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The first weekend of the Mayo GAA senior championship had a little bit of everything including one side lining up their entire 15 players in their own half for the start of the second half of their game, a heroic struggle between Mayo men Aidan O’Shea and Colm Boyle against each other for the pride of the parish, the return of Cillian O’Connor to action for Ballintubber and late, late fight back from Kiltane to break the hearts of Shrule-Glencorrib who made the long trip to Bangor.
A two goal first half salvo from Aidan O’Shea inspired Breaffy to their first win in the Mayo GAA Senior Football League this season as they saw off local rivals Castlebar Mitchels in Munnelly Park in Castlebar on Sunday. Both sides lined out with out key players for this contest with Seamus O’Shea serving a one match suspension for Breaffy after being dismissed early in their loss to Ballintubber a fortnight ago, while for Castlebar Mitchels neither Tom Cunniffe or Patrick Durcan were available for selection.
Ballintubber opened up their account in the Breaffy House Senior Football League with a nine point win over Breaffy in a West Mayo derby on Saturday evening. The senior county champions were short a number of their key men going into the game with Cillian O’Connor, Alan Dillon and Jason Gibbons all ruled out of the match due to injury. The hosts had a strong side out for this league opener but with 12 minutes gone on the clock, Breaffy had been reduced to 13 player after both Seamus and Aidan O’Shea were both shown straight red cards by referee Kevin Connelly who was left no choice in the matter by either player.
The Connacht Championship will throw-in, in three weeks time when Galway cross the Atlantic to take on New York, but Mayo are now in a holding pattern for the next nine weekends, until they in all probability take on Galway in Pearse Stadium in the Connacht semi-final. By that stage the Tribesmen should have two wins under their belts as they are down to face Leitrim a fortnight after their Big Apple adventure.
When they took over the job of joint Mayo managers, Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly’s first competitive priority would have been to ensure that Mayo maintained their top flight status. With one game to go it looks like the duo will achieve that target, at least unless we ship a serious loss to Donegal and Tyrone overcome Kerry by a handful of points. So a win for Mayo on Sunday will send them into the semi-finals on either Saturday or Sunday week.
If one incident defined how much more Dublin were up for this game that Mayo it was when early in the second half, Aidan O’Shea got in behind the Dublin defence. He stumbled but fed the ball to Mark Ronaldson, who pulled the trigger. But out of nowhere Denis Bastick got back to not only block the ball, but gather it and break clear. It was an outstanding feat of athleticism and brilliance by the Ballymun Kickhams man.
Mayo could be without one of their key attackers for their meeting with Dublin next Saturday night, joint manager Noel Connelly revealed on Sunday after his teams win over Derry in Celtic Park.
The Mayo management have continued their rotation policy for Sunday’s game against Derry in round four of the National Football League. Mayo have made a total of five changes from last weeks starting 15.
In what was a battle of black and blue in Killarney, Mayo started their national league campaign by showing their respect for Kerry by forming a guard of honor for the All Ireland champions when they entered the field.
Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly got their senior management tenure off to a winning start in Elverys MacHale Park on Sunday. The fare on show wasn't anything that will be remembered for long, but it got a few miles in the legs of a a couple of new and some returning faces in green and red.