A feast of club football finals takes place at MacHale Park this weekend, bringing down the curtain on what’s been a hugely entertaining club Championship season.
It’s been a summer for of compelling contests and interesting sub-plots, with an extremely robust case being made all the while in favour of a split season between inter-county and club action. That’s something that seems to have happened all over the country and so it now looks like a case of when rather than if such a development will happen.
With inter-county training having now resumed and with exchequer funding bolstered by some borrowing by the GAA at central level underpinning a winter Championship, it looks like the focus will be shifting back in that direction once again before too long. But not before the Championship spoils at club level are first decided.
The action gets going at MacHale Park tomorrow afternoon with the JFC final between Kilmaine and Kilmeena. Kilmaine have been everyone’s favourites to claim the Junior title for the last few years but, for one reason or another, it hasn’t happened for them. Standing in their way tomorrow is a youthful Kilmeena side and that match gets underway at 5pm. A preview of the JFC final by Colm Gannon in the Mayo Advertiser is here.
A fascinating local derby awaits in the Intermediate final, which throws in at MacHale Park at 8pm tomorrow night. They may play much of their football, in particular at juvenile level, in separate divisions of the county but just seven miles separate Balla from Kiltimagh, the road connecting them a picturesque route that snakes along by the side of Sliabh Cairn.
There’s much more than local bragging rights at stake in this one. The Sweeney Cup is a difficult prize to bag and, of course, with it comes a ticket to Senior level for 2021. It has the makings of a cracking final. The game is previewed by Colm Gannon in the Mayo Advertiser (here) and Balla native Colin Sheridan has a sketch on the upcoming contest in the Mayo News (here).
Both of tomorrow’s matches and the Minor A final between Castlebar Mitchels and Ballina Stephenites on Sunday (throw-in 12pm) will be streamed live by Mayo GAA TV – full details here. The main event, the Moclair Cup decider between Breaffy and Knockmore, is being broadcast live on TG4 and it throws in at 3.35pm on Sunday.
It’s all but impossible to predict how Sunday’s Senior final will go. Knockmore get a fairly decisive 60:40 nod in the poll that’s been running all week here on the blog and I’m on record giving them an extremely hesitant vote myself, though, like many others, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if that guess proves wide of the mark.
Breaffy go into Sunday’s decider as favourites and the lads on the podcast all plumped for them to do it too. Colm Gannon in his big match preview for the Mayo Advertiser (here) goes for Breaffy as well, as does Ger Flanagan in the Mayo News (here).
If you’re one of the lucky people heading to MacHale Park tomorrow or Sunday to shout for your club then good on you. If you are heading in that direction, though, it’s worth reading in advance the advice issued by Mayo GAA about arrangements for patrons on the day – that’s here.
Up here in Covid Level 3.5 land, I’ll be following the weekend’s action on TV and online. An intriguing two days of football it promises to be where hopefully we’ll get to see deciders that will do justice to the level of quality displayed in the respective Championships to date. The best of luck to all of the teams in action this weekend.