Come Sunday evening shortly after 5pm, they’ll be building bonfires on the way into Hollymount and Carramore or Ballyhaunis to celebrate either the amalgamation from south Mayo or the east Mayo men returning home with the Mayo intermediate title in their arms and a return to senior football.
Sunday’s encounter promises to be an exciting game of football, with Tomás Morley looking to take down the new Mayo joint manager Noel Connelly in the sideline battle.
The south Mayo men only booked their place in the final last Saturday after they finally figured out how to breakdown a staunch Belmullet defence in a replayed semi-final, while Ballyhaunis had the luxury of taking in some extra study of their opposition during that game.
In their semi-final win over The Neale, Ballyhaunis looked like a slick unit as they saw off the challenge of the 2012 junior champions running out 3-12 to 0-7 winners, to send them back to the intermediate final for the first time in 26 years. Niall Prenty was the main man in attack for them that day, kicking six points and directing the play. With Keith Higgins also to the fore in their semi-final win, the Mayo man will be someone that his new county manager will have been working keeping out of the game.
Last Saturday, Hollymount-Carramore took advantage of Belmullet being reduced to 14 men just before the break and never looked back as they ran out 1-9 to 0-6 winners. The first half was 30 minutes of football that won’t be long for the memory as Belmullet stuck to their game plan and sat back looking to pick off Hollymount-Carramore on the break. And it worked as they went in leading by a point at the break, but the loss of Michael Carey, who was sent to the line for two yellow cards in two minutes saw their damn finally burst. With Pádraig Ferrick grabbing the game by the throat in the second half and leading the Hollymount-Carramore charge. He was ably assisted by the likes of Stephen Coen who grabbed the games only goal and Clifford Connelly, Darren Coen and Kevin Costello. Sunday’s final should be a cracker, throw in is at 3.45pm.
Junior jostle should be enjoyable
Whatever happens in the junior final on Sunday, the one thing we know for sure is that Achill’s season isn’t over. Win or lose against Castlebar Mitchels B and they’ll be in action in the Connacht championship as the Mitchels can’t enter that competition. But that will have been further from the thoughts of the pound island men, who will be expecting nothing more than winning on Sunday.
Paul McNamara has moulded a fine team that had to dig deep to come out winners in the semi-final seeing off Ardagh by 1-15 to 3-3 with Fionnbharr Gallagher, Patrick Sweeney and Jonathan Fadian the leading men for them that day. Ardagh had built up a big lead early on by Achill’s patient play saw them reel it in and them go home six point winners.
It took Castlebar Mitchels two bites of the cherry to see off Lahardane in the semi-final. With the clubs senior teams booking their place in the senior final last weekend, it certainly is heady times on MacHale Road. Mitchels were decisive in their semi-final replay and with a sprinkling of young talent looking to make the break to the senior team alongside the old heads of Kevin Filan and Shane Fitzmaurice, they have a good mix of know-how and hunger, that will be needed going into the game. Young guns like Shane Dolan and Kevin Costello will be eager to show they have what it takes to make the step up. But former Mayo manager, John Maughan lending a hand with the Achill men this year, the islanders could have enough to put one over on the townies.
Nothing less than 100 per cent given in B final
Sunday’s triple header will open with the junior B final between Swinford B and Westport B at noon. In their semi-final Swinford dug deep to beat their near neighbours Kilmovee Shamrocks by a single point on a scoreline of 2-8 to 1-10. While Westport emerged from another local battle to see off Islandeady on a score of 1-8 to 0-6. On Sunday, both sides will go toe to toe for a chance to take the championship title.