Champions get off to winning ways

GAA: Mayo GAA SFC Round One

Neil Douglas and his four-in-a-row chasing teammates got their Mayo SFC defence off to a winning start this weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Neil Douglas and his four-in-a-row chasing teammates got their Mayo SFC defence off to a winning start this weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

The champions Castlebar Mitchels got their defence of the Moclair Cup off to a winning start with a 15 point win, running out 2-18 to 1-6 over Ballina Stephenites on Saturday night in group one of the Mayo Senior Football Championship.

The game was also of interest with Donal Vaughan making his first appearance for the county town men off the bench following his transfer from Ballinrobe at the end of last season.

Castlebar led by 0-8 to 0-5 at the break, but it was a early second half burst where the scored 2-4 without reply that gave them the winning start to their quest for four in a row.

James Durcan was involved in both goals, setting up Danny Kirby for the first and being fouled for a penalty that was dispatched by Neil Douglas for his sides second.

The game also saw the return to action of Ballina Stephenites and Mayo forward Evan Regan from injury for the first time after being injured playing for Mayo against Kerry in the league earlier this spring.

The other game in the group was an all east Mayo derby with Ballaghaderreen causing a bit of a surprise by seeing off Aghamore by four points.

The border men led 1-7 to 0-1 at the break, with Gavin Conway finding the back of the net for the hosts after a strong run by Sharoize Akram, who put in a fine display for his side.

Aghamore fought their way back into the game in the second half with county panelist Fergal Boland very much to the fore for his side along with Alan Freeman.

But it wasn’t to be for the visitors as Ballagh’ were able to hang on at the end and get their championship off to a winning start, the game also saw Cian Hanley continue his return to gaelic football after his return to the game following his stint playing Aussie Rules in Brisbane.

Saturday night also saw another shock with Charlestown beating Knockmore in the Centre of Excellence in Bekan in group two.

Last year the two sides were engaged in an epic encounter in round one which finished in a draw, but this year the Sarsfields men were three point winners.

Knockmore hit the back of the net with their first attack through Sean Ruttledge and went in leading by 1-5 to 0-5 at the break, with Alan Loftus and Peter Naughton also impressing with scores for the north Mayo men.

But it was the east Mayo side who did the damage when it mattered in the second half with Jack Reilly leading the way for them on the scoreboard along with points from Joe McBrien and Colm Maye.

The game was level going down the home straight when Paddy Lenehan edged Charlestown in front 0-12 to 1-8 and the same man found the net from close range with two minutes to go to get the vital score that saw his side hang on for a three point win and two vital championship points.

The second game in group two took place on Sunday afternoon as last years intermediate champions Bohola Moy Davitts welcomed Garrymore to their home patch.

It was the visitors who went home the happiest running out three point winners, they led 1-7 to 0-5 at the break - with veteran Jimmy Killeen getting the all important goal for for the south Mayo outfit.

Mark Tierney bagged his sides second goal after good work by Myles Fallon in the third quarter of the game and looked to have his side well set up for victory.

But Moy Davitts showed last year they aren’t beaten right until the final whistle and the came right back into the game with a Brian Henegahan goal.

They closed the gap back to three points and had a chance to salvage a point right at the death, but Brian Reape’s short range free was blocked on the line by the Garrymore defenders.

In group three James Horan’s Westport got their championship off to a winning start by running out big winners against the former top dogs of the game in the county Crossmolina Deel Rovers on their own patch.

Westport rand out 2-12 to 0-8 winners, with Lewis Cawley getting a first half goal send his side in leading 1-7 to 0-3 at the break and Fionn McDonnagh bagging the 2017 All Ireland intermediate champions second to ensure they were going home with the points.

Last years beaten semi-finalists, Claremorris had four points to spare over Hollymount-Carramore on Saturday evening in this south Mayo derby.

Brian Gallagher’s goal four minutes from the break, was the key score in the opening 30 minutes which saw Claremorris leading by 1-5 to 0-3 at the short whistle.

Hollymount-Carramore did work their way back into the game with Darren Coen landing a number of points to eat into the Claremorris lead and it wasn’t until David Gannon’s goal not long before time the outcome of this one was decided.

In group four Last years beaten finalists, Ballintubber picked up two points from their visit to the south Mayo border to face Davitts.

Alan Plunkett and Josh Roynane scored goals for their respective sides in the first half which saw both sides finish on level pegging.

But in the second half, Ballintubber drove on with Alan Dillon driving them on from his play-making role along with Jason Gibbons in the middle of the park to run out four point winners.

Breaffy and Kiltane played out a feisty encounter in group four with the west Mayo men holding out a late surge from their visitors to record a three point win.

Rob Hennelly struck five long range points from placed balls for Breaffy, with Conor O’Shea chipping in with 1-5 and rangy full-forward Gary Walsh scoring three first half scores.

Kiltane rallied well in the closing stages of both half with John Reilly in good form from placed balls kicking six over the hour and Mikie Sweeney bagging his sides goal in the second half.

Darragh Carey had chance from the penalty spot midway through the second half, but his effort flew just wide of the right hand post and at the end there was just three points between the team.

Mayo GAA SFC Round One Results 

Group One

Castlebar Mitchels Football 2-18 Ballina Stephenites 1-6

Ballaghaderreen 1-11 Aghamore 0-10

Group Two

Charlestown Sarsfields 1-12 Knockmore 1-9

Bohola Moy Davitts 1-12 Garrymore 2-12

Group Three

Hollymount-Carramore 0-9 Claremorris 2-7

Crossmolina Deel Rovers 0-8 Westport 2-12

Group Four

Davitts 1-9 Ballintubber 1-13

Breaffy 1-15 Kiltane 1-12

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