A two goal first half salvo from Aidan O’Shea inspired Breaffy to their first win in the Mayo GAA Senior Football League this season as they saw off local rivals Castlebar Mitchels in Munnelly Park in Castlebar on Sunday. Both sides lined out with out key players for this contest with Seamus O’Shea serving a one match suspension for Breaffy after being dismissed early in their loss to Ballintubber a fortnight ago, while for Castlebar Mitchels neither Tom Cunniffe or Patrick Durcan were available for selection.
Tommy O’Reilly put Breaffy into an early lead after a move involving Aidan O’Shea and Keith McGinty set him free. Mitchels equalised shortly after through Cian Costello and over the next six minutes, the Mitchels corner forward would kick two more points, with Neil Douglas adding one more as the home side went into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead. Just before the ten minute mark, O’Shea got his first goal after wing-backs Rory Martyn and McGinty combined well in the build up, before O’Shea powered through and bombed the ball past Rory Byrne in the Mitchels goal. Not long after O’Reilly escaped the clutches of his brother Eoghan and slotted the ball over the bar to put Breaffy one to the good. There was plenty of interest in this clash in the O’Reilly house, with brothers Eoghan and Tommy once again lining out for opposite sides and with their father Tom, a former Mitchels player also now on board as part of the Breaffy management team.
Aidan Walsh struck over a point from a free for Mitchels to level the game up again not long after, but Walsh and then Neil Douglas would skew to other attempts from dead balls wide of the target, before Walsh found his range again on 18 minutes to put Castlebar into a 0-6 to 1-2 lead. Richie Feeney then found some freedom five minutes later to put Castlebar into a two point lead as they looked to stretch the lead out a bit.
But Breaffy were just about to hit them with a two goal salvo before the break. First Aidan O’Shea managed to turnover a Mitchels defender and had clear path on goal in front of him, there was no stopping O’Shea from there and he crashed the ball to the back of the net for the second time.
Three minutes later, Breaffy struck goal number three. Tommy O’Reilly was found tight to the corner of the pitch, but the livewire forward spotted Gareth Dunne breaking at pace and Dunne met O’Reilly’s inch perfect pass with his fist and drove it to the net. That goal sent Breaffy in leading by 3-2 to 0-7 at the turnaround.
Mitchels hit back right at the start of the second half when Donal Newcombe bombed down the wing and drove the ball to the roof of Robert Hennelly’s net to single the hosts intent of not letting their neighbours run away from them. Gareth Dunne replied for Breaffy with a point to keep their noses two points in front and four minutes later Peter Dravins stretched that lead out to three points again. Matthew Rune then got in on the act with a deliciously sliced effort off the outside of his right boot as Breaffy looked to really take control of the game. Newcombe responded with point for his side before O’Reilly clipped over another pointed free and Conor O’Shea bisected the posts from way out the park to pt Breaffy 3-7 to 1-9 to the good as the game entered their final 15 minutes. Breaffy were forced into a change when cornerback Darragh Morrin was shown a black card and then they also lost Liam Irwin within minutes of his introduction from the bench to a leg injury. Ray O’Malley cut the gap to four points with a well taken score, then Aidan Walsh reeled it back into just three points with six minutes left on the clock. Five minutes from time, Breaffy were reduced to 14 players when Robbie Fadden picked up a second yellow card as the momentum seemed to have swung towards the Mitchels. Danny Kirby clipped a point to leave just two between the teams as the home-stretch approached and then Walsh reduced the margin to the bare minimum as injury time approached. But Breaffy stuck to the task and first Dunne fired home a lovely point and then Michéal Jennings hooked over an effort to seal the win for Breaffy on a scoreline of 3-9 to 0-12
Big wins for Crossmolina, Hollymount-Carramore and Kilmaine
Elsewhere in the top division there are just three teams with 100 per cent records after the opening two rounds of games, Crossmolina Deel Rovers and the intermediate championship pair of Hollymount-Carramore and Kilmaine. The Deel Rovers had a big 2-10 to 0-9 win over Davitts in Crossmolina with Conor Loftus grabbing both goals for the Deel Rovers. Loftus finished with 2-2 while, Fionan Duffy and Sean Loftus both also chipped in with a number of points. Hollymount-Carramore paid no mind to reputations when Knockmore came to south Mayo on Sunday afternoon and they ran out four point winners in a high scoring encounter on a scoreline of 1-19 to 1-15 with Darren Coen the man of the day gabbing 1-12 for the victors. Kilmaine followed up their win over Castlebar Mitchels on the opening day with a 2-10 to 1-10 win over Claremorris on the road on Sunday. Pete Warren’s side have really hit the ground running in the league this year and alongside Hollymout-Carramore they are early favourites to claim intermediate championship glory this year. Kiltane and Garrymore played out a tight 2-10 to 1-13 draw in Bangor Erris. Kiltane led by 0-8 to 1-3 at the break and Shane Lindsey grabbed a goal for them early in the second half, but Garrymore fought back with Caolan Crowe and Michael Connolly scoring their goals in the game. Kiltane had to play out the last 15 minutes with 14 men after Stephen Sweeney was sent to the line.
Ballintubber came undone at home when Ballina Stephenites edged them out by a single point in Clogher on a scoreline of 0-10 to 0-9. The north Mayo men hit the ground running early on and were 0-6 to 0-2 up at the break with Rory Tighe, Kevin Newell, Keith Tighe, Brendan O’Hora all getting a point each with Mikey Murray scoring two for the Stephenites men. Ballintubbers two first half scores came from frees from former Mayo underage player Ray Geraghty. The homeside did fight back in the second half with Alan Dillon and Diarmuid O’Connor leading the way and went into a one point lead near the end, but points from Keith Tighe and a late score from sub Alan Kelly saw the Stephenites take the points home with them.