Pope or no Pope, the action in the Senior and Intermediate club championships resumes this weekend. With the tap unexpectedly turned off for us at inter-county level before the end of June, I think it’s no exaggeration to claim that the club championships within the county this year are the most eagerly awaited in ages. Here’s a quick run-down of what’s in store this weekend.
In the SFC the second round of group matches take place, with games spread over Saturday and Sunday.
In Group 1 Aghamore have the unenviable task of hosting the three-in-a-row Moclair Cup champions. They play Castlebar Mitchels in Aghamore at 6pm on Saturday. Ballina Stephenites face Ballaghaderreen at James Stephens Park on Sunday at 2pm. As the table below confirms, Mitchels and Ballaghaderreen are leading the way in this group after the first round of games so wins for both will see them through to the knockout stage with a match to spare.
In Group 2 both second round matches this weekend take place at 4pm on Saturday. Garrymore and Charlestown Sarsfields won their respective opening round games and their meeting at Garrymore affords them both the opportunity to seize control of the group and claim a quarter-final place. Knockmore hosts Bohola Moy Davitts in the other game.
In Group 3 it’s Westport and Claremorris who lead the way and both have the chance this weekend to lock down their places in the knockout stage. Westport host Hollymount/Carramore at 4pm on Saturday while at 6pm that evening Claremorris entertain Crossmolina.
In Group 4 the meeting of table-toppers Ballintubber and Breaffy is arguably the tie of the weekend. This heavyweight clash throws in at Ballintubber at 6pm on Sunday. Ahead of that, Kiltane host Davitts on Saturday at 4pm, with both clubs looking to get off the mark in the group.
Onto the Intermediate championship, where the following second round of group matches take place this weekend (home team listed first):
- Group 1: Kiltimagh v Mayo Gaels, Saturday 4pm; Belmullet v Ballyhaunis, Saturday 6pm
- Group 2: Swinford v Bonniconlon, Saturday 6pm; Burrishoole v Islandeady, Sunday 4pm
- Group 3: The Neale v Ballinrobe, Sunday 3pm; Ardnaree v Castlebar Mitchels B, Sunday 3pm
- Group 4: Lahardane MacHales v Parke/Keelogues/Crimlin, Sunday 2pm; Louisburgh v Shrule/Glencorrib, Sunday 3pm
Keep an eye on @MayoGAA for details of any last-minute changes to times or venues for these games and also for blow-by-blow score updates from the various fixtures.
The other football story today involving the county – which isn’t, of course, a Mayo GAA one at all but is instead one that relates to the Mayo LGFA – is the decision made on Tuesday night to expel Carnacon from the Mayo LGFA senior football championship. It’s a decision that will, if upheld, mean that the reigning county, provincial and All-Ireland champions will not be given the right to defend their titles this year.
Whatever the rights and wrongs were about the walkout from the county team earlier this summer, it’s impossible to see how a club team can justifiably suffer collective punishment of the most draconian kind for the actions of some of its players at county level. A report on the issue by Edwin McGreal in the Mayo News (here) provides some useful background to the affair and it also confirms that Carnacon intend to appeal this decision to the Connacht Council.