The first round of the Mayo GAA senior championship was played out under blazing sunshine last weekend and threw up a number of surprise results with Hollymount-Carramore's massive 4-15 to 1-6 win over Ballaghaderren probably the stand out performance, along with big wins for defending county champions Castlebar Mitchels and Breaffy.
All square across group one
The first game of the senior championship took place in Fr O'Hara Park in Charlestown early on Saturday evening and the hosts looked like they were on the way to a surprise win over visitors Knockmore, but when all was said and done, last year's beaten county finalists will feel they left this one behind them. Inside the first 10 minutes of the game Niall Murphy had hit the back of Aidan Kilcoyne's net to put Paul Jordan's men into a 2-3 to 0-0 lead. But Knockmore battled back and a goal from the impressive Peter Naughton (who finished up with 1-5 to his name ) just before the half time whistle gave the north Mayo men a foothold back in the game. Four minutes after the restart, Kevin McLoughlin lashed the ball to the back of Kenneth Brennan's goal and it was game one. Knockmore took control of the second half from then on, and Keith Ruttledge hit the levelling score three minutes from time, there was still time for each side to miss a few chances to grab the win, but at the final whistle it finished all square at 2-10 apiece.
In Garrymore on Saturday evening the All Ireland intermediate champions Westport looked like they were going to make a winning return to the senior ranks until a late Darren Quinn goal put a Garrymore side who had trailed most of the day into the lead. But Westport held their nerve and an injury time free from Alan Kennedy tied things up at 2-7 to 1-10 for both sides to share the spoils. Mark Tierney and Colm Moran hit first half goals for their sides, which Westport led 1-4 to 1-2 at the break.
Breaffy and Hollymount Carramore lay down markers
Just like last year the south Mayo men from Hollymount-Carramore pulled off one of the big surprises of the first round with their massive 18 point win over Ballaghaderreen in east Mayo. Kevin Ferrick hit the hosts for 2-7 and Conor Keane chipped in with 1-4 to backbone this win. Amazingly Tony Duffy's men also managed to miss two penalties along the way in this one.
The meeting of Breaffy and Davitts resulted in an easy win for the homeside who saw off the south Mayo men without really getting out of third gear at any stage. At the break Peter Ford's men led 2-8 to 0-3 with the goals coming from James Minogue and Gareth Dunne. They doubled up on the majors in the second half with Conor O'Shea (who scored 1-8, 6f ) and Aidan O'Shea with the aid of a deflection finding the back of the net in a routine win for the west Mayo men.
Tubber do the business, while epic ends in stalemate in Claremorris
On Saturday evening, Ballintubber did what was expected and picked up two points with a 10 point win over Kiltane at home. Cillian O'Connor led the way on the scoreboard with 1-9 of his side's total of 1-15 on the day – but only one of those points from O'Connor came from play.
When referee Charlie Collins blew the full time whistle in Claremorris on Sunday afternoon, there was a massive feeling of an anti-climax as both Claremorris and Aghamore had to settle for a draw. Both sides will be left wondering how they did not win this one, Claremorris hit 19 points and Aghamore rattled the back of their hosts net four times in this end to end game. At the interval Aghamore were leading by 2-3 to 0-7 thanks to goals from Robert Lyons and Alan Freeman, with James Shaugnessy's free taking keeping the south Mayo men in the game. The opening eight minutes of the second half saw Aghamore hit the back of the net twice more and looked to have the game wrapped up when Freeman hit his second and Sean Og Tighe hammered home the other. Those scores put their side into a 4-4 to 0-9 lead. Claremorris battled back with Shaughnessy leading the way, but it was an overall team effort with 10 players registering scores for Claremorris along the way. Colin Gill's point nine minutes from time pulled Claremorris level after a massive effort to reel in the Aghamore men, but just as they looked to have got on top of their guests Ross Egan and Freeman kicked two quick points to put Aghamore back in front. However, Claremorris were not for bending and a point from captain Adam Butler up from full back and a late Shaughnessy free – his eighth of the day — grabbed a point for John Mulkeen's men.
Champions get defence up and running
In group four of the senior championship, Castlebar Mitchels eased past Crossmolina Deel Rovers on their own patch running out 2-15 to 1-7 winners. David Stenson did the heavy lifting for Declan O'Reilly's men kicking seven points, while Eoghan O'Reilly and Danny Kirby both found the back of the net, with Neil Douglas kicking three points for the county town men.
The other game in the group saw Ballina Stephenites head home from Flanagan Park with two vital points in the bag after a 1-11 to 0-12 win over Ballinrobe. The hosts led 0-7 to 1-3 at the break, but Evan Regan's goal not long before the turnaround signalled a Ballina fight back. The second half saw the visitors outscore their hosts 0-8 to 0-5. Regan finished up the day with 1-4 while Darren McDonnell was the scorer in chief for Ballinrobe hitting eight points all from frees.