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They didn’t quite hit the net as many times as they did against Knockmore in the semi-final two years ago, but Ballintubber laid down a serious marker of intent in MacHale Park on Sunday afternoon, hammering Garrymore by 6-14 to 1-8 to set up a mouthwatering semi-final showdown against Castlebar Mitchels next weekend.
The sun shone across the county all weekend and while the thoughts of many would have been about 99’s and lounging on the beaches from Keem to Old Head, but for the club footballers around Mayo this wasn’t a weekend for soaking up the sun.
When St Patrick's day rolls around Castlebar Mitchels will be hoping they are preparing for a perfect ten out of ten record in championship games in the All Ireland final. The Mayo and Connacht champions have played in and won eight championship games since they opened their account on a rainy Saturday evening in Josie Munnelly Park against Ballaghaderreen early last summer.
Two years ago Castlebar Mitchels travelled to Tuam Stadium as rank underdogs against a Corofin side that were expected to see them off with ease and set up a Connacht final with the then All Ireland champions St Brigid's. But football doesn't always go along expected lines and a dogged and fearless Castlebar Mitchels side, who rode their luck at times early on in that game, ground out a deserved victory to kick-start a journey that went all the way to St Patrick's Day.
After the start they got, Castlebar Mitchels made it much harder than it should have been as they booked their place in the Connacht Senior Club Final in a fortnights time with a four point win over Roscommon champions Clann na nGael in Hyde Park on Sunday.
Since the last time that these two neighbours came together in the senior championship, Breaffy have won their two league meetings, a 2-13 to 0-7 win in 2014, and a 3-9 to 1-12 victory in the spring of this year. But it is the meeting before those two that was the last big one, with Mitchels claiming their 28th senior title on a rain soaked day back in 2013.
What a feast of sport we had last Sunday. Two quality performances by Breaffy and Castlebar in the Mayo championship semifinals followed by as gutsy a performance as you are likely to see by the Irish Rugby team, only to be deflated by the Republic of Ireland soccer team failing to gain automatic qualification for the Euros when they were defeated by Poland.
It’ll be a red v blue final in MacHale Park in a fortnights time after Castlebar Mitchels secured their place in the county senior decider for the fifth time since 2010 on Sunday afternoon with a solid display against Knockmore.
It was always going to be a tough ask for Aghamore to turn over the 2013 champions in this game, they needed to keep things tight and tidy at the back and try and build up a lead they could hold on to going down the home stretch and hope that it would have triggered some doubts in the Mitchels minds.