Club fixtures for this weekend

Someone mentioned earlier on that it was time to close the book on our inter-county year and start thinking instead about upcoming club fixtures. While I think there’s more rumination still to be done about the former (and the county’s ongoing involvement in the LGFA Senior Championship shouldn’t be forgotten in this context either), I’d agree that a bit of air time for the latter wouldn’t go amiss.

With that in mind, here are the Mayo Senior League fixtures for Divisions 1 and 2 for this coming weekend. Details of all other club fixtures on this weekend are here.

SFL Division 1 quarter-finals

  • Knockmore v Ballinrobe, Saturday 15th July at Knockmore, 7pm
  • Westport v Aghamore, Saturday 15th July at Westport, 7pm
  • Castlebar Mitchels v Ballina Stephenites, Sunday 16th July at Páirc Josie Munnelly, 2pm
  • Garrymore v Ballintubber, Sunday 16th July at Garrymore, 2pm

SFL Division 1 relegation finals

  • Mayo Gaels v Kiltimagh, Saturday 15th July at Mayo Gaels, 7pm
  • Parke/Keelogues/Crimlin v Davitts, Sunday 16th July at Parke, 2.30pm

SFL Division 2 quarter-finals

  • Ballyhaunis v Islandeady, Saturday 15th July at Ballyhaunis, 7pm
  • Bohola Moy Davitts v Kilmeena, Saturday 15th July at Foxford, 7pm
  • Balla v Hollymount/Carramore, Saturday 15th July at Balla, 7pm
  • Belmullet v Crossmolina Deel Rovers, Sunday 16th July at Tallagh, 1,30pm

SFL Division 2 relegation final

  • Burrishoole v The Neale, Saturday 15th July at McGovern Park, 7pm

27 thoughts on “Club fixtures for this weekend

  1. Castlebar v Ballina should be the pick of the games this weekend. Both would will have strong ambitions of winning the Moclair, and should be able to integrate the county panellists from the match day 26 pack in for this round (if not on holidays).
    With Callinan, O’Hora, McStay, Irwin, Murray you’d imagine Ballina should be favourites, even away from home v a young enough Mitchels team.
    Relegation wise based on results it hard to see Kiltimagh avoiding the drop with their current difficulties.

    Outright odds for championship, Bookies have Westport strong favourites to retain their title, with Ballina not far behind. Followed by Mitchels, Tubber, Breaffy et al:
    Westport. 9/4.
    Ballina. 4/1.
    Castlebar. 9/2.
    Ballintubber. 11/2.
    Breaffy. 13/2.
    Knockmore. 7/1.
    Garrymore. 20/1
    Rest 28/1+

  2. Thanks WJ.
    Castlebar v Ballina the big tie but Westport v aghamore is a tasty sat evening fixture. I expect Brickenden to be back… .

  3. Hard to disagree with the bookies Gizmo. Westport red hot favourites for the title this year again especially with that firepower that has been so impressive YTD in the league. You’d have to guess when ballina get their 5 lads back from the county set up they should push on. Castlebar an outside bet for sure this year again but maybe the youth might catch up to them on the home straight.

    Semifinalist in the league for me

    Can’t really see anything past ballina and Westport for a league final. Are the town teams starting to press home the population and extra financial strength at club football too?

  4. Don’t agree about the big towns, I live in Navan not one player on Meath senior,u 20,u 17 or on St Pat’s school team from the town.
    Fourth biggest town in Ireland with a population of 34 k
    We are lucky with our big towns in Mayo.

  5. JR, could Navan be more of an outlier given its a commuter town?
    When see numbers Westport St. Patrick’s (Westport + Aghagower) have at underage it’s staggering, especially when compared to clubs that have to amalgamate with each other to survive underage:
    Northern Gaels
    St. Jarlaths
    Erris St.Pats
    St. Muredachs.
    Naomh Padraig

  6. The biggest towns are Drogheda, Dundalk,Bray,Navan none have a GAA footprint.
    Navan was dominant in Meath 20 or 30 years ago with a population of about 7k
    Count our blessings in Mayo, big towns doing well but not dominant

  7. Count our blessings I would agree. It will be very interesting to see if club football teams adopt a pattern of long periods of possession, hopefully not or supporters will walk

  8. Yes Gizmo, I read Kieran Kilkenny’s article in Mayo News last week with relation to
    the clubs struggling to field teams at underage. I had to agree that there’s alot of emphasis on competitiveness and winning at u10 & u12, (both boys and girls) often the go-game ethos is ignored by coaches.
    It results in young players leaving the sport and results in clubs a few years later struggling at minor. In fact our local club hardly ever trains at minor because numbers are so low, training is of little benefit. They’re doing good to field 15 & 1 sub for games. It’s another consideration that Mayo needs to be smart about because a struggling minor competition feeds into a weaker senior competition down the road.

  9. Alot of fighting in Hill16 this weekend and in the Armagh v Monaghan, very ugly scenes, seems to have been brushed under the carpet the Gaa, what is wrong with the young people, drink mixed with other things I guess.

  10. Westport v Aghamore on Saturday and Castlebar v Ballina on the Sunday for me this weekend. With 2 division 1 quarter finals on each day it’s a pity they couldn’t have staggered the throw in times. Particularly on the Sunday a visit to Garrymore followed by a short run to Castlebar would have been perfect.

  11. In fairness to Bray Emmets they have won the Wicklow senior hurling championship in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 and ran Monaleen very close in the semi final before Monaleen beat our own Torreen in the final, so it is not as if they have no GAA footprint in the town.
    Drogheda and Dundalk are traditional soccer towns and soccer is the biggest participent sport in Ireland but I don’t know what is going on with Navan to be honest.

  12. Knockmore is a knocking bet,Westport are bound to be scarred after last year’s trashing

  13. Not that it matters a hoot at this stage but Knockmore @ 7/1 is hard to fathem. I would see them in the top 3 for the Moclair cup.

  14. New podcast show now up on all platforms, in which Rob and I review extracts from the three shows we’ve released for our Patreon club members since the Dublin defeat. Features audio from Billy Joe Padden, Eamon O’Hara, John Casey, Colm Boyle and Colm Keys.

  15. I agree with John+McHale that Knockmore seem at long odds but Westport do look worthy favourites. Are top 6 really that far ahead of the rest? Personally I have a hunch that Castlebar who weren’t far away last year could get there this time. They may be a bit on the young side but management won plenty as players and some of their youngsters are on the right track.
    Are Mark and Colm Moran back and fit with Westport?

  16. I don’t think there should be leauge quarters or finals as its a leauge do away with that nonsense se a d organise the championship in a way players have time for recovery and time for replays

  17. I think the argument about big towns dominating is a bit premature, it’s not so long since Ballina were battling relegation, Castlebar were in intermediate for several years, Westport only came up themselves from inter a few years back. Ballintubber were the most successful club of the last decade. These things go in cycles and probably reflect the strong underage structures put in place by those clubs, as well as Knockmore, who were going for three in a row last season.

    As a Mitchels fan I would like to see them be a bit more adventurous, their set-up was very defensive last year, and ironically they didn’t make the county final because they failed to defend a long ball in and a goal mouth scramble against Westport in the dying phases semi-final. Hopefully the experience of last year will stand a young side in good stead.

    Would agree with JR’s observations of the North East, was based up there for years myself and GAA is a distant second or maybe even third behind soccer and rugby in the big towns. The other factor is that many of those areas have been flooded with Dubs in the past couple of decades, who either aren’t into gaelic games or who are but take their kids back to their native clubs, support the Dubs etc. Hence a lack of a “bounce” to the counties and clubs concerned.

  18. Not sure I fully agree this is just a cycle

    Looking at socio-demographic factors there are much fewer young people going in to trades/working full time on farms, travel has never been as accessible, even within Ireland Dublin is not the painfully long journey from the West it once was, fewer young people are staying around rural areas and this is very much being felt at underage level. It only stands to reason it will follow at senior

    Westport, Castlebar, Ballina etc. are as liable as anyone to appoint a wrong manager, lose a few key players in the one year, lose motivation etc. so they won’t all be making the latter stages every year but I’d say none will ever go down to intermediate again in most of our lifetimes. I’d be shocked in the next decade if we had a year where 2 of the above 3 didn’t make the semis the one season

    Even in Galway the senior championship is now basically all clubs who are either towns or within the commuter belt of Galway City. Recent seasons have seen proud rural clubs like Killererin, Caltra, Kiconly, Micheal Breathnachs, Ceathra Rua, Cortoon all relegated

    Underage has become farcical altogether in Galway. Claregalway’s B team won the minor B last year pulling up, and I have it on good authority they were a top 5 standard team in the whole county!

    I assume in 20 years time we’ll see much more amalgamations in Mayo at senior level

    On the other end of the scale how long before serious conversations come up about actually adding new clubs? Could Westport, Salthill, Claregalway feasibly carry a 2nd club in their catchment area? Certainly at underage they could…

  19. @Ciaran: I don’t think there’s much value in comparing what’s happening in Galway with our situation, given that Galway has a city with some 90k living in it, and that football was probably not living up to its potential there in the city until recently. How big are our urban centres in comparison? Castlebar 13k, Ballina 11k, Westport 7k, Claremorris 4k, i.e. taken together less than half of Galway City, and all places with a decent tradition of success at club level.

    Castlebar and Ballina have won 67 senior titles between them out of 135 or so, or almost half. They will usually be strong, but to suggest that neither one of them (or Westport) will be relegated ever again is a bit fanciful in my view. I didn’t expect to see Mitchels go down in 2001, but it happened. None of us saw covid-delayed championships or empty stadiums either, but it happened.

    Our 2021 county final was Belmullet v. Knockmore, hardly two massive town clubs, with Knockmore putting back to back titles together. Ballintubber, another rural club, won two in a row immediately prior to that.

    Amalgamations will probably happen in future, especially in parts of North Mayo, where depopulation is a major issue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another club in Castlebar at some point for different reasons.

    People will always go to Dublin, or London or New York, as they have for the past 200 years. I am hopeful though that the trend towards remote working will see significant numbers come back, especially given how downright crazy house prices have become in cities all over the Western world.

  20. When look at size of geographic areas and population density, Westport St. Patrick’s is most likely to carry a second team it takes in a second parish of Aghagower, and the new club pitch itself is in Kilmeena apparently.

    Aghagower parish is a large area and as a commuter belt of Westport and even Galway, has seen population growth. Could it possibly form its own club again when see how many current players are from it and population underage in Westport with 3/4 teams fielding.

    When people refer to town team dominance it’s less to do with the town and what their clubs are doing but the rural depopulation. Lacken and Kilfian are now joined, killala underage is merged under Naomh Padraig, Ardnaree and Bonniconlon are st. Muredachs and so on.
    Knockmore mentioned above has seen one national school closed recently, and two others are 2 teacher schools struggling stay at two due to numbers. Possibly <30 students if both joined, it's large school Regions would house mostly Ballina students now with Ballina boys school closed. So while fine now, underage their numbers are going downwards. Planning restrictions also feeding into rural club decline.

  21. Absolutely no comparing now and 2001

    There was much more people in their 20s in the country in general in 2001 (birth rate slowed considerably in the 80s, with the highest decline into the early 90s), most clubs that have amalgamated now at underage were comfortably fielding on their own back then, much more people were working locally in trades (celtic tiger in full swing), as Gizmo points out it wasn’t half the ordeal to get planning permission to build houses back then. Rural towns and villages were heaving them days at the weekends, most country towns even had nightclubs.

    The socio-economic climate in Ireland is night and day compared to back then

    There will always be an odd rural team who do well, what’s the common correlation between most though? Groups of brothers/cousins. As I pointed out though, it won’t be felt at senior level for a while yet. Underage is and will continue to be dominated by the bigger clubs. Fair enough, hard to avoid it, but a separate club in the likes of westport would ensure more young players stick with the sport and are able to truly fulfill their potential

    and i would absolutely eat my hat if Westport or castlebar were relegated anytime soon. How on earth could there possibly be 16 clubs better at senior level unless they just stop playing football altogether. the standard beyond the top 8/9 teams in Mayo drops off hugely

    I’m not sure remote working will have any tangible effect with those in their 20s/30s. They’ll still move out of rural areas in large numbers to fully experience life. Traffic is as bad as I’ve ever seen it since pre-covid, are that many people actually working from home full time?

  22. What do people mean by serious work put in at underage development. Exactly what do these clubs do that others dont? Surely most clubs follow the same formula.

  23. @Ciaran: Of course today and 2001 are different contexts, but my point there was that events can always take an unforeseen turn. There were plenty of óchón, óchón types on here and other discussion boards suggesting that the Dubs wouldn’t be beaten again for years to come, and yet it happened. So forgive me if I’m a bit sceptical of the idea that no country club will ever win a county senior title for yonks, given that it happened as recently as 18 months back.

    County Mayo has been bleeding people for at least 180 years, and yet we’ve had a reasonably competitive club scene for most of that time, in arguably much more trying circumstances than today. Maybe amalgamations or having second clubs in the bigger towns (third in the cases of Castlebar and Ballina) is the way to go. This already begun to happen anyway, with the likes of Holly-Carra and Lacken-Kilfian.

    The other thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet, as far as I can see, is the comparative diversity of sporting options in the bigger towns. Castlebar, for instance, has several soccer clubs in the vicinity, as well as rugby, basketball, athletics, swimming, tennis, swimming, badminton, squash, boxing, cricket, golf, combat sports, there’s even ice hockey being offered these days! This is not so much the case in rural locations and It’s by no means certain that the GAA will scoop up the best athletes in the years to come.

  24. That’s the great leveller and will continue to be. Rural teams will generally maintain a higher % of their underage players into adult level, with less distractions, less competition from other sports, the general standing of GAA as the main pillar of the community etc. However the total number of underage players in many clubs are dwindling, so the percentage they’re actually bringing through each year becomes gradually less. Some clubs may only have 5 or 6 genuine under 17s (born in 2006) who will be eligible for adult level football next year, and even less good enough. You’d be lucky if 2 of those became long term senior/intermediate club players, down to numbers alone.

    Again looking at it from a sheer numbers game point of view, say you need at least 18 senior players of – at minimum – a “decent” level in order to be making the latter stages of the Mayo championship on a consistent basis. If clubs like Westport and Castlebar (examples) can average 3 or so county minors each year, suddenly in 5 years you have 15 players alone, excluding their existing player base in their 20s/30s! give or take a few will be lost and a few unheralded underage players will peak in their 20s, but the odds definitely look favourable to maintain a very competitive senior squad indefinitely (give or take an odd off year). Its an awful term but players are much more “disposable” in the bigger clubs

  25. The other sports competition doesn’t really wash overly much either. A lot of my own rural clubs players play more than one sport be it soccer, GAA or Rugby, some even all three.
    Most clubs are likely similar if check teams listed in western people for GAA club and then the equivalent areas soccer club you may spot quite a few similar names.

  26. True Gizmo and realistically in Mayo the number of top GAA players who actually choose soccer, for example, over football are absolutely miniscule

    Whenever the GAA and soccer seasons cross-over some top division clubs in Mayo end up barely able to field as players invariably choose football

    Mayo is very much a predominantly Gaelic football county. I’m sure its a much different story in the East or in the cities

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