Mayo Gaels and Kilmeena move on up

The first two county finals of the weekend were played this afternoon. Both went to form, with strong favourites Kilmeena finally sealing the deal in the Junior decider while more narrow favourites Mayo Gaels prevailed in the Intermediate final.

Kilmeena were strong fancied to get the better of Cill Chomain in the JFC final, played today at Crossmolina, but, as the lads had pointed out on the podcast, being the strong favourite going into a title decider has its drawbacks, giving as it does a free shot to its opponents.

The goal bagged by Cill Chomain in the first quarter was just what this contest needed. Kilmeena had run up big scores in all of their previous matches in this year’s Championship but, trailing by a point at the first water break, it was obvious even then that this wasn’t a match they were going to win at their ease.

By half-time, though, the west Mayo outfit had reasserted themselves. They led then by four points, 1-6 to 1-2, and they were on top from there to the finish. At the second water break there was three points between the teams and that was the gap as well at the finish, with Kilmeena winning out by 1-10 to 1-7.

So, after missing out last year to Kilmaine, today was Kilmeena’s day as they claimed their first Junior title in nineteen years. As Ger Flanagan observed on the podcast earlier in the week, this is a young, talented team who are going places and you can be sure that, with the Pete McDonnell Cup now won, they’ll now be fixing their gaze on loftier targets. More power to them.

Photo: @MayoGAA

There was a similar enough vibe to Mayo Gaels’ success in the Intermediate final. The lads from Mayo Abbey were fancied to do well in the IFC this year and they were narrow favourites to prevail over Ballyhaunis in today’s Sweeney Cup decider, played at Fr O’Hara Park in Charlestown.

It was, though, Ballyhaunis who made the early running in this one. They led by four at half-time, 0-8 to 1-1, with Keith Higgins storming forward to bag two points from play. Given the famed stickiness of the Ballyhaunis backline in previous matches, the Gaels had their work cut out at that stage.

Things were no better for them at the second water break. They’d clipped the Ballyhaunis lead back to a single point but then the East Mayo lads nabbed a goal to re-establish their four-point advantage at the end of the third quarter.

Mayo Gaels now needed a huge final push to claim the honours. And, in fairness, that’s exactly what they found within themselves, as they roared back to win it. They scored seven of the game’s final eight points to win the title decider by 1-11 to 1-9.

It’s tough on Ballyhaunis, whose hurlers lost out last weekend to Tooreen and who had a number of players who were in action then as well as today. Today, though, belonged to Mayo Gaels, who claimed possession of the Sweeney Cup for the first time since 1998 and who will now ply their trade at Senior level in 2022.

31 thoughts on “Mayo Gaels and Kilmeena move on up

  1. A great victory for Mayo Gaels in this thrilling encounter which went right down to the wire at Charlestown this afternoon.

  2. Congrats to Mayo Gaels and Kilmeena.
    The last winning Kilmeena team from 2003 suffered badly from emigration even before the crash of 2008. I think they got to the all ireland junior final back then .Thankfully things look better now in terms of player retention.
    I dont know alot about Mayo Gaels club but credit to them up at senior level now as their catchment area couldnt be very large.

    Listening to interviews on mayo gaa twitter account . I was very disappointed to hear what sounded like a Dub asking the questions for mayogaatv. Surely there’s a mayo person out there that could do that job.

  3. I don’t know who did the interviews.
    There’s many Dublin folk in Mayo have made a great contribution to the county.

  4. John Walker would have done the interviews. He’s the PRO and a referee in the county. He’s done a great job this year promoting the club championships between interviews and releasing the match programs for every game.

    Who cares if he’s from Dublin?

  5. To be fair to all concerned, the pr for the club championships has been excellent.

    Well done to all involved, we forget it takes time to organise it all.

    Looking forward to the north mayo senior final today.

  6. Is this the very first time that Mayo Gaels are going up to Senior?, always intermediate during my time in Mayo.
    Great achievement for a small club.

  7. Would agree there Wide Ball, John Walker has done an excellent job as PRO and deserves credit for it. He’s been living and working in Mayo for a number of years now, and has been contributing to club and county very well.
    It shouldn’t matter where he’s from as long as he’s doing the job, and he’s been doing that very well.

  8. Poor oul John Walker not getting much love from some people coz of his accent!!
    That man clocks some miles every week in the name of Mayo GAA from down in the far end of Carrowteigue. The poster complaining should take a drive down there some day to see just how far away it is from anywhere. He’s been involved in Mayo club football as a player, ref and administrator for nearly 20 years now, so despite his dub accent his Mayo credentials are well and truly established.

  9. Best of luck to Belmullet today in the county final. The last time Belmullet were in a county final in 81 Against Garrymore one WJP was cleaned at midfield by Danny Dolan i saw a photo of him this week on the Western he looked to be a horse of a man. Just wonderind did he ever get a run out with the county? Imagine him at midfield ans Padraig Brogan at full forward

  10. Really impressed by the following 3 players from Mayo Gaels, all u19 or less:
    Ruairi Keane
    Ethan Henry
    Jack Fallon (u18)

    All strong and powerful ball carriers. These guys should have big futures and potentially county senior careers ahead of them. Keane is like a bull – direct runner with real power. I saw Henry kicking a 45 with easy into the wind (though he missed a couple too) – outside Robbie hennelly we have no one able to consistently kick a 45 the required distance.

  11. Mayo Gaels won the intermediate championship in 1998, beat ballinrove by one point in the saucer in hollymount, so they played senior the following year.
    Great club, great underage club system and hemmed in all around by balla, hollymount and ballintubber.

  12. Michael mcgarry kicking frees like Dean rock in this junior B final for Eastern Gaels! Superb striker of the ball.

  13. Mayo Gaels constructed a functional gym at their club. Wouldn’t wonder but it has really helped them. Fair play to them.

  14. Poor Senior final in 1st half, both teams intent on fouling, Referee far to lenient, not great so far.

    Bellmullet seem to be looking for frees to get scores.

  15. Glorydays,Danny was a great club footballer,not so good for the county,but had several good games for the county,I remember him cleaning out the Down midfield in a league Simi final in croke park

  16. Clever performance by Knockmore manager, players very good in the tackle, know when and where to foul and are just good all round footballers that pkay the game fast and hard.
    This Knockmore team should be the blueprint for Mayo going forward.
    Would Dempesy be good bet for the Mayo job ? I believe so.

    Current County players not performing today.

  17. Kevin Mc was brilliant today, he’s so composed on the ball and a very accurate kick passer, something sadly missing in today’s game.

  18. Congrats to knockmore, the mark of true champions going back to back. Its so hard to do.

    Absolutely woeful game of ball, really poor fare.
    Belmullet looked like they had no other attacking ideas when ROD was held. Good collective effort from knockmore who could mix it up whatever way you wanted it.

    Shane mchale or King motm for me
    Mountbellew won’t be losing any sleep

  19. Getting to the final was a massive achievement for Belmullet and they can be very proud of themselves in what they have done this year. Unfortunately winning finals is a different matter and knockmore just had that bit more composure and experience to see them over the line.

  20. Ray dempsey has to be in discussion for county job next time it comes up. They are so well coached and drilled.

    Dublin final is woeful too, tbf any game I watched this weekend has been terrible low scoring fare, not just in mayo. Pitches are very heavy and backs will dominate

  21. I thought Belmullet’s black card was harsh, came at precisely the wrong time when they were building some momentum and Knockmore should have had at least one red. Overall Knockmore just had that bit more up front and McLoughlin a class act as always. No consolation but Belmullet have plenty to build on for next year.

    Not a day for the classics. Heavy pitches up and down the country…

  22. Knockmore deserving winners over the full championship. Just had a much stronger team and bench than Belmullet. Ryan O’Donoghue needed to be man of the match for Belmullet to have any chance, but he didn’t get into the game at all.

    A lot of people blaming the ref, but I’m not sure what he could do. So many head “injuries” throughout the game which stopped either team building some momentum. Even aside from that the quality was poor. Poor solos, hand passing and ball handling throughout, despite the decent weather conditions.

    Owen McHale was one of the few good performances for Belmullet. Shane McHale, Kieran King and Conor Flynn the best for Knockmore.

  23. Everyone are calling this one right, really poor final and lowest quality in recent memory. Basic skills lacking, kicking, coordination, attacking strategies, free taking. And people calling for ray Dempsey to be parachuted into the mayo senior job, you’d have to wonder at times

  24. A turgid low quality final as was the Dublin final. Belmullet has been fairly dour and physical over the course of the championship but when it came to the crunch Knockmore were well to shell it out as well. Better team on the day and deserved to win. lets hope they go well in Connaught. There were better footballing skills on show in both the Junior and Intermediate finals.

  25. Mayo Gaels won in 98 & 84 I see .
    Young team peppered with some older seasoned campaigners and a hardy Captain, Kevin Lynch.
    Fallon , Henry , Keane, Hughes, Jennings and a few more are still under 20yrs I hear, three Gallagher brothers playing great stuff, two Canavan brothers etc. But they played as a full team, everyone gave their all , especially in the second half which was epic, they defended doggedly , ran with purpose , used up all the pitch and they had superior fitness for that 4th time period , subs made their presence felt too.
    It’s great to see young players get a bite at senior and I’d say those Mayo Abbey lads will be hanging around up there long term .
    The great thing too is the rewarding of players who have been there to battle, year in year out they give their all , it’s the first big medal for those lads and it’s always well deserved, as it would have been for some of the haunis lads as well. Keith Higgins was strong , a handful for his markers in the first half, I don’t know much about the rest of their lads but they were no walkover obviously and both teams served up a classic, more exciting than Sundays fare.
    Congratulations to the Mayo Gaels .

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