Local pride and local passions to the fore this weekend

GAA: Mayo SFC Round 1

Ballintubber saw of Castlebar Mitchels last year in the senior final, who'll be there this year? Photo: Sportsfile

Ballintubber saw of Castlebar Mitchels last year in the senior final, who'll be there this year? Photo: Sportsfile

It's the first round of action in the Mayo senior football championship, with eight games taking place across four groups over the weekend we preview the action in the big games. 

GROUP ONE

Davitts v Breaffy

Sunday, May 24 at 2pm

The visitors to Ballindine on Sunday will head into the contest as warm favourites. Despite losing the first day out against Ballintubber in the league Breaffy have hit the ground running in recent weeks with wins over Castlebar Mitchels and Claremorris in their last two proper outings. Davitts have not managed to pick any league points yet this season with Kilmaine, Crossmolina, and Garrymore all seeing them off already. Breaffy's greater strength in depth should help them see off their hosts.

Verdict: Breaffy

Knockmore v Ballyhaunis

Sunday, May 24 at 2pm

Ballyhaunis have been waiting for this day since they claimed the intermediate title last year. Having finally moved up to the top table this year staying there will be their first priority. They could not get a more traditional test in their first outing than a visit to Knockmore. The north Mayo men surprised many by making the semi-finals last season, while that did not end very well with Ballintubber running riot in that game, they will be gunning to make it back to the knock-out stages this season.

Verdict: Knockmore

GROUP TWO

Ballina Stephenites v Claremorris

Saturday, May 23 at 6.30pm

This is a game neither side can really afford to lose. Ballina have been serious underachievers in the championship over the last few years. Their league form has been a bit hit and miss this year already. They were beaten by Hollymount-Carramore in round one, before surprisingly turning over Ballintubber in round two, but last time out Castlebar ran riot against them. The south Mayo men will really fancy their chances on Saturday evening even having lost their three league games so far against Crossmolina, Kilmaine, and Breaffy. This might not be pretty, but it should be an enthralling championship contest.

Verdict: Ballina Stephenites

Castlebar Mitchels v Ballaghaderreen

Saturday, May 23 at 6.30pm

This clash has some extra spice added to it with the presence of former Sligo footballer Eamon O'Hara on the sideline for the east Mayo men. Castlebar shipped two losses in their first two league games going down surprisingly to Kilmaine in round one before Breaffy turned them over in the next round at home. But they got back on track last time out with a demolition job on Ballina Stephenites. For their part Ballagh are operating in division 1b this year and they have two wins from three, but they are coming into the game off the back of a narrow defeat to neighbours Charlestown in their last league game. It is hard to look past the 2013 champions.

Verdict: Castlebar Mitchels

GROUP THREE

Ballintubber v Ballinrobe

Sunday, May 24 at 2pm

It is very hard to call this one, other than a home win. The defending champions have not been in outstanding form so far this season but they will be well keyed in to get the win on Sunday. League wins over Breaffy and Hollymount-Carramore were splintered in the middle with a surprise loss to Ballina. Ballinrobe who are playing league football in a division below their opponents have not set the world alight, and have only a solitary win, over an Ardnaree side who are playing in the junior championship, to show for their efforts so far this season. Even without Cillian O'Connor, Ballintubber should have way too much for the south Mayo men.

Verdict: Ballintubber

(The Aghamore v Crossmolina game will take place next weekend )

GROUP FOUR

Kiltane v Shrule-Glencorrib

Sunday, May 24 at 2pm

The visitors to Bangor Erris will be leaving home early on Sunday morning to get to their destination in good time, it is probably one of the longest away trips in any club championship in the country. Shrule-Glencorrib got their league season off to a good start with wins over Bohola Moy Davitts and Tourmakeady, but they lost to Westport last time out. Kiltane have yet to get a win in the league, but only lost once having drawn with Knockmore and Garrymore in the opening rounds before losing to Crossmolina in their last outing. This could be a real cracker, but home advantage should swing it.

Verdict: Kiltane

Garrymore v Charlestown Sarsfields

Sunday, May 24 at 4pm

This one quite realistically could be the game of the weekend, both sides met at the quarter-final stage last year with the south Mayo men coming out victorious by a narrow margin. Charlestown have been doing well this year in division 1b and are unbeaten with two wins and a draw in their back pocket this year already, thanks to wins over Kiltimagh and Ballaghaderreen along with their draw away to Burrishoole. Garrymore have had one of everything in their three league games so far, a win over Davitts, a draw with Kiltane and a loss to Knockmore last time out. The south Mayo men are playing in a higher league division than their guests and this should be a benefit to them on Sunday.

Verdict: Garrymore.

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