The battle to escape up from the intermediate championship will be whittled down to eight sides after the weekend when the final round of group games conclude. In section one Belmullet and Kiltimagh occupy the top spot on three points each, and both sides will fancy their chances of making progress after the weekend’s action. Kiltimagh host bottom of the group Mayo Gaels, while Belmullet have a tougher task at home to Bonniconlon, who can leapfrog Belmullet into the knock-out stages with a win. However it is hard to look past the side who made it to the semi-final last year, especially with them having home advantage.
In section two Tourmakeady look to be on course for the last eight. Last year’s beaten finalists have two wins from two and will head to Hollymount on Saturday evening, confident they can take the points. The Hollymount men are in second place at the moment, but it looks as if Cill Chomain will overtake them if everything goes to form. The north Mayo side will host a pointless Crossmolina B on Saturday evening, and a win should be enough for them as long as Tourmakeady do their part, otherwise we could have a three team tie at the top.
In section three Burrishoole have been living up to their billing as title favourites with some very impressive displays under Colm McManamon. So far they have swatted aside both Ballyhaunis and Swinford, and should make it three out of three on Sunday. Standing in their way are local rivals Kilmeena, who will not make it easy for Burrishoole but ultimately should not have enough to stop them. The other game in the group pits pointless Swinford against Ballyhaunis. Things just have not clicked for Swinford in the championship and they looked doomed to a relegation play off, while Ballyhaunis picked themselves back up from an opening day beating from Burrishoole to beat Kilmeena in their next game. With a place in the last eight up for grabs, Ballyhaunis will not let this one slip away.
In section four, Kilmaine and Davitts, who meet each other on Sunday afternoon, are tied at the top on three points. A draw would be a great result for both sides, sending both through, but whoever loses still would have a great shout of making the last eight, because of the head to head system that will be used if two sides finish level on points. The other game in the group pits Achill and Killala against each other; for Achill to qualify they have to win well and hope Kilmaine beat Davitts. While for Killala to make the last eight they need Davitts to beat Kilmaine and themselves to win by more than 11 points. It could be a time for calculators on Sunday evening, but the top two should remain the same come the final whistles in both Kilmaine and Achill.