Castlebar is a long way from the Friday Night Lights of Texas High School football which was the background to HG Bissinger’s seminal 1990 book of the same name. But Castlebar will play host to Mayo’s own underage showdowns under the glare of the floodlights this evening with both semi-finals in the Mayo u21A championship down for decision.
The action will get under way at 7.15pm with the meeting of Aghamore and Hollymount-Carramore in the county ground. Both sides blitzed their way through the last eight stage of the competition with the south Mayo amalgamation beating Ballina Stephenites by 1-12 to 2-2 a few weeks ago. It was just as easy for Aghamore who saw off the challenge of their fellow east Mayo men Swinford by 1-16 to 1-4 in Kiltimagh. Darren Coen was the main man for the Holly-Carramore contingent in their win scoring eight points for his side in the last eight, and Aghamore will have him marked out for special attention on Friday night. The east Mayo side’s win in the semi-final was spearheaded by Darren Duffy who scored 1-3 of his side’s total, in a game which saw nine different players find the target for their side over the 60 minutes. The Hollymount-Carramore defence will have been pre-warned that Aghamore possess a scoring threat from all over the park.
The second semi-final is a meeting of near neighbours Castlebar Mitchels and Breaffy. These teams met at the quarter final stage of the competition last year and Mitchels tore home more than comfortable winners. Tonight’s contest however promises to be a lot more competitive. Breaffy saw off the other west Mayo heavy-weights Ballintubber in the quarter final with ease on a scoreline of 1-18 to 0-3. While Castlebar Mitchels had by far the toughest examination of all the semi-finalists in the last round seeing off Knockmore by 2-7 to 0-11. Mitchels had to overcome a half time deficit of two points to see off the north Mayo men. Both sides are packed with familiar names from successful Mayo underage teams of recent years such as Eoghan O’Reilly, Danny Kirby, Aidan Walsh, Cian Costello and Fergal Durkan for Castlebar. While Breaffy can call on Mayo senior players Aidan O’Shea and Robert Hennelly, along with the likes of Conor O’Shea, Peter Dravins, David Gavin and Tommy O’Reilly. The Breaffy v Castlebar game throws in at 8.30pm.