Mayo will start their All Ireland qualifiers adventure in Pearse Park, Longford, next Saturday evening when they take on Glenn Ryan’s midlands men in the first round of the backdoor system. While the trip to Longford will be far from easy it could have been a lot worse with the likes of Armagh, Donegal, and Derry all in the pot with Mayo. Longford will be no easy pushovers for Mayo all the same, last season they ran the current All Ireland champions Kerry to four points in the same venue, keeping Kerry scoreless for the majority of the second half that day. Mayo will make the trip to Longford even though they were drawn out of the hat first last Sunday evening. GAA Central Council made a ruling that teams who played away in the first round of the qualifiers would play at home in the first round this year, even if they were the second team out of the hat. The Mayo County Board is sure to be disappointed with the fact that the newly renovated McHale Park has so far failed to host a championship match in 2010.
John O’Mahony was handed good news last weekend with his squad coming through the club championship in good health. Both Trevor Howley and Alan Dillon, who missed the Sligo game, were able to line out for Knockmore and Ballintubber respectively, while Aidan Kilcoyne was able to come on as a sub for Knockmore in their victory over Ballina.
All still up for grabs in the club championship
Last weekend’s first round proper of the Mayo Royal Theatre Senior and Intermediate football championship threw up a number of shocks that will keep each group interesting over the next two rounds of games. The big shock of the weekend was Ballinrobe’s destruction of Ballaghaderreen to one of the sides many would have fancied to make a cut at the title this year, having won it only two years ago. At the same time as south Mayo was triumphing over east, the west Mayo divisional side were more than likely putting an end to last year’s quarter finalists’ interests in the latter stages with a 0-13 to 0-10 win over Kiltaine. The big south Mayo derby saw Garrymore hand out a hiding to Claremorris on a scoreline of 2-9 to 0-4. Crossmolina who have been flying in the league were held to a draw by a battling Ballintubber side who could have a major say on the destination of the Moclair Cup at the end of the season. Castlebar Mitchels dug deep to see off Shrule-Glenncorrib in a petulant encounter in the county town. In the big north Mayo derby Knockmore put home advantage to good use to see off Ballina by two points, while Breaffy staged a late, late, show to steal the points at the death against Westport in a rain sodden encounter.
In the intermediate championship Belmullet and Kiltimagh played out a thriller, with the junior champions staging a great comeback in the second half in a game that saw two players sent off, three penalties, and a comeback from nine points behind. Burrishoole also laid down a maker with a nine point win over Ballyhaunis in Newport, while there were also good wins for Tourmakeady, Cill Chomain, Kilmeena, and Davitts in the opening round of the competition.