ballina
County Junior Football Championship quarter-final (Sunday September 27 )
Castlebar B v Kiltimagh, Referee: Martin Murphy in Claremorris
Crossmolina B or Ardnaree v Carramore, Referee: Ciaran Byrne in Charlestown
Parke v Islandeady or Charlestown, Referee: John Boyle in Breaffy
The Neale v Lahardane or Ballina B, Referee: Peter Geraghty in Kiltimagh