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Garrymore picked up the first piece of senior silverware on Easter Monday, when they saw off Castlebar Mitchels to claim the Michael Walsh Cup in Ballinrobe, but this weekend the action proper gets under way with the first rounds of games in the Breaffy House Senior Football Leagues. The action in Division 1A, 1B, and 1C will throw in on Saturday evening, with Division 1E, 1D, and 1F getting under way on Sunday afternoon.
There is always something genuinely special about a day when your home club wins a big match and collects an important trophy.
Ballintubber go into their first senior provincial final as underdogs with the bookies, but the men from Clogher will be having no doubts in their own minds that they are up to the task on Sunday.
They knew they didn’t do themselves justice last year when they crashed out of the Mayo Senior Championship at the quarter-final stage and Ballintubber used that loss as motivation to drive them on this time around.
In sports management, it is often said that when a successful manager leaves a job, you want to be the guy, who follows the guy, who followed the successful guy. Because following in the immediate footsteps of someone who brought great success is a very tricky task to master. But when Pat Holmes decided that he was going to step away from the Castlebar Mitchels’ hot seat following their defeat in last March’s All Ireland final after guiding them to county and provincial glory for the first time in two decades, his two trusty lieutenants Shane Conway and Alan Nolan stepped up to fill gap and they have bought them back to the county final at the first time of asking.
Setting things right from their own point of view is something that has been driving on Ballintubber this year. To the outsider, a team that reaches three county finals on the bounce, winning two and getting knocked out at the last eight stage in another year, is probably doing all right. But not by the exacting high standards the club members have set from themselves. Joint manager Tony Duffy spoke to the Mayo Advertiser in the build up to Sunday’s senior county final, and he explained: “It wasn’t hard coming back, we’d set very high standards for ourselves in previous years in getting to three finals in a row and winning two of them. It was disappointing in 2012, we were tame enough the way we went out against Ballaghaderreen and last year it was just terrible and very frustrating end to the year. I suppose the writing was on the wall a few weeks out from that game against Knockmore. I suppose injuries to key players didn’t help, but that wouldn’t be an excuse we’re using. We didn’t do ourselves justice in any way or form and it was massively disappointing. At the start of this year, we were determined to put that right.” That is the drive and determination that has propelled them back to the final of the competition for the fourth time in five years. They are very happy with the way the season has panned out for them so far according to Duffy. “It’s gone well, we’ve won pretty much all our games so far, the only loss we had was to Castlebar in the group stages of the competition. We lost that narrowly and drew with them in the league which has been very satisfying and a testament to the work that all the lads have put in and the commitment they’ve shown, after a disappointing year last year and the year before.”
There were 16 teams when it started out, but only four remain as the semi-finals of the Mayo GAA senior football championship are down for decision in Elverys MacHale Park on Sunday afternoon.
The final pairing of this years Eagan Jewellers Mayo intermediate football championship should be known come sundown on Saturday evening after an exciting double header of action in Elverys MacHale Park. Belmullet were the last team to book their place in the final four last weekend when they finally saw off the challenge of Mayo Gaels following a replay in Ballina last Saturday evening. The north Mayo men had three points to spare over the Gaels in a 0-12 to 0-9 win, with Jonathan O'Donoghue's seven points playing a major role in their gallop towards the last four over the closing stages of the contest.
It was a hectic weekend of action in the Mayo GAA Senior Football Championship, with four quarter-finals and one relegation semi-final down for decision, along with a reply in the intermediate championship quarter-finals.