There is no shortage of action this weekend on the GAA scene in Mayo with the county senior championship, intermediate championship, and Minor A championship finals taking centre stage.
All eyes will be on the senior final on Sunday at 3.30pm, when north Mayo heavyweights Knockmore shape up to Charlestown who will be looking to finally pick up a county senior title for the first time since 2001 and break the losing sequence they have had in the last two years in the final.
The east Mayo men’s chances will have been boosted by the news that inspirational Knockmore attacker Aidan Kilcoyne will miss out on the final. The Mayo star who injured his collarbone in Mayo’s championship defeat to Meath, made a comeback in their semi-final win over Crossmolina, but a recurrence of that injury in training last week will see him sidelined for the final. Kilcoyne will join Damien Munnelly in the sick bay. Munnelly broke a bone in his arm in the semi-final and the loss of two such key forwards will hamper Knockmore’s chances on Sunday. The loss of both Kilcoyne and Munnelly will put even more attention on Kevin O’Neill who returned to his home club this season, and Charlestown will try to curb his influence at every opportunity. But Knockmore still have plenty of options of quality players with the likes of Trevor Howley, Declan Sweeney, Peter Clarke, and John Brogan to call on.
Charlestown won’t be thinking of the injuries to their opponents and will be looking to play their own game. Manager Ciaran McBrien will have his side well drilled and ready for action, knowing that another final defeat is something that his side would find very hard to stomach. Aidan Higgins who will probably pair up against Kevin O’Neill on Sunday will be looked to for inspirational leadership from the back, Higgins is as good as it gets in the club game in defence and his influence will be key. Tom Parsons will hope to find his form of last year which saw him become an international rules star in the midfield battle and his partnership with the veteran Ginger Tiernan, Charlestown, will be the springboard to their success on Sunday. Up front Richie Haran and Tony Mulligan will be the forwards expected to lead the line for the east Mayo men and if they find their groove it could be a long day for the Knockmore defence. As to who will win on Sunday we have got to go for Charlestown, taking into account the attacking loss to Knockmore that Munnelly and Kilcoyne will be, but the north Mayo men won’t give anything easily.
West Mayo derby in middle grade
Finally Belmullet’s never ending story hit the back page last weekend in the intermediate championship. The north Mayo men finally came up short against a tough Tourmakeady side in the semi-final in McHale Park. The two Gaeltacht sides engaged in what was far from a classic, but it was always going to be a tough slog and the men in white and black had the answers with Ciaran Walsh their main man scoring 1-1. Their prize for winning last weekend is a place in the final against the most fancied side in this grade in years, Westport. The Covies were fancied last year too, but came up short. This year they seem to have their house in order and are intent on making it back to senior football after a two year absence. Interestingly both sides should have played in the Kelly Cup final a few weeks ago, but Tourmakeady did not show for the game, keeping their cards close to their chest. Tourmakeady won this title a couple of years ago but came straight back down the next season and they will be keen to get back up, while the favourites’ tag will go to Martin Connelly’s men on Saturday evening. Jack Grimes’s side will make them work for it, and if it’s a tough tight battle as Tourmakeady would hope there will be nothing in it at the end and anything can happen.
Kiltimagh make the step back up
It was never going to be easy last weekend for Kiltimagh but they did enough in the second half to see off a determined Ardnaree team in the county junior final. Their two point win saw them come back from two behind at half time to see off the north Mayo challengers who were looking to celebrate their 60th birthday in style. Ciaran Charlton was the main man on the scoring front for the east Mayo side, landing five points, in not great conditions for football. It wasn’t the prettiest game but Kilti’ will care little as they look forward to intermediate football next year and a crack at going for senior promotion.
Carnacon look to follow Breaffy’s lead
Breaffy claimed their first ever Connacht ladies’ title last weekend when they disposed of St Michael’s from Sligo in the intermediate final at home last Sunday. The game which ran into 10 minutes of injury time was on a knife edge for the whole second half, but two goals for the girls in blue swung it their way to win out by a score of 2-12 to 1-13.
Carnacon will be looking to pick up the senior crown this weekend in Clogher, they face Corofin in the final on Sunday at 2pm. Ballyhaunis will start their Connacht Intermediate Hurling championship campaign against Four Roads, Roscommon, in Athleague on Sunday at 2pm. The east Mayo men met the south Roscommon side in the semi-final of the competition last year with Four Roads winning out after extra time and Ballyhaunis will be out for revenge at 2pm on Sunday.