Breaffy v Knockmore
Sunday October 23 at 2pm
In MacHale Park
On paper there will probably only be one winner in this one, but that was the thought last weekend too when Breaffy took on Crossmolina. The Deel Rovers men didn't read the script and they put it up to Breaffy right until the end, as Peter Ford and Shane Conway's men had some very nervous moments until a late push got them over the line.
Knockmore will be a step up in level for them this weekend and if they are to have serious designs on taking down whichever side comes out of the other semi-final, Breaffy will need to up their gears this weekend. But that's not going to be easy, Knockmore are no strangers to this dance themselves and they will not shirk the challenge. Two years ago at the quarter final stage, Knockmore came out on top against a fancied Breaffy side that had reached the final of the competition the previous year and they'll fancy doing the same again this weekend. The north Mayo men came out of a very tough group and topped the table ahead of a Ballaghaderren side who really put it up to Castlebar Mitchels for long periods last weekend. In their own game they were solid if not specatactular against Aghamore, but they never looked like losing it no matter how close the east Mayo men got to them.
For Breaffy, they really struggled to get to the pitch of the pace last Saturday against Crossmolina, and it was only a late surge which saw sub Tommy O'Reilly hit the back of the net were they able to shake off the Deel Rovers. Aidan O'Shea stepped up when he was needed in that game, but Breaffy will be hoping to find their groove much quicker this time, because if they don't, Knockmore will sense blood and be ready to go for it.
Castlebar Mitchels v Ballintubber
Sunday October 24 at 3.30pm
In MacHale Park
This is the one that everyone will have their eyes on inside and outside the county. Both sides have shared five of the last six county titles between them and meeting in three finals over that five year period (all of them won by Ballintubber ) it's lining up to be another cracker of a game. Ballintubber may have started the championship slowly losing their first game, but boy are they on form coming into this one. Last weekend they hit Garrymore with everything and ran out 6-14 to 1-8 winners, with Cillian O'Connor stealing the headlines for a personal haul of 4-4 inside the 40 odd minutes he was on the field. From as early as the first minute when Michael Plunkett found the back of the net, you could see they meant business and they kept their foot down right until the end.
Castlebar Mitchels in contrast were made to work hard for their win over a tough and resolute Ballaghaderreen side who went toe to toe with the Mitchels for 40 minutes, but Declan O'Reilly's side never panicked and continued to go through their process and ran out strong six point winners in the end. Mitchels welcomed back Ger McDonagh, Paddy Durcan and Barry Moran to the starting line up for that game, but it was a less heralded member of their side Cian Costello who was the fulcrum to much of their good work. Costello buzzed up and down the field and linked the play brilliantly, while Neil Dogulas kept the scoreboard ticking over early on.
There'll be very little between these sides when Liam Devanney blows the full time whistle on Sunday. Picking a winner before last weekend's games most would have edged with the defending county and provincial champions, but after their devastating display last weekend, Ballintubber have positioned themselves nicely. It'll probably come down to whatever sides defence holds up the best, no easy task with both sides boasting plenty of attacking threats.
Verdict: Castlebar Mitchels