Old heads come through in the championship

Royal Theatre Club Championship

Following the penultimate weekend of action in the group stages of the Royal Theatre senior football championship seven of the eight quarter finalists have emerged. On Saturday evening, Ballina and Knockmore booked their places in the last eight draw. Knockmore topped section four with five points from their three games thanks to a 0-15 to 0-9 win over 2008 champions Ballaghaderreen. The east Mayo men now have to navigate their way through the relegation play offs to ensure they hold on to their senior status for next season. Ballinrobe who were drawn in the group of death for not the first time in recent history, had a great chance to make the quarter final going into the last round of games. They were a point ahead of Ballina and had a home draw against the Stephenites, but it was the north Mayo men who came out on top steam rolling to an easy 3-7 to 0-9 win over Norman O'Brien's side. The performance by Ballina was a fine tribute to the late mother of Paul McGarry who died earlier in the week.

The other action on Saturday night saw Castlebar book their place in the last eight and maintain their 100 per cent record. Peter Ford's men lead at the break by only a solitary point on a score of 0-4 to 0-3, but in the second half they kicked on to record a 1-15 to 0-7 win. Shrule Glencorrib made their way in the last eight in second place behind the Mitchels when they easily saw off Bohola Moy Davitts by 1-12 to 0-6 in Foxford. However the south Mayo men were reduced to 14 men during the game when Mark Ronaldson was shown a red card.

The action on Sunday saw Charlestown book their place in the last eight with a game to spare in section three, thanks to a 2-15 to 1-7 win over Westport in section three. The game ended last years intermediate champions interest in the championship for this year. Despite being on four points alongside Breaffy in the table and two points ahead of West Mayo, no matter what happens in the last round of games they won't make it into the last eight. Breaffy picked up their second win from three games away to Kiltaine on Sunday thanks to a 1-12 to 0-9 win in Bangor Erris. The win puts Jim O'Shea's side in pole position to take the final quarter final spot that's up for grabs when they host West Mayo next week in Breaffy.

In section one Ballintubber continued their impressive drive run with a 4-11 to 0-4 win over Claremorris to top the group with two wins and a draw from their three games. James Horan's men have been one of the form teams over the past two years since they won the intermediate championship and will not fear any-side they get in the quarter finals. John Maughan's Crossmolina joined Ballintubber in the last eight, after they demolished Garrymore by 1-20 to 2-9 in Crossmolina, Joe Keane and Brian Benson in particular were in impressive form for the Deel Rovers. Garrymore scored two goals late on to add some gloss to the scoreboard but the game was dead and buried long before Trevor Nally scored their first goal.

So with just two games to go in the senior championship the lie of the land has, Ballintubber, Crossmolina, Castlebar, Shrule/Glencorrib, Ballina and Knockmore all in the last eight. With either Breaffy or West Mayo joining them after next weeks games. In the relegation play off Claremorris, Moy Davitts, Ballagherreen and Kiltaine will square off.

In the intermediate championship it all came down to socring difference to decide who made the quarter final alongside Burrishoole and who finished bottom of the group. Colm McManamon's side made it three wins from three after shaking off a slow opening half to see off local rivals Kilmeena in Newport. The game that mattered was the meeting of Swinford and Ballyhaunis, at half time Swinford looked to be on course to do what they needed to. They led by seven points which would have sent them through, but in the second half the home side narrowed the gaps to two points and it was enough to send them into the last eight. Swinford ended up finishing the group in third place with Kilmeena having to scrap it out again to avoid relegation. In section one Belmullet book their place in the last eight thanks to a facile 0-11 to 0-3 win over Bonniconlon at home, while last years junior champions Kiltimagh made joined them in the last eight thanks to a 1-10 to 0-10 win at home over Mayo Gaels. The defeat sends the Mayo Abbey club into the relegation play off. Head to head results came into play in section four, where Achill thought they had done enough to book their place in the last eight after they saw off Killala by five points. But Davitts managed to beat Kilmaine by two points and top the group, leaving Kilmaine and Achill tied on three points each, with Kilmaine's win over Achill in the opening round the deciding factor as to who went through.

In section two on Saturday night, Tourmakeady finished off the group stages with three wins from three, when they just about held off Hollymount by a single point to record a 0-7 to 0-6 win. Cill Chomain hammered Crossmolina B by 6-9 to 1-9 to book their place in the last eight alongside last years beaten finalists.


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