Big guns come out looking for final four spot

GAA: Mayo SFC Quarter Final Preview

Back in red: Cillian O'Connor and Ballintubber are back defending their county senior title this weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Back in red: Cillian O'Connor and Ballintubber are back defending their county senior title this weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Breaffy v Garrymore

Saturday, September 26

In Elverys MacHale Park at 4pm

Having come a cropper at this stage last year, Breaffy will be expecting not to make the same mistake this year. They blitzed their way through the group stages with three wins from three, and with t Aidan, Seamus, and Conor O'Shea, Robbie Hennelly, and Michael Hall backboning their side they have plenty of quality in their ranks. Garrymore went to the semi-final last year and made Castlebar work really hard for their win in that game, they are back in the last eight again this year and will not be any pushover for Breaffy. With former Mayo minor captain Shane Nally, Enda Varley, Caolan Crowe, and Jimmy Killeen in their arsenal they have a big number of players who can be counted on to put in big performances on the day. But when all is said and done they might come up just short.

Verdict: Breaffy

Castlebar Mitchels v Aghamore

Saturday, September 26

In Elverys MacHale Park at 5.30pm

The Mitchels are back in the last eight again this year and will fancy their chances of making it back to the showpiece of Mayo football once again this year. They had three wins from three in the group stages as new manager Declan O'Reilly has got to grips with his side. The Mitchels have plenty of quality names to pick from at this level, with Ton Cunniffe, Richie Feeney, Danny Kirby, Neil Douglas, and Patrick Durcan all top level players. Aghamore made the last despite losing two of their three group games, holding off Ballinrobe and Crossmolina on scoring difference. A lot will rest on how they get Alan Freeman into the game on Sunday and big games will be needed from the likes of Brendan Harrision, Cathal Freeman, Darren Duffy, and Kenny Feeney if they are to put it up to the Mitchels.

Verdict: Castlebar Mitchels

Kiltane v Knockmore

Saturday, September 26 

In James Stephens Park at 5.30pm

It is only fitting that that this north Mayo clash will take place in the tighter confines of James Stephens Park than in the vast open spaces of the county grounds. Championship football in north Mayo is a special thing and this will be no different on Saturday evening. Kiltane made it through to the last eight thanks to a draw against Charlestown which saw them top the group and send the east Mayo men out. In Mikie Sweeney and Tommy Conroy they have two forwards capable of really catching fire and keeping the scoreboard ticking over, while Sean Gaughan, John Reilly, and Jason Healy will provide the foundation further back.  Knockmore blitzed Breaffy at this stage last year, before Ballintubber opened them up for fun in the semi-final. They finished in second place in their group this year and new manager Paul Jordan will fancy his side's chances of making it back to the last four again. Kevin McLoughlin is the heartbeat of the team, while Darren McHale and Keith Ruttldege will look to cause plenty of problems for the Kiltane defence.

Verdict: Knockmore

Ballintubber v Ballina Stephenites

Sunday, September 27 at 3.30pm

In Elverys MacHale Park

The defending county champions were ruthlessly efficient in the group stages winning three from three without ever really having to get out of third gear. Ballintubber have been the top dogs at this level for the past half a decade, winning three county titles since 2010, and look a good bet to win a fourth this time around. They will welcome back Cillian and Diarmuid O'Connor along with Alan Dillon to the fold after their exploits with Mayo over the summer, and that mixed up with Stephen Broderick, Cathal Hallinan, Jason Gibbons, and Danny Geraghty shows the strength and depth they have. Making it back to the last eight has been a huge achievement for the former kingpins of Mayo football - Ballina. But they do not just want to be making up the numbers at this level, they will be looking to David Clarke, Ger Cafferkey, Alex Corduff, and Brendan O'Hora to put in big performances. In Evan Regan they have a forward who threatened to light up the year for Mayo until injury curtailed his involvement and he will be chomping at the bit to show his class. But it is still hard to look past the boys from the Tubber.

Verdict: Ballintubber


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