With the Mayo club championships now put to bed following Ballintubber’s victory over Castlebar Mitchels last weekend, all eyes will now be drawn to the Connacht club championship. The action gets underway on Sunday for the winners of both the Mayo Junior and Intermediate championships, when both Tourmakeady and Parke face Galway opposition. The men from the Gaeltacht will have Mayo advantage when they host St James from Galway city on Sunday, in McHale Park. The Galway champions overcame An Spidéal in the Galway final by a single point a fortnight ago, winning out on a score of 0-9 to 0-8. Midfielder Paul Conroy was the top scorer for the St James men in the final kicking four points of their nine point total.
The Galway champions will have their metal well and truly tested by Tourmakeady on Sunday, Jack Grimes has put together a side that are well organised and tough to break down in defence as Burrishoole found to their cost in the Mayo final. The full back line of David Prendergast, Mark Heneghan and Tom Staunton are more than capable of smothering the St James’ full forward line. While the half back line of the Michael John’s, Meeneghan and Walsh along with Brendan Prendergast provide a solid defensive unit and springboard to attack.
Up front Kevin Dolan will be their go to guy, he kicked six points in the fractuerous county final win over Burrishoole, five of them were from placed balls, but he has the capability to be deadly from play also. He will be ably supported in attack by the Naughaton’s Tom and Brian who will give their all in attack for the Gaeltacht men. While capturing the Sweeney cup and getting back into senior football would have been the goal at the start of the year, Tourmakeady will be relishing the chance to have a crack at a Connacht title and maybe more.
Parke head south for junior glory
When Parke started out this year, getting out of the junior ranks and back into the intermediate grade would have been target number one. The west Mayo club stood on the verge of senior football in 2006 but fell short, and in 2009 they found themselves back in junior football. It’s been a long two years trying to get back out of that grade, but they have achieved it and now its Connacht glory they are eying up. If they manage to come home from their 180 mile round trip on Sunday to Ballinasloe with the win in their pocket then Frank McHale’s men will fancy their chances of doing just that.
Parke’s win in the junior final over Islandeady saw them play with a fluidity and confidence that blew their opponents off the field. Their attacking trio of Dwayne Flynn, Simon Cloherty and Sean McHale caused Islandeady problems all day, as they are likely to do again to Ballinasloe on Sunday. The club who are celebrating their 40th birthday this year will be looking to James Gillespie and Declan Neary to anchor the midfield with authority in south eastern Galway. While at the back John Cloherty, Mervyn Marley and Paul Moran are a tight full back unit, who will hassle and harry their opponents at every opportunity. Ballinasloe for their part will be looking to pick up the pieces after loosing to Salthill Knocknacara B in the Galway final, where former Mayo player Maurice Sheridan kicked seven points. However due to Salthill Knocknacara being a second team they weren’t allowed into the Connacht championship. Sunday represents a great chance for Parke to stake a claim.
Ballyhaunis make the grade
In the Connacht Intermediate Hurling Championship semi-final last weekend, Ballyhaunis booked their place in the final of the competition for the second year in a row. The Mayo champions ran out three point winners on a scoreline of 3-13 to 2-13 against Roscommon champions Four Roads in Athleague, Co Roscommon. Mayo star Keith Higgins was the top scorer on the day, chipping in with 1-7 of his sides total with Stephen Hoban finishing the 60 minutes with 1-2 behind his name. Ballyhaunis were nine points clear at one stage in the second half, but the Roscommon champions kept chipping away and cut the gap to just a goal at the end. Ballyhaunis now go on to the final where they will take on the winners of the Galway Intermediate championship on Sunday November 14.
Carnacon are queens of Connacht once again
Carnacon claimed yet another Connacht senior title last weekend when they saw off Roscommon champions, St Bridget’s in Kiltoom with ease. The central Mayo girls ran out 6-14 to 1-5 winners in the Roscommon venue with Cora Staunton once again the star of the show. The multiple All Star scored 3-12 for her side in their 24 point win. Carancon have a weekend off this weekend, but on Sunday week they will travel to Laois to take on Lenister champions Timahoe in the All Ireland semi-final.