Club Championship quarter-finals preview – Mayo Football Podcast 2022 E39

The group stages of the Senior, Intermediate and Junior Championships concluded last weekend but there’s no rest for the clubs as this coming weekend it’s straight into the quarter-finals and relegation play-offs. 

In this latest episode of the Mayo Football Podcast, specially extended for our club members, host Mike Finnerty is joined by Edwin McGreal and Stephen Drake to cast an eye over the big do-or-die matches coming up this weekend. 

The lads start by discussing some of the main talking points from last weekend’s third round matches before going through their predictions for the quarter-finals in the Senior, Intermediate and Junior championships. We also hear from Westport’s Kevin Keane after he returned to action following eleven months out injured, along with Parke manager Mark Concannon and Ballinrobe manager Peter Ford.

This bumper episode of the Mayo Football Podcast is now online and is available to listen to on iTunes, SoundCloud, Podomatic and Spotify. You can also listen to it directly on the Mayo News website as well as here on the blog using the SoundCloud player below. 

The podcast is also available on Patreon, where club members get access to loads of exclusive content and more besides. In the clubhouse section for club members at the end of the pod, Stephen and Ed chat with Mike about the fact that some teams have tighter turnarounds than others this week. They also discuss the issue of some inter-county players getting over-the-top abuse on the field in club games.

Sign up to become a podcast club member on Patreon here.  

The Mayo Football Podcast is also on Twitter @MayoPodcast, so if you’re a Twitter user you should follow us there to make sure you get the latest podcast-related updates, including new episodes. podcast-related updates, including new episodes.

38 thoughts on “Club Championship quarter-finals preview – Mayo Football Podcast 2022 E39

  1. Very good suggestion made by Stephen Drake in relation to the breaks between matches. Play the 3 group matches over 3 weeks and then have a fortnight break between the rest… At that stage of the championship, teams should really be given two weeks between huge matches.

    Excellent pod as ever.

  2. Some amount of young talent featuring in the quarter finals.
    Mitchel’s have 6 or 7 lads under the age of 21 making big impacts – big names are Morahan and Heneghan, although McHugh is turning into a brilliant man marker.
    Knockmore – Colm Flynn at CB
    Westport – Finbarr McLaughlin, Conall Dawson both teenagers, rest of their team is a core group of 22-25 year olds
    Claremorris- Darragh Joyce, Stephen Gill, Adam Beirne all 18-19, combined with a 22 year old in goal Brian McGuinness who is putting his hand up for a county call up
    Ballina – Irwin, Thornton both hugely impressive for 20 years old, Callinan still barely 18/19
    Garrymore – Colin Commins, Aaron Hughes, Mark gibbons, Enda Hession, Liam Horkan all under 22
    Breaffy – Davitt Neary, Oisin Tunney and Padraig Beirne all very young, along with Livingstone who is 19 or 20 in goal if he plays.
    Tubber- Josh Mahon looks good, although their production line is stalling a bit.

  3. Just listened to podcast. very enjoyable. Impressed with Drakies knowledge of the club scene considering he is playing ball down in Gorey. He has had to put in a nice bit of research to keep himself up to date so fair play to him. Interesting few comments re the Colm Moran affair. Dont understand how it has ended up where it has (presuming he only planned to go for the summer) and cant see how it can be resolved. Would have expected Westport would have ensured all the paperwork was in order when he moved away. Its a shame as would have been ideal to see him involved and give him a chance to impress under the new management – I am sure they will get to look at him in some sort of trial game but not as good as watching him play in competitive game

    prediction for senior games at weekend
    – Garrymore – there is always an upset. few injury rumours for Westport and if they hold true plus the “Autumn” weather conditions give Garry a right chance.
    – Ballina – 6 points +
    – Knockmore – I dont think Castlebar have the firepower. James Durcan is too big of a loss
    – Ballintubber – I think the big names will be back. Jason Gibbons will hold his own around the middle so Breaffy will not dominate like they have in the last three games.

    Really looking forward to this weekend. Great weekend of football ahead of us

  4. I have to say I’m really enjoying watching , reading and listening to all the club football. The split season has its drawbacks and not doubt the calendar needs a few tweaks but I think it’s been pretty good for club players ?

  5. Have Ballina, Castlebar, Westport and Claremorris ever been in the quarter finals at the same time?
    The four big towns.

  6. Good Podcast and agree with Looking Forward on Steven Drake’s in depth club knowledge. Judging by the deluge outside at present we are going to see more difficult underfoot conditions this weekend. Whether that will even things up in one or two games I’m not sure because the best players can usually adapt. Might be more a case of can managers adapt. For me it’s wins for Ballina, Castlebar, Breaffy and Westport.
    Interesting listening on the Pod to how some teams such as The Neale have been crippled with injuries to a small enough pool of players while some of the big clubs could nearly put out two teams. This might seem a bit radical but would a “loan” system help all round. Player that may be nearly top-drawer but in a big team might have 4 or 5 ahead of him for his position could get games and help a club struggling with injuries and lack of numbers. Would a player prefer to tog week after week knowing he’s not going to get on or join another club on a temporary basis? Obviously it would have to be really thought through and numbers limited but it may keep talented lads from leaving the gaa and save some clubs from folding.

  7. Joe. G do not think people would go for that. Dividing the towns would be a better option like in Killarney, have a few teams. I see on the Ballina Facebook page they had goodie bags for 110 u7 kids!!
    Think Bohola Moy Davitts have about 50, Knockmore have about 22.

  8. For me personally I don’t think the splitting up of big towns is the right answer. Take ballina as an example, it is pretty much split with my own club Ardnaree. I believe what defines the success of a club is their culture. It’s the same at county level. A culture of winning and historical competing is a massive driver in the success of a club. Now on the other side population can be an advantage but only if it’s cultivated the right way. As the big towns grow you would like to see the rural clubs around them benefit from extra population. Garrymore beside Claremorris, Kilmeena beside Westport, Breffey/Tubber might get extra numbers from castlebar and Knockmore/Ardnaree benefit from the expansion in ballina.

  9. Haha. As you well kmow those 2 clubs are as far from being a reasonable example as you could get. Maybe a Ballina player with zero chance of a game for his own club might like a runout with Lacken who could probably use a bit of help. Only throwing ideas oit there to arrest the decline of some small rural clubs.

  10. I think it is great that the big towns are doing well
    Here in Navan both big clubs are in a very poor state.
    Simmostown avoided relegation by beating Ballinabrackey,a village without even a pub on a penalty shoot out.
    The other club O’mahony play them in a relegation battle
    This in a town of nearly 40k population when you take in all the new estates not in the urban area
    On lenister final day there are more Dub flags then Meath ones
    It will take a generation to sort it out.
    I think amalgamation for the Senior championship is the way for in Mayo
    Just look at Kerry

  11. Think Claremorris have an outside shot against Ballina this weekend, at 5/1 on.
    Diskin and O’Hora will have some battle, James McCormack should match up fairly well against either Callinan or Irwin.
    Ballina have put up a lot of goals in the group games, Claremorris while conceding 3 goals have conceded excellent ones, and they were probably the only 3 chances they’ve given up.
    Don’t see Ballina running up a big score if Claremorris do what they did against Balla and Belmullet, with lads dropping back.
    Don’t think Ballina will shoot the lights out, as their forwards are good but they don’t score a lot from play.
    Conversely, Claremorris will need the likes of Colin Gill, James Shaugnessy and Mark Maloney to have the games of their lives.
    The big question will be whether Claremorris will step up. They will have to match them physically all over the pitch, and not back down as easily as they did against Breaffy.
    There’s a massive performance in them, while Ballina might have peaked a bit early.
    Can’t trust Claremorris at all given recent history, but Ballina might be given too much credit considering they should’ve lost to a poor Ballagh team in the first round.

  12. @retrocut all grand if you ignore Ballina taking care of Knockmore with ease and Aghamore even easier?

  13. Am I missing something,
    But talk of splitting ballina maybe a bit hasty,
    Wasn’t long ago they were in intermediate league.
    Prob 20+ years since last senior win.
    Castlebar could hardly be classified as dominant also.
    There is a reason you have b and c teams also.
    back in the late 70/80 when Garrymore were so dominant should we have split them 🙂

  14. @creteboom knockmore have a history of not performing brilliantly in the group stage and aghamore can’t get over the hump.
    Not saying it’s a cert, just think at 5/1 it could be worth a shout.

  15. An average club player will pass out by age 21 a Mayo minor if the Mayo minor is coming and going in terms of togging and training.
    This is club culture. The culture of just consistently togging.
    Getting 2% better every year.

  16. Skylin, Ballina don’t have a third team, they had I think 17 players tog for their B team in a relegation playoff week after winning junior A final where they had over 30 togged and played about 7 of their senior team including the then senior captain.
    When you see them having over 100 U7s to think they struggle to field two senior teams is bizarre. They obviously have far bigger pick than likes of Knockmore who have 3 teams, Boholla Moy Davitts and other clubs around them.
    The idea of extra team in a town isn’t about the towns dominating, it’s about getting players playing and maximising number of potential players available to county.

  17. I think the bigger issue is at underage level. It would be good to see second clubs introduced in Ballina, castlebar and Westport at underage level.
    Too many 12 and 14 year olds are missing out on gametime in these giant clubs.
    They could then graduate to adult football with their traditional club but at least more kids would get first team football at underage level.
    When you see Westport C u14 team beating the crap out of rural clubs you have to wonder how sustainable that it.

  18. Interesting discussion here. I’m very much in agreement with Mikey3

    Definitely problems starting to creep in at adult level – you only have to look at some of the lopsided results in intermediate and junior this year – but probably a good way off crisis stage yet across the scale, although some of the real smaller clubs’ days are sadly probably numbered (I suspect we’ll see at least one newly amalgamated side at adult level over the next 2/3 years, with this number growing over the next decade).

    Tradition still counts for an awful lot and any decent sized rural area should be able to churn out competitive sides for a while to come – the recession obviously had a big effect in the late 2010s but the last decade has seen lots of new homes built, and many are staying in and building in their home rural areas due to availability of sites from family members. This will slow down hugely going forward but the effects of population decline will be much more hard-hitting on underage teams than adult teams over the short-term

    Westport, Castlebar and Ballina – as stated above – are obvious examples of areas with huge numbers registered at underage, and the suggestion of new clubs at underage in these towns is a good one. I don’t think its needed at adult level yet however. Player turnover after minor level is a far bigger issue in urban areas than in traditional rural clubs. GAA clubs are very often the epicentre of rural communities, whereas in many towns it often plays a completely peripheral role in day to day life. Its far more likely for players to continually commit to rural clubs even if they move elsewhere for work. There are of course exceptions before anyone jumps on me

    At underage though the problem in areas with bigger populations is – as mentioned above – so many players not actually getting to play regularly. Its a big issue in Galway too. Claregalway – for example – while not an urban area covers an absolutely massive geographic spread. Its a funny case, in that gaelic football was set up only relatively recently there, in what was a hugely predominant hurling area. Fast forward 50 or so years and there is now a secondary school in the area, estates are going up like no tomorrow and the population has grown at an astronomical rate, and this has accelerated even more since the turn of the century. In other words the area is crying out for another club to cater for underage – bearing in mind Claregalway’s catchment area actually spans a lot of Castlegar hurling club covering large parts of the Tuam Road into Galway, most of Turloughmore hurling club (Lackagh, Coolarne, Cregmore) and all of Carnmore hurling club (so essentially enough to cover 2.5 big hurling clubs) – as well as the Claregalway area itself
    When their minor 2nd team won the B championship handy last year (implying they would have been one of the top sides in A!) you know things are getting fairly out of hand.

    this is just an example. In Galway – Oranmore, a dual club, while not as big area-wise have benefitted hugely from massive estates being built in the area and plenty of their B teams in underage would actually be good enough to play in A if they were allowed (again football being more or less a complete non-entity until about 30 years ago) also and obviously you have Salthill also who are inundated with numbers

    These areas have simply outgrown themselves – its not a GAA issue at all but a demographic and sociocultural one

    Credit to these clubs however in – as far as I’m aware – playing only players on the age on the A team in the younger age categories (at the expense of even exceptional players born a year earlier)

    Note – none of this is to detract from the great coaching and huge work that goes on in areas like these. More numbers means more players and indeed parents to deal with, more logistical issues on the admin side such as double booked pitches, volunteers put in trojan work to ensure these clubs are as competitive as they are. There are great GAA people in these areas who cut the grass, line pitches etc

    There are two issues at play imo:
    – what hope do rural clubs have at winning anything at underage, when even second teams in big clubs are now winning not only C titles but B titles?
    – how many young players in bigger areas, who are late developers and maybe weak for their age at 13/14, will become disillusioned and lost to the GAA before they “grow into themselves”?

    So in summary, adult level probably not a big issue yet, although its coming down the line – but underage definitely needs to be looked at, and Mikey’s suggestion looks the most reasonable to me. Of course there are logistical issues involved – and no doubt political issues – and will involve lots of heavy lifting and compromise but something ultimately has to give

  19. Westport just about deserved the result over Garrymore and though they play fast attractive attacking football they may not have forwards who score heavy enough to win it out. Knockmore have shown over the last two campaigns that they can get the job done but Castlebar will give them enough of it I think. Could go either way. The same can be said for the Ballintubber/Breaffy game. Ballina should be comfortable against Claremorris if it’s the tepid version that turns up and will probably get over the line even if the better one shows. Claremorris will be more of a force in 2 to 3 years time. Due to their forwards and strong bench I do think Ballina will be eventual champions.

  20. Westport maybe just about deserved,
    Garrymore missed 3 goal chances , one of them would have potentially turned the result. A lot of mistakes while attacking didn’t help either.

    For me , darren quinn and caolan Crowe we’re top for Garrymore
    Westport, young tunny lad and there number 10 who I cannot recall His name.
    Won’t mention names, but a few players on Westport that are often mentioned for county are not at that standard.
    GarryMore will see this as a big chance lost, but have a lot of young talent that will learn from

  21. Garry v westport,,very poor fare.keelen crowe best man on pitch, unless westport can improve they will struggle against better teams. I did not see any county standard players from this showing

  22. Garrymore have a very good defense.
    Caolan Crowe was super, hard to think of a better fb in Mayo at the moment, Garry had 3 good goal chances and should have taken at least 1, could have swung the game. Darren Quinn for Garrymore certainly deserves a shot for Mayo,
    Westport are going to struggle I feel and need to avoid knockmore. Young Tunney looked good as did number 10 for Westport.
    Disappointing for some who always wonder,I don’t see mark Moran or fionn mc been at Mayo level.

  23. @ Gizmobobs fair point, would be tricky setup with boarder divested etc and tradition of ballina stephenits,
    Actually What is the last new club to start and get traction? Something you don’t really see.
    Just not so sure a new town club is answer

  24. Ballina just strolled past Claremorris who weren’t helped by a pretty soft red card before halftime but even at that stage the Stephenites were in total control. They look to be improving and growing in confidence with every outing and in contrast to most of the other quarter-finalists they are full of goals. They could and probably should have had another 4 today. Two massive games to come and it’ll be interesting to see what the other 4 have to offer. A possible downside for Ballina is in their last two games they haven’t been challenged but on the plus side they’ve been able run the bench which is very strong. Going for Mitchells and Breaffy in the other two games. Both should be tight affairs though and no surprise if I’m wrong on both counts.

  25. Bit disappointing that TG4 couldn’t find a Mayo pundit or two for two Mayo championship quarter finals instead of two Galway men. No disrespect to Gary Sice or Sean Og De Paor who are excellent pundits but wouldn’t have the insight on Mayo club football that the likes of Colm Boyle or Billy Joe Padden would have. Not buying the Irish language angle as there would be a few Achill, Belmullet or Tourmakeady people with Irish language to do the job.
    Listening to Maurice Deegan talking about referees and abuse and although he wouldn’t be one of my favourites it’s hard to disagree with anything he’s saying. After seeing some of the stuff involving referees in recent times it really is a wake up call to all of us. I admit over the years giving out about them and shouting my opinions from the stands and am making a vow to never do so again. It’s wrong, it’s unfair and without them we don’t have a GAA. Sorry for the rant.

  26. Missed goal chances within Mayo as a whole ,club and county is fooking abysmal. Also odd the way it’s a number 2 or 4 at the end of a lot of them . An awful lack of scoring forwards , people hate to hear the same aul shite thrown out but unfortunately it’s the truth .

  27. Lads/Ladies, you do know there is a second club in Ballina called Ardnaree. The biggest national schools are Rehins, which is actually in Knockmore even though it is in Ballina town or right on the edge, and the Quay N.S which when you live in the Quay you are free to play for either Ballina or Ardnaree. Also Knockmore Parish comes right into the town. Ardagh comes right to the edge if the town and Castleconnor parish comes right up to the edge of the Quay village. There is definitely not enough room for another club in Ballina and if you went and no way is there a case of 100 players at u17 for Ballina. Ardnaree, Knockmore would all have healthy numbers at u17.

  28. I have been following this blog for ages and I’m always amazed at comments on club championship games and what this player did and what player did sfa.You must remember that these players are doing their utmost for their clubs and rightly so and not too interested in the County.People have to grasp the fact that ones club is the important thing and to win a county title is the ultimate aim. County afterwards is the bonus for the select few.Winning a club County title or been part of the setup is the Holy Grail for 95% or more of footballers.

  29. Crete Boom, U7 not U17, check the Ballina Facebook page from last week I think it was where Ballina reference the 110 U7s they had to do goodie bags for, compared to the 40 odd in Moy Davitts and 20 odd in Knockmore it’s a huge difference. And that’s with Ardnaree already established with their own Bord na Nog, I’m not saying it would be easy you can see the struggles Ardnaree already have with players crossing the “border” to try play senior club as opposed junior/intermediate. Of the current Ballina Panel how many have played for Ardnaree or live in their catchment and moved? Sweeney, Newell, Collins? And they had to take action earlier in year to prevent transfer of other underage players I think!

    You right Rehins geographically is Knockmore but is predominantly Ballina based players as they moved out from the town schools for various reasons (resulting in closure of the the main Ballina boys school!), Rehins I think provided 1 new lady footballer to Knockmore last year, not sure exact number boys.

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