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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.
After a weekend without any action in the top divisions of the Mayo GAA senior leagues, round two of the senior football leagues. Ballintubber who saw off Breaffy in round one in an ill tempered affair that saw both Seamus and Aidan O’Shea along with Ruaidhri O’Connor get red carded will host Ballina Stephenites on Sunday afternoon. The north Mayo men went down by a single point to Hollymount-Carramore in the first round of games and facing the defending championship winners will be another serious examination for them early on this season. The aforementioned men from south Mayo will host another north Mayo outfit when Knockmore come calling on Sunday afternoon. Knockmore earned a hard-fought point in their first game when they drew 1-8 a piece with Kiltane thanks to a last-gasp, Kieran Lanagan goal a fortnight ago.
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.
It's not to often that you see a team come out for the second half of a game in different coloured jerseys from the ones the started the contest in, but that's what happened in MacHale Park on Sunday afternoon. Both Castlebar Mitchels and Garrymore were allowed to start the county semi-final in their home red jerseys, despite the only defining difference between the strips, being the yellow piping on the county towns shirts.
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.
Elvery’s MacHale Park is the place to be this weekend, when the best eight senior club teams in the county do battle for a place in the semi-finals of this year’s club championship.
The second round of games in the Treanlaur Catering Mayo Senior Football Championship saw plenty of action and excitement over the last two days. The defending champions, Castlebar Mitchels laid down another marker of their intentions to retain their title with a top drawer display against the former star attractions of the competition Crossmolina Deel Rovers in MacHale Park on Sunday afternoon in group one. The county town men rand out 2-22 to 1-5 winners showing little hospitality for their guests on the field. Mitchels hit an impressive 1-11 in each half of the game and went in leading 1-11 to 0-1 at the break as their powered through the Crossmolina defence at will. The Mitchels were superior in every area of the field with their inter-changeable attack and midfield players running riot against a weakened Deel Rovers side.
With just two league games under their belts for the 16 senior clubs in the county, the race for the Moclair Cup gets under way this weekend with eight games across the four groups in the Treanlaur Catering Mayo GAA senior football championship getting going to the whistle over Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.
Two weeks on from the pain of Croke Park, it's back to playing for the pride of the parish this weekend as the quarter-finals and relegation semi-finals of the Treanlaur Catering Senior Football Championships take place. MacHale Park in Castlebar will host two double headers of last eight action on Saturday and Sunday, with the entertainment getting under way with the meetings of Castlebar Mitchels and Ballina Stepehenites at 3.30pm and Charlestown and Garrymore at 5pm tomorrow. The first game is, on paper, probably the game of the weekend, with the two most successful sides in the history of the competition going toe-to-toe. Pat Holmes' Castlebar men go into the game as favourites after blitzing their way through the group stages, which included a comprehensive win over fellow last eight side Breaffy. Holmes' team have been knocking at the door of winning the Moclair Cup for the first time since the early 90s and this year could be their time. With Barry Moran, Tom Cunniffee (if he is fit after having gone off at half-time in the All Ireland final) and Richie Feeney back in situ, alongside the likes of Danny Kirby, Aidan Walsh, Neil Douglas, Alan Feeney, and Ciaran Naughton, Mitchels have the player power to over-run any team in the grade. Not that Ballina will be any pushovers. John Healy's side will have to do without inspirational goalkeeper David Clarke, who had not recovered enough to take any part in Mayo's All Ireland series campaign. Healy will be able to call on experienced players of the calibre of Ronan McGarrity, Pat Harte, Ger Cafferkey, and Eanna Casey; while Evan Regan could have a major impact up front if he gets going. This time last year Ballina were staring down the barrel of the relegation gun after a horrible season, but they have pulled themselves together this year and will not give up without a fight. But when all is said and done, Castlebar should just have too much for them.
Fresh off the back of their trouncing of Roscommon last Sunday, the best that Mayo have will be back in the colours of their clubs as round two of the Mayo senior and intermediate championships take centre stage this weekend.