Champs crash out, Breaffy best Ballagh

Photo: @BreaffyGAA

I’ve said it before but it merits saying it again – this is the best Mayo football Championship in ages.

Two local battles played out at an eerily empty MacHale Park were given national treatment this evening, with both games broadcast live on RTÉ2. Two cracking matches they were too.

In the evening’s opening Moclair Cup quarter-final clash, the spoils went to Ray Dempsey’s brave and gutsy young Knockmore side. They squared up confidently to back-to-back county champions Ballintubber and pushed the pace all the way in this lively encounter.

The first danger sign for the Tubbermen came when Darren McHale grabbed Knockmore’s first goal, the centre-forward finishing confidently after being fed superbly by Aidan Orme. That goal came just after the twenty-minute mark and Knockmore led by a single point at half-time.

The champions drew first blood after the break to draw level. But it was a game in which they’d never lead and the North Mayo lads – now with the fresh breeze at their backs – soon hit back, points from Aidan Orme and Peter Naughton edging them two in front.

Ballintubber suffered a significant setback when Diarmuid O’Connor landed awkwardly as he rose to intercept a ball being played inside as Knockmore broke rapidly from the back. Diarmuid had been muted enough up until then and, although he battled on after the incident, he was unable to have any impact on the game at all after that.

Just before the second water break Darren McHale bagged his second goal for the challengers. Bearing down rapidly on goal, he took advantage of the defender running across the unsighted ‘keeper to plant the ball past Brendan Walsh to the net.

There was no way back for the treble-chasing champions from there. All Knockmore had to do was keep the scoreboard ticking over, which they did via points from Kevin McLoughlin, Darren McHale, Peter Naughton (from a mark) and Aidan Orme. They were worthy 2-11 to 0-12 winners at the finish.

The evening’s second match was the proverbial game of two halves. A glut of goals early on – three of them scored by a confident Ballaghaderreen team – had Breaffy on the ropes and it looked for a time then that this game might run away from then.

Cian Hanley was playing a stormer for Ballagh’ in this period but he then picked up two rather harsh yellow cards in fairly quick succession. While this blow didn’t affect them straight away, having to play with fourteen men for more than 40 minutes was a burden Ballagh’ simply weren’t able to carry.

They still went in at the break four to the good and then stretched that lead to five on the resumption. That point, from a Kuba Callaghan free, turned out to be their only score of an increasingly lopsided second half, as Breaffy first reeled them in and then proceeded to go to town on the scoreboard.

Using the extra man to double-team Andy Moran inside, Breaffy were able to blunt the effectiveness of the 2017 Footballer of the Year. Andy had been on fire in the first half, scoring his team’s first goal and having a hand in the other two as he used all his experience and guile to great effect. Bottled up inside after the break, though, Andy found it increasingly hard to get on the ball at all and Ballagh’s inventiveness in attack withered on the vine.

Breaffy laboured for a good while in that second half, though, before they finally got going. Matthew Ruane had had a quiet first half but when he stormed forward to claim Breaffy’s second goal of the evening coming up to the water break, it had the feel of a breakthrough score for them. It was.

From then to the end, the Breaffy lads went on the rampage. After Matty’s goal they piled on a further 2-7 without reply to win by a massive thirteen points. That was rough justice on Ballaghaderreen who naturally will think back on Cian Hanley’s unlucky dismissal as a huge turning point in this contest.

So out go champions Ballintubber and last year’s beaten finalists Ballaghaderreen, with Knockmore and Breaffy marching on to next weekend’s semi-finals. Knockmore will face the winners of tomorrow’s quarter-final between Ballina Stephenites and Aghamore while Breaffy are set to meet whoever prevails from Westport’s meeting with The Neale. Two rematches of closely fought group games could well be on the cards in next week’s penultimate round.

Elsewhere today, Garrymore secured their Senior status for next year by getting the better of Bohola Moy Davitts in the first relegation semi-final. They won that one by 2-13 to 1-9. Claremorris play Charlestown in the second relegation semi tomorrow.

In the Intermediate Championship today Balla came out on top in their derby clash with Mayo Gaels. This was a closely fought contest, in which Balla struck for a late decisive goal to seal a 1-12 to 0-10 win.

In the day’s other IFC qurter-final Hollymount/Carramore crushed Bonniconlon by 4-13 to 0-8, while Ballyhaunis were far too strong for Islandeady in the relegation play-off semi-final. They won that one by 0-19 to 0-6.

Finally, in the JFC there were quarter-final wins today for Kilmeena, who beat Achill by 1-11 to 1-7, and Shrule/Glencorrib, who saw off Killala by 0-14 to 1-8.

29 thoughts on “Champs crash out, Breaffy best Ballagh

  1. Watched all three games and its a pity that two sending off went along way to sealing their sides fate. Both desired and both men having great games prior.Cian Hanley hopefully he is over his injuries and i was very impressed with Gerry Canavan he was having a great game for Mayo gaels before his moment of madness, he kicked some crazy scores as did James Jennings. Huge thanks to Mayogaatv for highlighting the talent around the county, some great young players coming through like U2O players this year Paul Towey, Mark Moran, Kuba Callaghan the aforementioned Jennings and hopefully Dylan Prendergast can stick around, also have to mention a few young defenders like keiran king, David McBrien, Rory brickenden and Ben Doyle all have shown up as key players for their clubs in the last couple of weeks. Huge potential. Looking forward to seeing the Neale tomorrow against Westport, see how Tommy Conroy does against the tight marking Doyle also hope the Neale get Padraig Walsh on the Field another player who has a lot to offer.

  2. @mayomessi you got there before me in relation to Gerry Canavan 🙂 I watched Balla v Mayo Gaels. Gerry Canavan looked the best forward I seen all weekend. From following I recall Canavan being good, athletic but a bit light to think about senior. He looked really explosive off the mark yesterday., He has gained muscle in the legs especially and was still agile and athletic.
    I really like how a good few young players are showing well in unison, in my view bring as many as will commit in as developing players.
    Colm Reape is worth looking at in goals.
    Ben Doyle and Paul Lambert as players suited to marking smaller agile forwards.
    Mark Moran looks a playmaker with pace.
    I’d look closely at Pat Lambert as a pacey Niall Scully type half forward.
    David McBrien looked one of the most in control defenders in the senior championship and he’s a good big physical player.
    Kieran King looked a very in control of his play defender.
    Connell Dempsey for just out of minor already looks to have that extra bit of county class. Why waste time on waiting 2-3 years. Get him in on a senior development program.
    Aidan Orme moving well, if Darren McHale keeps that up worth a call. All three McHale brothers looked like they spent lock down lifting iron.
    Peter Naughton the case is always could he gain more physicality which he would need. Skills and football brain wise one of the best in the county.
    I’ve liked Mikey Murray and think he can develop further.
    Gavin Durcan looked a big athletic player with potential. We need some big powerful runners we are short in that department.
    Enda Hession a pacey accurate player.
    Frank Irwin like Connel Dempsey just has that county player extra. He will be a strong senior.

  3. Thanks Lucero, I just double-checked that on the highlights (which I should have done last night as I wasn’t clear on it but forgot to) and you are, of course, correct. I’ve amended the piece now. It was a hell of a pass!

  4. Really enjoyed those two games yesterday. The club championship has been a blessing, it would have been a completely lost summer without it. Very hard to call the eventual winners. Breaffy would appear favourites, but there’s always this nagging doubt about them. They rely so much on the O’Shea’s to drag them through most games.
    Serious thought has to now go into this 2 part season idea. Club games played in the summer months make for such a great spectacle, they deserve to stay there, or at least have a couple of the summer months dedicated solely to them. It makes such a difference when the games aren’t played in pissing rain and gale force winds.
    I’ve hardly missed the inter county at all this year due to the quality of the various club championships.

    Great stuff there JP, always interesting to hear about how various players throughout the county are developing.

  5. The club championships have been brilliant this year, badly needed distraction for everyone. Really enjoyed both televised games yday and there was a classic between killyclogher and trillick in Tyrone champo on Friday night too.

    County lads seem to be performing better for their clubs this year, which stands to reason. Often they are coming off the back of a long gruelling (often deflating) inter County season as they go straight into club champo. This year they are able to go full tilt for clubs and it shows

    Thoughts on yday…
    – 1st game was fantastic. Really high quality stuff. I’ve been waiting for knockmore to kick on for years now so yday felt significant. Orme and Darren McHale both outstanding. Gibbons at midfield excellent for tubber. Motm though was the kmore centerback King, will keep an eye out for him in future
    -second game was weird, no way were breaffy 13 points a better team. Cracking game for first 25 minutes but the double blow of losing Hanley and drake ended the game as a contest. Breaffy play a pressing game and you need the full compliment so losing 2 of their top guys screwed them. Taut conor o’shea was the top performer in this game.

    Its all wide open now, I believe there are 5 teams who genuinely fancy their chances of winning it

  6. This club championship is just getting better and better. Some class footballers putting there hands up. Naughton. Hanley. Hav to get more mayo game time. Big strong athletic men what’s needed

  7. Very high standard of football played at McHale park yesterday and hoping for more of the same today. Credit to rte for sending down some of their big hitters to cover them but I thought the commentators and co coms could have shown a bit more respect to the players by getting their names right, or at least getting the team they played for correct. Apart from that annoince it was a very enjoyable evening with quality play and future mayo stars in the making.

  8. Have just seen highlights so far which looked very good – Conor O’Shea caught my eye. Will get to the heavy lifting late with the recorder.

    Key factors on club scene are:

    * There’s nothing else!!
    * County players have had rest (which they needed badly)
    *County players now totally committed to the club
    *Clubs don’t have to worry about other competitions at all levels

    Great player tracking there by JP and Mayo Messi. The number of young players coming through is heartening and even some we thought had had it at inter county level are raising their hands again: Conor O’Shea and Cian Hanley come to mind.

  9. MAN OF THE MATCH. Hopefully WJ you will consider running a man of the match from the weekend matches. Maybe that’s not possible, but some Excellent individual performances in last evenings games

  10. Cillian O’connor form/fitness is a big worry. We may have to look elsewhere for a free taker.

  11. Anyone watching the art of scoring from Eoghan Lavin, Last 3 points from play have been exceptional. Fionan Duffy and Lavin have to be in the top handful of free takers in the county, really has been textbook today.

  12. Coverage is terrible on mayogaatv. Frozen most of the time. Is it wifi/equipment or what?? Every day/game there are some problems. Is anyone else having issues? Over to midwest for rest of game.

  13. What ages are Darren McHale and the Knockmore centre back? Both were outstanding yesterday. The composure for the 2 goals was fantastic

  14. Keiran king is u21 this year, he was part of the Mayo U20 panel in 2019. Darren Mchale played U21 for Mayo in 2015 same group as Paddy and James Durcan, James Street, Adam Gallagher Sean Regan and Eoghan Lavin

  15. Poor service all day by Mayo TV. If one pays for something, it should work. Just heard of a great idea by Conor Diskin for Charlestown club to stream semis and final. Cost of ticket to go to the memorial pitch fund.

  16. Maybe this is anecdotal, but I remember whole years in a row of club championships and it would be quite thin in terms of senior potential players.

  17. Any player receiving a yellow card should be hauled off for obvious reasons. While the Mayo snr club championship has been engaging for committed club followers I doubt if club fare in general does much for the GAA brand nationally. Having a dedicated 6mths for club competitions runs a high risk of soft-GAA-supporter leakage. (we need to avoid reaching conclusions derived from the views of ardent club members/followers alone, as GAA stakeholder pool far out-numbers that)

  18. I really enjoyed the four quarter – finals.i watched them on rte 2 on saturday and it was great to see stephen rochford .the weight of the world seems to have lifted from his shoulders .he now looks very relaxed and seems to be recovering well from the finals of 2016 and 2017.I am not happy with the county board having repeat fixtures in the semi-finals when it could have so easily being avoided.the semi-final draw should have been today after the ballina game today and repeat fixtures avoided if would have given us better matches in the semi-finals.i think this will be breaffy’s year to win it out as it is nearly last chance saloon for breaffy

  19. I also think teams that played in the same groups should always be on opposite sides of the draw thus avoiding both of next week fixtures, Had problems with coverage today missed the 1st quarter of the kiltimagh game and really the first half except for 5 minutes of the ballina game, sound was also poor in the second half, Mike Finnerty was clear but couldn’t hear what John Maughan nor Declan Reilly had to say. Maybe they should think go head sets as Angelina seems to struggle holding that mike. Hopefully they can get things back on track for the semis

  20. We should set up a petition to lobby the government to drop the restrictions for the semi finals next weekend!

  21. Don’t know which Tyrone club match John Maughan was referring to but he stated that 400 supporters were allowed in to watch the game , surely it should be a level playing field for all teams left in the competition as far as supporters go

  22. Felt a bit sorry for Ballaghdereen, they had Breaffy in all sorts of bother early on. The Hanley sending off was very much the turning point especially since Ballaghdereen had gifted a goal, they should have been 8 or 9 up. I disagree with the pundits though, it was a sending off. The first one was a bit of a lunge with no intended malice but the 2nd caught the defender on the jaw and he has no excuse. Pity as he was a real playmaker up to then. Breaffy to their credit didn’t panic, reeled them in eventually and really kicked on from then. Strange in that they could have easily won a game where the final score showed a hammering.

  23. Totally agree with Mayomessi coverage was awful, had the same problems as him but did enjoy what i eventually seen, think Knockmore looked very good and should be a great game with Ballina, i think that’s the final eventhough i like Westport style and would like to see them win it out.

  24. It will be interesting to see if the well worn phrase is proven correct next weekend, ” you only learn from a loss”,
    Should make it a Breaffy/Knockmore final then.

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