If you go by tradition alone then Kiltimagh will go into Sunday’s county junior final as hot favourites, but that won’t bother Ardnaree. If you follow that logic then Ardnaree have it all to gain and nothing to loose, but somehow you can’t imagine that they see that they have nothing to lose. The prize of a place in next year’s intermediate championship and the chance to winter the junior crown in their town is something that will make sure both sides leave everything on the field in McHale Park on Sunday.
Putting history aside both sides have had incredibly good years on the field so far, apart from their championship runs which has seen them both win six games to get this far with Kiltimagh scoring 6-70 on the way and Ardnaree 6-77. Both sides claimed their respective league titles with Kiltimagh claiming the Division 1C title and Ardnaree the Division 1D trophy to add some spice to the mix for Sunday on what already looks like a tantalising encounter. For Kiltimagh it’s their second trip to a county final inside the last three years, it has been some fall for the east Mayo men who were minutes away from beating Ballintubber in the intermediate final in 2007 to slip back down into the junior ranks. But their traditional lofty status will count for nothing on Sunday when they face a side who are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the reformation of the club, and are intent on making it a diamond anniversary to remember on their side of the Moy.
Both sides will be hoping that the right blend of youth and experience comes together on the day as they battle for the McDonnell Cup. Both sides boast a sprinkling of this year’s Mayo minor panel, with Michael Walsh and Michael McCormack in the Ardnaree panel and goalkeeper in that minor side Michael Schlingermann (who will probably play out the field ), Ciaran Charlton and Andrew Farrell all donning the blue of Kiltimagh. But it won’t be on youth alone either side will rely. Kiltimagh will be looking for big games from the likes of Johnny Murtagh, Tomas Morley and Sean Malee. While Ardnaree will hope Sean O’Donnell and James McHale can get a grasp of midfield while Ronan Doherty and John Walsh will be looked to in attack to provide the spark.
History will mean very little come Sunday at 2pm when Kevin Connelly throws in the ball and this one should go right down to the wire.
Ladies intermediate final this weekend
It was a case of two out of three for the ladies champions from Mayo last weekend, with Carnacon continuing their domination of the senior grade and Breaffy making it into the intermediate final at the first time of asking, while a valiant Westport side went down at the hands of the Leitrim champions. Carnacon saw off Aughawillian in their semi-final with Cora Staunton bagging an impressive personal haul of 2-11 as they set up a Connacht final with Corofin on Saturday week. Breaffy booked their place in Sunday’s intermediate final with a a hard fought win and strong second half performance to see off Clonbur away from home last weekend. Trailing by 1-6 0-1 at the break, the Breaffy girls rallied and goals from Tara McGurren and Sinead Murphy brought them back into the game before two more goals the last coming from Maria Walsh who then added a point saw them through 4-5 to 2-9. Their prize for the win is a Connacht final against St Michael’s from Sligo this Sunday at 4pm.
Charlestown make the final
Charlestown will be hoping to make it third time lucky in the county senior final after making it back to the club showpiece occasion for the third time in a row last weekend. The east Mayo men saw off an up and coming Castlebar side by 1-11 to 0-11 in McHale Park and set up a date with destiny against Knockmore. Colm Maye’s late penalty proved decisive in the game.
In the intermediate championship Tourmakeady finally know who they will face in the semi-final after Belmullet continued their own never ending story with a replay victory over Cill Chomain in Crossmolina. Whenever the season does end Belmullet will have earned the break, having played three play-off games against Davitts and then two games at the quarter final stage against Cill Chomain and now they’re out again this time against Tourmakeady in the semi-final at 4pm in McHale Park, what price the draw again?
Louisburgh, were hoping this season that they wouldn’t be ones for hanging around the intermediate grade for too long, well they won’t but instead of going back up they dropped straight down again to junior. Following on from their relegation from senior last year, they lost their intermediate relegation play-off against Bonniconlon by 0-17 to 1-6 and it could be a long way back for the seasiders.
Ballyhaunis claimed the Mayo senior hurling championship last weekend with a 2-9 to 1-7 over Tooreen in Tooreen, next up for the east Mayo men is Roscommon champions Four Roads in the Connacht intermediate championship semi-final.