Super semi-final action this weekend

Photo: Irish Mirror/Inpho

It’s down to the semi-final stage in both the Senior and Intermediate club championships, with the penultimate round ties in both competitions set to be played at MacHale Park this coming weekend. It promises to be a serious weekend of club football within the county and I’m looking forward to heading west tomorrow to catch the matches for myself.

The two SFC semi-finals will be played out under the lights at MacHale Park tomorrow evening. Then it’s back to Castlebar the following afternoon for a double-header of IFC semi-final action.

The Senior semi-finals tomorrow night look likely to attract a decent-sized crowd. There’s something about Saturday evening football that makes it more of an occasion and while it’s more usual to see the county team in action under the glare of the floodlights, it’s an option that’s increasingly being used nowadays for big club games too. It should make for a great atmosphere at the Castlebar venue tomorrow evening.

Getting the show on the road then will be the meeting of Breaffy and Ballaghaderreen (throw-in 6pm). When these two met at the quarter-final stage last year it was a massacre, with Breaffy knocking in six goals on their way to a 20-point win. It’s expected to be far closer tomorrow evening – and, in truth, if Westport had taken their chances in the last round, Breaffy might well be gone by now – but Ballagh’ will need to repeat their goal-scoring exploits against Garrymore if they’re to progress to their first Moclair Cup final since they won it last, back in 2012.

The main attraction, though, tomorrow night will be the repeat of last year’s final, with four-in-a-row chasing Castlebar Mitchels facing Ballintubber (throw-in 7.30pm). The O’Connors against the Durcans. Donie Vaughan versus Jason Gibbons in the middle of the park. Barry Moran’s experience compared to the clever-as-a-fox attributes of the ageless Alan Dillon. This one has the potential to be a real humdinger. It’s worth driving west for on its own.

On Sunday afternoon, Burrishoole and The Neale get the ball rolling at 1pm in the first of the day’s IFC semi-finals. Jason Doherty is the star attraction in this one and a player of his quality has the capability to do a serious amount of damage in a tie like this. I liked what I saw of The Neale last month, however, the day they crushed Ardnaree in the final group match and since then they had a narrow win over Parke in the quarters. Burrishoole are going well, though, so The Neale will need a big performance if they’re to do it.

At 2.30pm that afternoon Kiltimagh face Belmullet. The East Mayo lads are no doubt still ruing the fact that they didn’t dump Belmullet out of the competition when they had the chance in that meeting in the final round of group matches. The Erris men needed the win that day to make the quarters and they got it. Their subsequent demolition of Swinford showed that they’re coming to the boil at just the right time. Kiltimagh are a well-rounded outfit, though, and won’t give in without a battle. This could be another cracker.

If you can’t make it to Castlebar this weekend then you’ll still be able to catch all the action live over the internet on Mayo GAA TV. Match passes cost a modest €5 per day and details of how to access this excellent streaming service are here. As an added bonus, subscribers to the service this weekend will be entered into a draw for a 2019 Cairde Mhaigheo season ticket – details on that are here.

Depending on how the mood takes me over the weekend I might do a few quick post-match audio reports while I’m in MacHale Park and I’ll also be summarising the action afterwards here on the blog. And, of course, I’ll be joining in with Rob and the rest of the Mayo News lads on the podcast, with the episode reviewing the weekend’s championship action online as usual on Tuesday morning.

18 thoughts on “Super semi-final action this weekend

  1. Really looking forward to both games tomorrow night. Mitchels and Ballagh to scrape through to the final for me. Should be two really competitive games.

  2. 1-13 to 1-10 at the end for Breaffy. Last goal for Ballaghaderreen made it a nervier finish than it should have been. Poor match overall. I’ve just put up an audio report (which should be accessible now via Twitter) if anyone’s interested.

  3. If we want the evidence of why we need major changes to Football rules. Plenty quality on the pitch but both teams cancelling each other out.

  4. Extra-time here. Tubber dug themselves out of a hole in injury time, two late, late frees from Cillian got the draw. But was his second one over? Umpires weren’t sure, by the looks of it ….

  5. Extra time for Ballintubber and Mitchells. One nine each.
    Although the players went off and the kids came on!?!?!?

  6. Between the relegation battle in Charlestown between Crossmolina and Davitts and the Mitchell’s v Tubber game in McHale Park you’d have to travel far and wide to see two better games. Club football is absolutely top class in this county.

  7. Sometimes two very good boxers is dull to watch with very few punches thrown. I felt both teams cancelled each other. Danny Kirby was extremely quiet for a multi year panellist.
    Ciaran Gavin unbelievable for a minor.

  8. Doc was brilliant but took some abuse. He needs to get some protection in the replay. He was the stand out county player today.

  9. JP…maybe only Diarmuid O Connor handled more ball than Danny Kirby, especially in the last quarter when Mitchell’s were under severe pressure!

  10. The two big boys cancelled each other out all right but I thought Mitchell’s had more chances to win it. Diarmuid is, by a distance, the best footballer in Mayo. What a talent.

  11. Where on the planet, I ask you, would you find such unpaid endeavour on the part of “amateur” sportsmen? All for the pride of the parish. I, as a neutral, was privileged to watch that ferocious but cleanly fought second contest unfold in McHale Park. The levels of fitness, skill, and determination were of the highest order. Frequently, tensions ran high as never more than three points seperated the teams. For much of the game, as the tide ebbed and flowed, all was balanced on a knife-edge. And never a dirty stroke. Hard and uncompromising, yes. But honest and honourable to the end. (I won’t sully the memory of this evening’s epic by comparing it to the abomination to which we are being periodically exposed by a minority (but a significant minority) of our brethren in our Fourth Green Field.) Many of our greatest and brightest shone tonight. I’m loathe to single out individuals after such a wonderful game but I thought Diarmuid O’Connor gave an exhibition which convinces this scribe alone that he is every inch the wonderful County player he was two years ago. Paddy Durcan. Decisive, athletic, measured in his probing, authoritive. At times he looked like he waved the baton of the Castlebar orchestra. His brother, James, caught the eye too. Cillian was Cillian as we know, love and want him. His lay off to ( I think) Michael Plunkett was just as important as the finish in that, the receiver never had to adjust his stride before collecting and despatching. These are just a few of the many who come to mind at this late hour as having lit up McHale Park earlier this evening. James Horan was seated a few rows in front of me. I hope he enjoyed the spectacle as much as I did. I’ll be surprised if he didn’t. Finally, I came to the game with no allegiance whatsoever but, as the exchanges unfolded, my regard for Ballintubber grew in proportion to the manner in which they drove at the favourites. I can’t wait for the sequel.

  12. How much more punishment must Diarmuid and AOS take before the powers that be intervene, last Sat eve saw these two attacked time and again, little protection from referees.
    We complain bitterly when at inter county level when these two brilliant performers suffer from bad refereeing , yet we stand idly by as they are continuously fouled. How Caastlebar did not have a player dismissed for assaults on DOC is a mystery. Nuf said !!
    Evil Eye

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