There is not much time to rest in the east Mayo town of Ballyhaunis these days, fresh off the back of county title success for the intermediate footballers and senior hurlers the small matter of Connacht success is up for grabs for both teams over the next few weeks.
Last Sunday the intermediate footballers booked their place in the Connacht semi-final with a 3-13 to 0-6 win over Dromahair and on the upcoming Bank Holiday Monday, the Ballyhaunis hurlers will be in action in the Connacht intermediate hurling final against Roscommon champions Four Roads at 2pm in Athleague. Up for grabs is a place in the final of the competition against the Galway intermediate champions next month.
Ballyhaunis booked their place in the semi-final thanks to a narrow 1-12 to 1-10 win over neighbours Tooreen a fortnight ago. That was the 10th county title that Ballyhaunis have won in the past 12 years. That game was swung in Ballyhaunis’ favour when Tadgh Buckley was introduced from the bench and the big attacker had rattled over 1-1 within minutes of his introduction. But there were plenty of other big performers on the day, with Pierce Higgins rolling back the years in a sweeping role in front of his defence, while Damien Keadin picked up the man of the match award. Brian Hunt chipped in with four points, while Mayo goalkeeper Donal O’Brien (who plays outfield for Ballyhaunis ) landed three long range scores. Keith Higgins also turned on the style when it was needed in their county final win and will have a big influence on Monday.
As for their opponents, Four Roads won their seventh Roscommon title in a row with a nine point win over Athleague recently. Their 3-11 to 0-11 win was a real team affair with nine different players getting on the score sheet over the hour. David Dolan top scored for them with five points, while Eamon Mulry, Padraig Kelly, and sub James Coyne all landed goals for Four Roads. The Roscommon championship was a tough test for Four Roads, with Padraig Pearses putting them to the pin of their collars, before Four Roads emerged victorious by a single point on a scoreline of 0-17 to 1-13 in the semi-final. This time last year, it was Tooreen’s turn to have crack at Four Roads in the Connacht championship having won their first Mayo title in a decade and they managed to overcome the Roscommon men by a single point, Ballyhaunis will be hoping to follow in their footsteps this coming Monday.