It’s a change of scene in the Mayo GAA world this coming weekend, with inter-county action taking a back seat while club championship activity takes centre-stage. There are matches on in the Senior, Intermediate and Junior championships over the coming two days, with the action spread over both tomorrow and Sunday.
As one who has expressed hostile opinions in the past about club activity getting in the way of what’s going on at inter-county level, I have to say that I’ve come round to the view that it’s only right and proper to have club championship matches on in high summer. I know there’s the risk of county players getting decapitated by horny-headed club heroes but, to be honest, as many players are lost to injuries picked up at inter-county training as they are playing in club matches.
Sure, we could all be wincing before the weekend is out having learned that an important member of the county panel has been carted off to the sick bay but equally the same player could end up in the same place after one of the ultra-competitive Green v Red training matches. We’re actually in a good place – says he, furiously touching all wood within easy reach – as regards injuries this year so hopefully this run of luck will hold over the next few days.
The weekend’s schedule also means that those players who looked a bit short of full match fitness last Sunday – such as Barry Moran, Andy Moran, Alan Dillon and Jason Gibbons – should all get an hour’s blood and thunder action under their belts before the county team heads for Croke Park in a fortnight’s time. The closer this quartet are to full tilt, the stronger our hand will be at HQ.
The one gripe I still have on the club v. county thing is that different counties operate by different rules. The Dublin club championship, for example, appeared briefly over the horizon back in mid-May this year but then, after just one round of action, back it went into cold storage marked ‘Do Not Disturb’ until the Dubs’ involvement in the race for Sam is over. This is the kind of nonsense that forced my own club St. Vincents to play four club championship matches (three Dublin ones and the first round in Leinster) in just thirteen days last back-end and no doubt it’ll be the same crack again for whichever team comes out of Dublin this year. Up in Donegal, meanwhile, they’re not playing any club championship games at all this year until the jukebox has stopped playing Jimmy’s Winning Matches.
I know that the decision to complete all club championships in the same calendar year will help bash counties such as these into line. Some kind of compulsion, however, on counties to play championship games in June, July and possibly August as well will surely also be required if these plans are going to succeed in practice.
Anyway, back to this weekend’s fixtures, full details of which are (courtesy of Mayo GAA’s Facebook page) as follows:
Sun 2pm: Crossmolina v Ballintubber
Sun 2pm: Shrule/Glencorib v Castlebar Mitchels.
Sat 7pm: Kiltane v Ballinrobe
Sat 7pm: Knockmore v Garrymore.
Sat 7pm: Westport v Davitts
Sat 7pm: Charlestown Sarsfields v Ballaghaderreen.
Sun 2pm: Aghamore v Claremorris
Sun 2pm: Breaffy v Ballina Stephenites.
Sat 7pm: Mayo Gaels v Tuar Mhic Eadaigh
Sat 7pm: Ballyhaunis v Burrishoole.
Sun 2pm: The Neale v Killala
Sun 2pm: Bonniconlon v Hollymount/Carramore.
Sat 7pm: Kilmaine v Moy Davitts
Sat 7pm: Swinford v Cill Chomain.
Sat 7pm: Parke V Kiltimagh
Sat 7pm: Islandeady V Belmullet.
Sun 12pm: Knockmore v Ballcroy
Sat 7pm: Balla v Kilfian
Sat 7pm: Lahardane v Ballina
Sun 2pm: Charlestown v Kilmeena
Sun 2pm: CLG ACLA v Ballaghaderreen
Sun 2pm: Ardagh V Ardnaree
Crossmolina V Ballintubber.