Club championship picture becomes a bit clearer

GAA

The make up of the the last eight in the Mayo senior football championships in Mayo started to take shape over the weekend. Castlebar, Crossmolina Deel Rovers, Ballintubber, Ballaghaderreen and Breaffy all registered their second win in the championships. While two wins normally would guarantee you a place in the last eight going on recent years, it may not be enough for Breaffy should they loose out to Knockmore in their final group game.

Jim O'Shea's side were made to battle hard for a single point win over Kiltane in Breaffy on Sunday afternoon. Despite going into a 1-4 to 0-2 lead after 15 minutes, they went in at the break trailing by three points after Ultan Corrigan and John Reilly netted twice for the visitors near the end of the first half. The Breaffy goal came in the second minute when Aidan O'Shea won the ball from a Kiltane kick out in midfield and tore through the north Mayo sides defence before lashing the ball to the back of the net. Breaffy had chances in the first half to increase their goal tally but Colum Lyons pulled his effort wide from close range and Peter Dravins cracked another effort off the bar. Kiltane's efforts were hampered when Shane Lindsay was forced off injured early in the action with an ankle injury. The second half had a real championship flavour to it as both sides hit hard and tempers threatened to boil over on a number of occasions. Kiltane will rue the fact that they went from the 36th minute of the game until the 59th minute without scoring a point. Breaffy kept plugging away and despite registering a number of wides which totaled 17 at the end of the game they sealed the win two minutes into injury time. Corner forward Alan Durcan kicked the winning point with an effort that he looked to have under hit, but Kiltane goalkeeper Cathal Carey was only able to touch it over the bar with his fingertips as he attempted to claim the ball. The other game in that group was played on Saturday night in Knockmore and the north Mayo men saw off the challenge of Ballinrobe to record a comfortable 3-10 to 0-8 win. Knockmore had lost their first game in the group stage when they were beaten by Kiltane in Bangor Erris and it was a must win game for them. Breaffy sit on top of the group with four points, with Knockmore and Kiltane tied on two points each with Knockmore currently ahead on points difference of +9 compared to Kiltane's difference of +1. Breaffy have for their part a points difference of +8 going into the final round of games. The potential of the three top teams all finishing on four points each after the last round of games is a very real possibility and if that happens the three teams will be separated by scoring difference.

Defending county champions Ballintubber and Crossmolina Deel Rovers booked their places in the last eight with wins over the weekend. On Saturday night in Crossmolina, John Maughan's side saw off the challenge of Westport by 4-14 to 0-10 to leave themselves top of the table. On Sunday, Ballintubber staged a second half fightback to see off a gritty Garrymore challenge. Both teams were missing their managers on the sideline, with Garrymore missing John Nally after the fall out following their defeat by Crossmolina Deel Rovers in the first round, while Ballintubber manager Anthony McGarry was also unavailable for Sunday's game due to other commitments. But the big talking point in Clogher before throw in was the absence of Mayo senior captain Alan Dillon from the starting 15 with a late injury picked up in the warm up. Dillon did make an appearance early in the second half and was able to see out the remainder of the game. Ballintubber raced into an early 0-3 to 0-0 lead inside the first two minutes, through a brace of points from Gary Dillon and one form Cillian O'Connor. It was another 23 minutes before the county champions raised another white flag and in that time Garrymore managed to score 1-6. The goal came after 24 minutes when Shane Nally who played at corner forward in the game, got in on the end of a flick down from Mark Tierney to pull on the ball from close range. Jimmy Killeen was scorer in chief for Garrymore early on and finished up the first half with six points out total of 1-7 that his side kicked. Ballintubber did rally strongly near the end of the first half and kicked five points between the 25th and the end of first half injury time to leave the score at the break, Garrymore 1-7 to 0-8 for Ballintubber. Alan Plunkett opened the scoring in the second half for the home side early on and by the 41st minute Ballintubber had pushed themselves into the lead. The visitors registered their first point of the second half on 50 minutes to tie the game again through sub Brian Walsh. The game was nip and tuck for the next couple of minutes with the sides swapping scores. The decisive moment in the game came five minutes from time when Cillian O'Connor grabbed his sides goal. That score pushed Ballintubber's lead out to four points from the bare minimum and Garrymore weren't able to recover from it. The final day will pit Ballintubber traveling to Crossmolina to see who'll come out on top of the table, with Crossmolina Deel Rovers currently in pole position on scoring difference.

Castlebar Mitchels booked their place in the last eight of the senior championship on Saturday night and in the process ended Charlestown's interest in the competition for 2011. Pat Holmes' team ran out five point winners in McHale Park where they overturned an early three point deficit. Charlestown went into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead inside the first 13 minutes with scores from Michael Divilly, Anthony Mulligan and Aidan Higgins. But over the next 15 minutes Castlebar outscored their visitors by 0-6 to 0-2 with veteran Kevin Filan leading the line for his side with five points for his team with the other score coming from David Joyce. Charlestown will live to regret the fact that they didn't hit the back of the net once on Saturday night with Mark Caffrey missing a guilt edged goal chance on the 15 minute mark. Castlebar were solid in the second half and kept Charlestown at bay limiting them to only two points in the final 30 minutes. Mitchels though will be hoping that Tom King isn't ruled out for a lengthy period after he was stretched off following with what looked like a knee injury midway through the second half. Charlestown late on had a chance to pull in the Castlebar lead when they were awarded a penalty in injury time when Castlebar were leading by four points. But Ciaran Naughton picked the right side and got down low to save the ball and seal the win on a score of 0-12 to 0-7. The other game in the group on Sunday say Ballaghaderreen pushed hard by Aghamore before they ran out three point winners on a score of 0-9 to 0-6. They join Castlebar on four points each at the top of the table and they will host Castlebar in the final round of games with the winner taking first place in the table. Charlestown will host Aghamore in a game which will decide which team goes into the relegation play off at the bottom of the table in round three next time out.

In group four of the senior championship there is also plenty still to play for with Claremorris and Shrule Glencorrib level on three points each, with Claremorris on top at the moment on scoring difference. Ballina Stephenites are just behind the two south Mayo teams on two points after they easily saw off the challenge of Tourmakeady by ten points on Saturday night. On Sunday Claremorris held Shrule Glencorrib to a draw on the border line to set up a mouth watering final day of action. Shrule Glencorrib will be the favorites to book their place in the last eight as they face a pointless Tourmakeady in the west Mayo Gaeltacht, while Ballina will travel to Claremorris in what looks to be a winner take all encounter.

Before the final round of games, Ballintubber, Crossmolina Deel Rovers, Castlebar Mitchels and Ballaghaderreen have booked their place in the last eight. Six other teams are still in the hunt for the final four places with Breaffy, Knockmore and Kiltane in the mix in one group, with Ballina Stephenites, Shrule Glencorrib and Claremorris in the shake up in the other group. With all games on the final day starting at the same time in each group

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