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The meeting of Castlebar Mitchels and Knockmore in north Mayo on Saturday evening tops the billing in round two of the Mayo GAA Senior Football League this weekend. The sides met in last year's senior county final with the Mitchels running out winners that day against the north Mayo men.
Following their victory on the road in Tralee a fortnight ago, all eyes will be turned to MacHale Park tomorrow evening when Mayo host Roscommon in the third round of the National Football League. Whenever these sides meet, be it in pre-season competition on wet and boggy fields or in the height of summer, there is never an inch given by either side and tomorrow night's encounter is expected to be a similar encounter.
Mayo wrappeded up their FBD League run for 2017 with a remarkable win over Roscommon on Sunday, we look back on a that win and pick out a few talking points. You can read our match report at http://www.advertiser.ie/mayo/article/89983/moran-seals-miracle-ending-for-mayo
It’s a long way from the business end of the year, but the determination shown by Mayo to dig out what looked like an impossible victory as the game moved towards the end of normal time and they trailed by five points is something that will warm the spirits of the Mayo faithful ahead of their league opener against Monaghan in a fortnights time.
It may still only be January, but the meeting of Mayo and Roscommon at any stage of the season is always an encounter to look forward to, and on Sunday Mayo will make the long trek to Kiltoom to take on their neighbours in the final round of the FBD League.
Mayo picked up their first win of the season with a six point win over IT Sligo in Ballina on Sunday, but they will have to serious up their performance if they are to pick up a second win next weekend when they face Roscommon in their final group game of the FBD League and improve even more two weeks later when they host Monaghan in the opening round of the National Football League. That was the message from Mayo manager Stephen Rochford post their win on Sunday.
It’s unlikely that you’ll ever see this combination of Mayo players ever line out together again for a competitive fixture, but it gave a number of players a taste of what it’s like in the big leagues they’ll not forget and some others who have serious designs on being around there for a long time plenty to work on.
The last time that the Mayo senior footballers were in action was the heartbreaking All Ireland senior final replay defeat to Dublin and since then they have been the talk of the country following an interview by their former managers. Almost all of that squad are currently on a team holiday in South Africa so for this Sunday's FBD League opener, it is going to be a very different looking Mayo side for supporters to get their voices behind for the first time this year, and concentrate on things on the field rather than off the field.
Croke Park on the first Saturday in October will be the defining memory for a lot of Mayo GAA supporters that they take with them into 2017, but while there's still great disappointment that the Mayo senior footballers fell short at the final fence following a fantastic effort, there is still much to celebrate coming out of 2017.
Castlebar Mitchels moved a step closer to defending their Mayo senior championship on Sunday, seeing off Ballintubber by 1-11 to 1-5 in MacHale Park. Declan O’Reilly’s men were the better side throughout the contest, but it wasn’t until late in the day they managed to shake off the challenge of their arch rivals from not to far away.