As the last weekend of action in the group stages of both the senior and intermediate championships gets ready to throw in for action this weekend, there are still an awful lot of things to sort out. The only certain things are that Castlebar Mitchels, Knockmore and Breaffy will be in the last eight of the competition when it recommences later this summer, leaving five more places still up for grabs from three of the groups.
In group one both Breaffy and Knockmore are through with two wins from two games, leaving Sunday's meeting between the sides a de facto play-off for top spot and a seeding in the quarter-final. The other game in the group sees Ballyhaunis hosting Davitts, with the winners staying up and the loser heading for the relegation play-off merry-go-round.
In group two Castlebar Mitchels have done their bit and are back in the knock-out stages. They face Claremorris on Saturday evening in their last group game, but the real focus in this group will be in Ballina where the Stephenites host Ballaghaderren. It's as simple as this, the winner goes through and the loser goes home, a draw would do Ballina who hold a slender scoring difference advantage as the head-to-head result wouldn't be counted in that instance.
In group three Ballinrobe really put the cat among the pigeons with their win over Crossmolina Deel Rovers last weekend. All four teams can still end up in the quarter-finals at this juncture, with three of them still also in with the chance of ending up in the relegation play-off. Ballintubber host Crossmolina this weekend and will be expected to win, leaving everything in the hands of the meeting of Ballinrobe and Aghamore in Flanagan Park, where a win for the east Mayo men, combined with a Ballintubber victory, would leave Ballinrobe, Crossmolina, and Aghamore all level on two points each, bringing scoring difference into play, which currently favours Crossmolina making the last eight and sending Ballinrobe into the relegation play-offs.
Group four isn't any easier to call at this stage. Kiltane have two wins from two under their belts, but amazingly aren't guaranteed a quarter-final spot yet. They travel to Charlestown on Sunday, where a win for the hosts would bring them level on points with their guests. If Garrymore see of a winless Shurle-Glencorrib in the south Mayo derby at home, they will join Kiltane and Charlestown (providing they win ) on four points each necessitating the need for scoring difference coming into play. If those results pan out, it's Kiltane who'll miss out and Garrymore and Charlestown will go through to the last eight.
Seven places in the last eight to be sorted out in intermediate grade
If things were tight in the senior championship group stages, then there's only the slimmest of margins between everyone in the intermediate championship going into the last weekend of group games. The Neale are the only side to have booked their place in the last eight going into this weekend's final round of group games.
In group one, Belmullet are leading the way with two wins from two, thanks to wins over Kilmaine and Islandeady, but they aren't secure of their spot in the last eight just yet. On Sunday they will host Moy Davitts who are locked together with Kilmaine on two points each, with the south Mayo men ahead by virture of the head-to-head result. If Moy Davitts win on Sunday and Kilmaine see off Islandeady as expected, the three sides will all be level on four points each, meaning scoring difference comes into play. Moy Davitts are curently +12 in this chart with Belmullet + 7 and Kilmaine at 0, so a big Kilmaine will will be needed if they have designs on the last eight.
In group two Kiltimagh are leading the way on four points with Bonniconlon and Westport locked together on two points each, and Castlebar Mitchels B propping up the group with 0 points. Bonniconlon's surprise win over Westport last weekend has really stirred things up. If the north Mayo men should see off Castlebar Mitchels B on Sunday afternoon it puts the outcome of the group in the hands of both Kiltimagh and Westport. Kiltimagh have a huge points difference advantage over Westport and Bonniconlon, so even if they lose it would take a massive scoring swing to stop them making the last eight. Bonniconlon will be hoping that Kiltmagh see off Westport, or at least draw with them and they pick up the win, otherwise the scoring difference between them -11 and Westport +8 and Kiltimagh +17 will be in all likelihood be to big of a gap to bridge. But they could still also end up in relegation trouble if Mitchels B have a four or more points win over the Bonniconlon men on Sunday. It's all a bit complicated!
In group three it's a similar situation with last year's beaten finalists Hollymount-Carramore out in front with four points from two games and a scoring difference of +25. Behind them are Swinford and Burrishoole on two points each from their two games, with both sides having a scoring difference of +2. Hollymount-Carramore will host Swinford on Saturday evening, with the east Mayo men needing the win to stay have any chance of making the last eight as Burrishoole should account for a winless Tourmakeady on the road. On paper it's looking good for Hollymount-Carramore with Burrishoole joining them unless, Swinford can upset the odds and beat the score that Burrishoole beat Tourmakeady by.
The final group in the intermedaite championship is the only one that has one side guaranteed a spot in the last eight and that's The Neale who have two wins from two. On Sunday they will host bottom side Cill Chomain with Parke-Keelogues-Crimlin and Mayo Gaels meeting in the shadow of the round tower in Turlough for a place in the last eight alongside The Neale. It's winner takes all in this game, with a draw also doing Parke as they lead Mayo Gaels in the scoring difference table.