Moving day for senior hopefuls

GAA: Mayo SFC Round 2

Deadly Douglas: Neil Douglas will be looking to drive Castlebar Mitchels to victory this weekend. Photo: Sportsfile.

Deadly Douglas: Neil Douglas will be looking to drive Castlebar Mitchels to victory this weekend. Photo: Sportsfile.

It's round two of the Mayo Senior Football Championship this weekend, with eight games across the four groups down for decision on Saturday and Sunday. Once this weekend of action is over, the picture of who'll be in the last eight and who'll be battling it out to avoid relegation will become much clearer, we preview the action across all the four groups.

Group One

Westport v Charlestown

Saturday, June 17 at 7.30pm

In Westport

This group was always poised to be a tough one for all four sides and with two draws on day one it has panned out that way so far. The visitors will feel that they let the win slip through their hands against Knockmore after building up a healthy early lead, only to be pegged back by last year's beaten county fianlists in the third quarter. Westport had a right ding dong battle with Garrymore in round one of the championship with that one going right down to the wire. Both sides will be looking for their county men to push them on Lee Keegan (Westport ) and Tom Parsons (Charlestown ), home advantage could be a key deciding factor in this one.

Verdict: Westport

Knockmore v Garrymore

Saturday, June 17 at 5.30pm

In Knockmore

This is one of the classic Mayo senior championship rivalries going back through the decades, two of the grand old clubs in Mayo going face to face. Knockmore will be happy enough having got out of their opening day encounter with Charlestown with a point to their name after they trailed heavily early on in that one. The north Mayo men have been a model of consistency over the past few years getting to the latter stages of the competition, while Garrymore have shown flashes of ability. Garry' will feel they should have taken a win in round one against the All Ireland intermediate champions - they won't fear the trip to north Mayo, but the homeside could have just to much for them.

Verdict: Knockmore

Group Two

Davitts v Ballaghaderreen

Saturday, June 17 at 7pm

In Ballindine

Both these sides head into this one on the back of two serious trimmings from the other two teams in this group in round one. A win here could be vital in avoiding the relegation play-off later on this year. The homeside will feel they didn't show their true self against Breaffy in round one, with none of the traditional fight you'd associate with the border men on show that day. Ballagh' were blitzed at home themselves by Hollymount-Carramore in round one, going down by 18 points to the south Mayo men. Both sides have experienced spines with Colm Boyle, Michael Conory and Ronan McNamara for Davitts and Andy Moran, David Drake and Barry Regan to the fore there for Ballagh.

Verdict: Davitts

Hollymount-Carramore v Breaffy

Saturday, June 17 at 5pm

In Carramore

The home side caused the surprise and put in the performance of round one with a stunning dismantling of Ballaghaderreen on the road and they'll head into this one full of confidence. The south Mayo men saw Kevin Ferrick run riot and bag 2-6 in that one, it'll be hard to see him getting the same kind of return against Breaffy, but they'll fancy their chances. The loss of Conor O'Shea and Brian Howley since round one will lead to a reshuffle for the visitors, with Seamus O'Shea who had been playing at centre back probably being forced into a more advanced role now for them. Having made a couple of county finals in recent times, Breaffy want to go one better this year, and they should have enough at the end here.

Verdict: Breaffy

Group Three

Kiltane v Claremorris

Saturday, June 17 at 6pm

In Bangor-Erris

The visitors on Saturday were involved in what was one of the most exciting games of the championship in recent years in round one, where they fought back from what looked like a few hammer blows against Aghamore to grab a draw at home in blistering sunshine. James Shaughnessy was in deadly accurate form from placed balls that day, nailing eight points for his side and they'll need him in top form again this weekend. The home side went down by 10 points to Ballintubber in round one on the road and they'll be licking their lips at the chance of taking down a fancied side at home on Saturday evening. Championship games in Bangor-Erris are special occasions and if the likes of Mikie Sweeney Ultan Corrigan and John Reilly can get going they'll be a tough task for the visitors.

Verdict: Claremorris

Aghamore v Ballintubber

Saturday, June 17 at 7.30pm

In Aghamore

These sides met in the final group game last year when it was all up for grabs for both sides and Ballintubber did what they have become accustomed to doing, winning games when needed in an efficient way. For the home side, they'll be looking to get a win under their belts after drawing in round one with Claremorris, and big games will be looked to from the likes of Alan Freeman, Fergal Boland, and Brendan Harrision to get them going. Ballitubber of course can draw on the quality of the likes of the O'Connor brothers, Jason Gibbons, Conor Finnerty, and Stephen O'Malley in their quest to make it two wins from two in the championship. It should be a humdinger of a game, but the visitors experience should shade it their way.

Verdict: Ballintubber

Group Four

Ballina v Crossmolina

Saturday, June 17 at 7.30pm

In Ballina

A decade ago this would have been the big one and people would come from all over to watch the two north Mayo giants go toe to toe, but times have changed and they are no longer dining at the top table of football in the county. But that doesn't mean that it's not going to be an entertaining and high stakes contest on Saturday night. Crossmolina went down by 11 points to Castlebar Mitchels in round one and they need to pick up a win on Sunday if they are going to harbour any ambitions of making it out of this group. Conor Loftus and Fionan Duffy have serious potential to cause problems for the Ballina defence, while the home side will bank on David Clarke and Ger Cafferkey keeping things tight at the back, and hope Evan Regan can cause problems up front for their visitors. It's a tough one to call, but maybe the homeside have just enough.

Verdict: Ballina

Castlebar v Ballinrobe

Sunday, June 18 at 2pm

In Castlebar

The big question at the start of the championship was could anyone stop Castlebar's march to another county title. Ballinrobe probably won't be that side and on Sunday they are facing a massive test against the Mitchels' men. The south Mayo men were involved in a cracking game against Ballina in round one, but that was no consolation when they emerged from it without the points. Mitchels have quality in abundance all over the park, with the likes of Paddy Durcan, Donie Newcombe, and Ger McDonagh locking things down at the back and Neil Douglas, David Stenson, and Danny Kirby up front all able to cause serious damage.

Verdict: Castlebar.


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