Provincial tests for Eastern sides

Snow in November: Gerard Corcoran (winner) and Robert Staunton (third place) in the Westport Sea 2 Summit adventure race on the top of Croagh Patrick last weekend, where 1100 athletes ran, cycled, and hiked 56km (summit) in Co Mayo.
Photo: Andrew Downes.

Snow in November: Gerard Corcoran (winner) and Robert Staunton (third place) in the Westport Sea 2 Summit adventure race on the top of Croagh Patrick last weekend, where 1100 athletes ran, cycled, and hiked 56km (summit) in Co Mayo. Photo: Andrew Downes.

This weekend will be a big weekend of action for both Charlestown and Ballaghaderreen. The near neighbours have been focusing their attention on provincial honours since winning the Mayo intermediate and senior championships respectively.

For the men from Charlestown tomorrow afternoon represents the final step in the chase when they take on Bunniadden from Sligo in the intermediate provincial decider in Markievicz Park at 2pm. Since they saw off the challenge of Burrishoole in the county decider, Denis Kearney’s men have seen off Carna Caiseal from Galway with ease in Pearse Stadium almost three weeks ago, before just about getting over the line against Gortletteragh from Leitrim in the semi-final in McHale Park last Sunday. The Mayo champions looked to be leading comfortably in last Sunday’s game near the end, but the Leitrim champions hit back with a late goal to leave only two between the sides and the game swinging in their favour, but Charlestown dug deep as champions do and went back up the field to net two late, late, goals of their own from Damien Ward and Ollie Conway to seal an eight point win on a scoreline of 3-15 to 1-13. Charlestown had a long list of injury concerns already before last Sunday’s game which was only added to by the loss of Enda Casey and Enda McLoughlin in their semi-final win. But Charlestown should still be well equipped to put it up to the Sligo champions in Markievicz Park tomorrow afternoon. Kearney will be looking to the likes of Tom Parsons, Richie Haran, and Tony Mulligan to be the leaders for his side in attack, while Aidan Higgins’ experience will be vital in their defence.

Ballaghaderreen look to put down northern uprising

The last time Ballaghaderreen had the Moclair Cup tucked away for the winter in 2008, they went into the provincial championships as a side many thought could do something in competition. But they crashed out against the Sligo champions Eastern Harps without doing themselves justice. In fact no Mayo side has laid its hands on the provincial title since Ballina Stephenites in 2007, with Corofin and St Brigid’s claiming the last four titles between them.

On Sunday in McHale Park, Ballaghaderreen will get their chance to have a crack at adding their name to the provincial roll of honour when they open up their Connacht campaign against Sligo champions Curry at 2.30pm. Ballagh have the ability to take on any side in this competition with the likes of Barry Regan, Andy Hanley, James and David Kilcullen, Keith Rodgers, Stephen and David Drake all able to hold their own at this level.

Local derby for u21 crown tonight

It is an all west Mayo battle this evening in McHale Park when Ballintubber and Castlebar meet for the Mayo u21a football championship at 8pm. Both sides have met at this stage of the competition quite a number of times in recent years and had some titanic battles, the most recent being the 2010 final when Castlebar claimed the title.

The Mitchels went on to make it two in a row last year and will be hoping to make it three this time around. Ballintubber’s task in dethroning the Mitchels was always going to be difficult, but they will have to do it without the two time young footballer of the year Cillian O’Connor. The inter-county man’s absence was already seriously felt by his club in their senior final defeat to Ballaghaderreen and it will be a tough ask for them once again tonight.

Both sides still have lots of talent available to them with Mitchels looking for Danny Kirby, Fergal Durkan, Niall McCarney, and Aidan Walsh to be their leading men. While for Ballintubber a lot will fall on Danny Kirby’s broad shoulders, along with Diarmuid O’Connor, Daire Sommerville, and Michael Plunkett as they look to knock their neighbours off their perch.

Performance seminar in McHale Park

A performance analysis seminar will take in Elverys MacHale Park on Monday, November 19. In the highly competitive GAA playing environment, it is the small margins that define the outcome of a game. These margins can be harnessed through the power of performance analysis to give you 'more thann a sporting chance’.

The guest speakers on the night are former All-Ireland SFC winner Steven McDonnell and New Zealand's former rugby player development manager Paul MacKinnon, along with Danny Turley from Performa Sports (former Armagh GAA analyst ) who will share their experiences in this field from a player, coach, and analyst's perspective. You can register your place now on performasportsmachalepark.eventbrite.co.uk/

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