With the inter-county scene emerging from its slumbers, most of the attention is now being focused towards next weekend and the first round of the National Football League. Before then, however, there’s significant club activity to think about, with two Mayo clubs in action this coming weekend, both of whom are bidding to seal their place in All-Ireland finals, with all the Croke Park glamour this would entail.
Hollymount/Carramore are up against Down and Ulster champions Loughlinisland in the All-Ireland intermediate club semi-final, with the match scheduled for Breffni Park in Cavan on Sunday (throw-in 2pm). The Mourne County side, who played their football at senior level in the county as recently as 2014, will be a tough nut to crack and are captained by ex-Down player Dan Gordon.
Holly/Carra will be hoping that two of their key men – Stephen and Darren Coen – won’t be hampered by the injuries they’ve been carrying. A big performance will be needed from them and, indeed, from the whole team if the South Mayo side are to do it but there’s no reason this shouldn’t happen.
Loughlinisland are 4/5 favourites with Paddy Power to win this one. Match odds here. The winners will play either St Mary’s from Kerry or Meath’s Ratoath in next month’s final, with that semi-final also being played on Sunday, at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
There’s sure to be a big following from both clubs at Breffni Park for Sunday’s game. For those who can’t make it, however, Local Streaming will be broadcasting the match live online. Full details on this great initiative are here.
At the same time on Sunday over at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon, meanwhile, Ardnaree Sarsfields are set to do battle with another Ulster side for a place in next month’s All-Ireland junior club final. Their opponents are Rockcorry from Monaghan, a club which has in the past featured at senior level within the Farney County before slipping down the grades in recent years.
An interesting fact I certainly didn’t know about Ardnaree until I read it in a piece written by Keith Duggan in last Saturday’s Irish Times was that the area in which the club was located used to be in Sligo but was shifted to Mayo following a border re-jigging in 1898. This was the same bit of shifting that moved Ballaghaderreen into Roscommon but the Ardnaree club wasn’t founded until 1949 and so they’ve always played their football within Mayo. So now you know.
Ardnaree have been installed as the 8/11 favourites to do the business at Páirc Seán on Sunday. Match odds here. It’s another Kerry/Meath showdown, by the way, in the other junior semi-final. This one involves Templenoe (of P Spillane fame) and Curraha who face off at Kilmallock on Sunday.
Best of luck to both Hollymount/Carramore and Ardnaree in their respective semi-finals this weekend. Here’s to both of them booking their tickets to Croke Park next month.