Club action round-up

Another weekend of club championship action is over and, with it, the group stages of both the Senior and Intermediate championships have been concluded. It’s now down to the final eight contenders in both the SFC and the IFC, with the draw for the quarter-finals in both competitions set to take place at MacHale Park tomorrow night at 8.30pm.

I decided to travel west myself to sample a bit of the action this weekend. Yesterday I was in MacHale Park for the double-header featuring The Neale and Ardnaree followed by Ballintubber and Kiltane.

Neither contest was competitive. The Neale were out the gate within five minutes in the curtain-raiser, posting 1-2 without reply, which, on a wet afternoon playing in heavy, greasy conditions, was always going to be a hard lead to reel in. So it proved, as the impressive South Mayo team won with ease on a 1-16 to 1-8 scoreline.

It was good, though, to watch the match in the company of Pat Casey, who put in many a strong shift in his day for The Neale and who also saw action at inter-county level in 2006. Pat had plenty of detail to recount about the impressive work that’s being done at The Neale, which, on-field and off, seems to be a club that’s very much on the up at the present time. More power to them.

The second match at MacHale Park yesterday evening was even more one-sided. Kiltane never got out of the blocks at all, were completely overwhelmed around the middle and had no answer to Ballintubber’s attack led by a hungry and determined looking Cillian O’Connor.

There was a bit of first half skelping which resulted in both sides picking up straight reds but that was about as good as it got as regards entertainment. The match ended as a contest when Ballintubber walked their first goal into the net midway through the first half. Their margin of victory eventually swelled to nineteen points, the Tubbermen winning by 2-18 to 0-5.

The weather was far brighter at Gilmartin Park in Kiltimagh this afternoon. This venue – at which I last saw a match when Mayo lost to Down there in the League way back in 1983 – is but a short jaunt away from the ancestral home so was a handy one for me to catch another game before returning to Dublin later on.

This one also produced a decisive result – with Bohola Moy Davitts winning by 1-20 to 1-6 – but with just two points between the teams at the break there were precious few hints then that the game would take the trajectory it did.

Charlestown had played okay in that opening half, battling back from the early concession of 1-1 without reply. A cracking goal banged in on the run by Gareth O’Donnell, fed nicely by the lively Jack Reilly, got Charlestown moving and Reilly was prominent from then to the break, shooting a few nices points and always available as an outlet in attack.

Moy Davitts did well, though, in that first half – where they faced a stiff breeze – to contain what Charlestown threw at them. They then made a push before the break to go in two ahead.

Right from the restart, the game swung sharply in Moy Davitts’ favour. Making good use of the wind they pumped the ball in fast and the scores quickly began to rack up, via the excellent Brian Reape, the hard-working Anthony Jordan and sub Conor Byrne, who fired over three beauties.

Whenever Charlestown broke out they ran into a fairly obdurate Moy Davitts defence. Full-back Cormac Healy turned over a few great balls and with Neil Murphy sweeping up the danger beside him, the Charlestown attack were kept well at bay.

Moy Davitts always looked the likely winners as the second half went on but Charlestown’s ill-discipline made their cause a hopeless one. A total of four players got the line for them – a combination of straight reds, two yellows and a yellow/black – including sub Aidan Higgins who only lasted a few minutes before picking up a straight red for an apparent strike.

So it was an easy win in the end for Moy Davitts who, with Garrymore beating Knockmore in the other group game, qualify for the knockout stages in runners-up spot behind Garrymore. They’re now clearly in bonus territory in what’s their first season back in the senior ranks but, from what I saw today, they’ve enough quality in their ranks to give any of the big boys a right rattle.

Anyway, that was the action I got to see over the weekend. Here’s a summary of the SFC and IFC results and what they mean for the various groups.

Starting with the Senior championship, we now know the eight quarter-finalists and they are Ballaghaderreen, Ballintubber, Breaffy, Castlebar Mitchels, Claremorris, Garrymore, Moy Davitts and Westport. The four clubs pitched into the relegation avoider ties are Aghamore, Crossmolina, Davitts and Knockmore.

In Group 1, Castlebar Mitchels had a straightforward 3-12 to 0-12 win over Ballaghadereen yesterday evening, while Ballina Stephenites drew 1-8 to 0-11 with Aghamore this afternoon. That latter result means that, by a margin of a single point, it’s my local club who lose out to Ballina on points difference and so end up in a relegation battle. Group 1 details here.

We’ve already discussed Group 2 but, for the record, Garrymore beat Knockmore today by 2-14 to 0-17 while Moy Davitts got the better of Charlestown by 1-20 to 1-6. Group 2 details here.

In Group 3, Hollymount/Carramore drew with Crossmolina on a scoreline of 1-14 to 0-17 but Peadar Gardiner’s late, late equaliser for Deel Rovers wasn’t enough to dig them out of last spot in the group. Westport emerged victors from this afternoon’s top-of-the-table group clash against Claremorris, winning by 1-13 to 2-8. Group 3 details here.

Group 4 featured that Ballintubber demolition of Kiltane yesterday, which finished 2-18 to 0-5, and Breaffy had it easy too in the other game yesterday as they crushed Davitts by 0-17 to 0-5. Group 4 details here.

Here’s a quick run-down on the IFC results and what they all mean:

Group 1: Belmullet 1-14, Kiltimagh 2-8; Ballyhaunis 1-16, Mayo Gaels 0-8. These results mean that Belmullet win the group, with Kiltimagh also qualifying as runners-up. Mayo Gaels now face a relegation battle.

Group 2: Burrishoole 1-17, Swinford 0-12; Islandeady 2-9, Bonniconlon 1-12. Group winners are Burrishoole, Swinford are runners-up and Bonniconlon are in the relegation play-offs.

Group 3: The Neale 1-16, Ardnaree 1-8; Ballinrobe 2-14, Castlebar Mitchels B 0-9. The Neale win the group, Ballinrobe finish runners-up and Mitchels B are into the relegation play-offs.

Group 4: Louisburgh 1-12 Lahardane 1-10, Parke/Keelogues/Crimlin 1-14, Shrule/Glencorrib 1-10. Louisburgh win the group, Parke finish runners-up and Shrule/Glencorrib are into the relegation play-offs.

So it’s onto the knockout stages now and next weekend the focus switches to the Junior championship. The JFC semi-finals are on then, with Achill taking on Kilmeena while Balla face Killala. The Achill/Kilmeena game will be streamed live (for free) on Mayo GAA TV (details here), which is back online again and will be streaming plenty of club action over the coming weeks. Great news, in particular for those of us based outside the county.

Finally, a quick reminder that a new episode of the Mayo News football podcast will be online on Tuesday morning. This will feature plenty of the action mentioned above from this weekend, as well as details of the draws for the SFC and IFC quarter-finals. We’ll also set the scene on the podcast for next weekend’s JFC semi-finals. Stay tuned for that.

33 thoughts on “Club action round-up

  1. Willie Joe….great round up, thanks a million. Working all weekend and I didn’t get any game time so its great to get the “Sunday Game” if you know what I mean?

  2. WJ – did you see any players you would call into the county panel if you were the manager next year?

  3. I don’t think it’s possible to make such a judgment on one showing. Ability is hugely important – and in that regard I was very impressed with Brian Reape today – but attitude, workrate and many other factors come into play too if a player is to make the step up to that level. To be honest, I was happy just to watch the games as club contests and leave all thoughts about county out of it.

  4. It is good to focus on clubs and their player’s at the moment with the Intercounty setup chaos. The reoccurring trend does seem to be that based on age and form etc Brian Reape is knocking on the door for the last few seasons to make the step up to the Mayo team.

  5. Great coverage of the U-16 Ted Webb finals on YouTube. Have to say the standard was high. But as one poster already mentioned, Galway players seemed to have more work done. There will be nothing between the minor teams next year. The one player I felt made the difference was Tomo Culhane for City/West, who seems to have the whole package.. From reading the posts, I’m amazed that some people were able to get to see 2 matches – good on ye..

  6. James Murphy – I think it finally is the year.

    I was at the game on Saturday and they were hugely impressive. A great game of football despite the wet conditions. Kiltimagh were favourites for the championship this year and rightly so, but no doubt this game will give them a wake up call. Outclassed by a team boasting the likes of Ryan O’Donoghue, Eoin O’Donoghue and Chris Barrett. Man of the match on the day was James Kelly, an u21 All Ireland winner in 2016. He controlled the midfield and covered all blades of grass on the pitch.

    The draw this evening should be an interesting one, the only ones who’ll beat Belmullet is themselves.

  7. Great work WJ, a martyr to the cause.
    I, along with a good few others judging by the crowd, took the short trip to Charlestown to throw me eye on the Mitchels v Ballaghadereen game. As expected, it was a relatively comfortable win for Castlebar in the end where some of their attacking football late in the second half against a tiring, beaten defense was sharp and incisive.
    Mitchels, I felt, showed a flexibility in their positional play and a variety of attacking styles that kept Ballaghadereen under pressure from the off and constantly on the back foot. For instance, at times they were happy to break from defense via short, crisp hand-passes to diagonal runners, then play the ball to a shooter on the run via a screened pass. Their movement and strength on the ball made it very difficult for Ballaghadereen to stop this ploy, and the screened pass – like Dublin use, and Donegal 2012 perfected before them – meant the shooter was always shielded from a tackle or a block. At other times, especially in the second half, granted they had a lead and could afford to keep their forwards up the pitch, they broke from the back via direct foot passes to a free man. Two passes later and it was a score, I think Mitchels got 1-5 from this tactic. Again, played accurately and at pace this was almost impossible for Ballaghadereen to do anything about, more so as they were chasing the game.
    Their movement of players around the pitch was interesting also. At various times throughout the game, especially in the second half, Barry Moran, Kirby and Vaughan played at full forward. Douglas started there with Drake picking him up and that was a battle. Douglas got the scores though and one notable point from distance in the first half where he came out and won a low ball in front of Drake, took the hit from behind (the ref letting play go despite the obvious foul) then Douglas faked one way but spun the other and nailed a shot from 30 m out straight over the black spot. He also netted midway through the first half, scored two 45’s from the deck, with plenty to spare, and tacked on another few scores in the second half. Funnily enough Drake played well yet his man scored a big tally. James Durkans pace early on had Ballaghadereen in all sorts of trouble and his monster point in the first half was brilliant. His work rate and blistering speed are certainly something for the new Mayo manager to work with. Ger McDonagh was a tough physical presence all day and was cheaply targeted by both Andy Moran (more on him later) and Darragh Kelly. Yet, big Ger kept coming back for more and considering Mayos weakness at no.3 (where he was listed but really played further out the field) he is certainly worth considering. Interestingly, I felt he looked a lot faster around the pitch and picked up Cain Hanley at times.
    Ballaghadereen were toothless in attack and not at the same pace as Castlebar. Hanley appears to have bulked up and he looks more of a footballer than he did last year when he came off the bench for Mayo. He is actually soloing now, at speed, and was very physical with it. However, to be honest, if I didn’t know his name or who he was, he did not stand out as a player that will now, or in the future, look a top inter county player. Likewise Akram I’m afraid. He is mobile, pacy and like Hanley has put on a few kilos but from a defensive point of view he was lost. At times he was picking up James Durkan, yet Durkan featured strongly in the first half. At other times he seemed lost and not sure who he was picking up. An athlete yes, an inter-county footballer? I am not so sure. Andy Moran traded on his “nice guy” image a little too much in this game and a firmer ref would have sent him off. It was his third foul before he got a yellow (I felt the previous foul was certainly a yellow offence) and a cheap, late hit on McDonagh should have seen him walk. Just because you stand over the player you are after nailing with your hand out tapping an apology and being all nice and “arms around” the ref doesn’t mean the rule book should get discarded. Finally, if Darragh Kelly spent as much time actually trying to play football and use his massive physique and height to good effect, as opposed to going around trying to start rows, he might have had a more influential game for Ballaghadereen.

  8. @Pebblesmeller, thanks for those insights. What I have found funny is that there are a lot of players from Ballaghadereen that people mention as potential county players and yet the team that can keep every other team in Mayo at arms length (Castlebar) it’s really only James Durcan of fringe players that gets mentioned.
    Ger McDonagh I agree deserves his chance. He has a physicality and bravery that you either have or you don’t. We can’t continue to line out without a physical full back.
    The other thing is that those Castlebar players are a level above most other fringe players in terms of composure and understanding of modern teamwork and tactics. As you mentioned, the ability to be a part of three man moves for screened passes setting up a shooter. No other club in Mayo can do this county level type stuff.

  9. Good post Pebbles. I’ve heard that a few times recently re: Akram…good on the ball and in attack bit far too lose as a defender. Sounds like he needs defensive coaching. It’ll be very interesting to see how Hanley does in 2019. If im being honest, I was a little underwhelmed by his performances for Mayo 2018 even taking into consideration his absence from the game and previous injuries. That being said, he deserves time. 2019 will tell a lot. I also think James Durcan has a bit to go before being a regular for Mayo unless his scoring improves. Hoping they both step it up to the required level in the NFL. Sounds like the Grim Reaper is the only real scoring prospect that can be added to the Mayo team next Spring. Hopefully he wants it enough. It’s positive to read reports of talent coming through the various clubs but realistically the jump up from club level to the top tier intercounty is huge. You need talent and enormous dedication to make it. I think the day of picking a guy out of the club scene and hoping he’ll make an instant impact at senior intercounty level are long gone such is the gulf now that exists between the standards. It takes time. Development squads/bedding in/S&C etc

    I posted on previous thread but I was wondering if anyone has any update on James Carr?? Has he vanished?

  10. 100% agree with your post Mayonaze. A good showing in a club game vs hacking it against a Jonny Cooper or a Philly Mac are 2 very different things. I really hope Reape is up to the challenge and develops in to a FF option, but that we will only know when he comes up against top class defenders and Rochy clearly didn’t think he was ready last year.

    With a guys like Akram – I always think of him as a real ‘project’ player, a rough diamond that could be molded for a specific role. He has speed and mobility but is probably not a natural man marker. in the modern game though his attributes can as easily be used around the HF line as the HB line. If we are looking for impact subs – imagine a guys like Akram coming on at HF with 20 to go 1) showing for ball coming from the backs and 2) running hard and fast at defenses – he has speed, balance and good distribution, at a minimum he is the type of guys who can win frees and with the right coaching could be a scoring threat too.

    Just a gut feeling that Akram may have more untapped potential for the modern game than a Hanley or some others that have been mentioned

  11. Ger Bohan . Any truth that Jack O Connor to meet county board this week ? . Sorry WJ , know I’m treading thin ice with rumour mill .

  12. I agree with mayonaze there especially on the dedication aspect , it’s surreal the dedication it takes and not everyone is willing . When I hear lads playing junior club in these WhatsApp groups to send management what grub they are eating ,I can only imagine the many steps up to senior county is all professional demands of lifestylel bar they don’t get paid.serious stuff

  13. @Pebblesmeller. I’m afraid I have to disagree with you about Akram. I thought he was very good on sat evening v Mitchels. Apart from one handpass that was too ambitious he did nothing wrong that I could see. To me he looked a top class player, was on the ball an awful lot and looked very comfortable in possession. I would put him well ahead of Hanley at this stage.

  14. Lets hope that the new manager/management team are muintir Mhuigheo. Why would we go to the Kingdom to get a bainisteoir nua. In my opinion this would not be a good idea!
    Mhuigheo abu !

  15. You are, My Ball, and so are you, Ger Bohan, for raising that particular hare in the way you did. I’m weary of this whole business, to be honest, and would prefer that the discussion be re-directed back towards the club action.

  16. Anyone at the Westport game? Fair achievement to finish top of the group. Are they contenders for the title ? I know they are young but plenty of county underage stars on the team. All the group winners would probably be favourites to reach the semi unless Breaffy spoil the party. Castlebar/Garrymore /Ballintubber look like the top three contenders. How would Westport compare to those three. Breaffy capable of beating anyone but very inconsistent in championship. Ballagh are vastly improved from last year but probably not enough fire power up front. Claremorris /Moy Davitts – both teams will be delighted to be into next round , both clubs on the up but think it will be another year or two before they trouble the top two or three.

  17. Size 5 – Without offending the covies, I think they had a fairly easy group to get out of. Crosmollina have lost every game this year, Holly/Carra wouldn’t be that strong and Claremorris’ form has dipped since the intercounty break.

    I don’t see Westport winning it this year.

  18. Westport have useful forward unit, but naieve defensively. A crafty top side will open them up though return of Keegan and moving Keane back to full back line would steady the ship somewhat. McLaughlin a very slick solo runner and capable of impact sub at county level. Must get opportunities in FBD and League. It will be interesting to see how they fare against one of the big four but they will not be carrying any of my money. I liked Brian McDermott yesterday, showed a bit of leadership in second half, making some good runs from hb.

  19. PP for the record, I think he has got it about right, Westport a bit skinny at 9/1

    Castlebar 8/13
    Ballintubber 9/2
    Breaffy 11/2
    Westport 9/1
    Garrymore 12/1
    Ballaghadereen 14/1
    Claremorris 16/1
    Moy Davitts 40/1

  20. Westport very much a work in progress, may take 2/3 years though.

    While they are a rival club of mine I think special mention should go to Garrymore. A small rural club that consistently get to the quarters and while I don’t see them winning it, they are capable of taking out a big hitter or two.

    Mid west radio claimed yesterday it was a shock that they beat Knockmore but I had them as favorites. Great club.

  21. Castlebar Mitchels are now looking for nominations for position of senior county manager – to be submitted by 19th September. So the county board are in no hurry to make an appointment, despite the deadline of 31st August given to Rochford

  22. Cheers lads, great to read all of this club commentary. Especially for us out of the county/country. Mayo GAA TV returning is also welcome news.
    Had enough of the whole inter-county circus to last a lifetime, sick of it all at this point.

    Can anyone confirm the exact date for the county final? Planning a trip back, it’d be good to catch the game whilst there.

  23. From Mayo GAA Twitter…

    Here is the draw for the Mayo GAA @ConnachtGold SFC QF draw:
    QF 1: @Garrymoregaa v @Ballagh_GAA,
    QF 2: @MitchelsGaa v @claremorrisgaa,
    QF 3: @westportgaa v @BreaffyGAA,
    QF 4: @BallintubberCLG v @moydavitts. #mayogaa #gaa

  24. Intermediate draw…

    Here is the draw for the Mayo GAA Egan Jewellers IFC QF draw:
    QF 1: @BurrishooleGAA v @ballinrobegaa,
    QF 2: @BelmulletGaa v @swinfordgaa,
    QF 3: @Thenealegaaclub v @ParkeKCgaa,
    QF 4: @LouisburghGAA v @KiltimaghGAA. #mayogaa #gaa

  25. Semi final draw was also done tonight.

    SFC Semi-Final draw: @Garrymoregaa or @Ballagh_GAA V @westportgaa or @BreaffyGAA

    @MitchelsGaa or @claremorrisgaa V @BallintubberCLG or @moydavitts.

    My money would be on a Westport v Castlebar final.

  26. Mitchels and tubber on the one side of the draw. The other side is wide open, garrymore will fancy getting to the final this year. That would be some achievement, could they win it! Breaffy will also be glad to avoid the big two , Westport will be tricky for them.

  27. Well surprised with Beal an Mhuirthead this weekend. Kilti may not have things their own way. I saw Beal an Mhuirthead earlier in summer and I was not expecting much from them in this year’s competition.. James Kelly is a fine footballer and the O’Donoghue’s are matching the Barretts once more.

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