Who’ll win it now?

The polls run here on the blog about the likely winners of this year’s Senior football Championship have been good fun. Castlebar Mitchels were the people’s choice in the first poll run before the action got underway but then in the second poll run after the group stages it was Westport who were favoured to go all the way and seal back-to-back titles.

Breaffy enjoyed little support in both polls but they’re still standing, having knocked out Westport yesterday. Mitchels, having survived a veritable near-death experience against Ballintubber, are still there too, and it’s now between them and Breaffy for one of the places in this year’s final.

On the other side of the draw, Ballina Stephenites – who have more county titles than everyone else but haven’t won the Moclair Cup since 2007 – and Knockmore, back-to-back winners in 2020 and 2021, will contest the other semi-final. Both of these North Mayo heavyweights have been going about their business with calm efficiency so far in this campaign and both of them will rightly now harbour high hopes for claiming the silverware.

So, which of the four left standing look best equipped to win it out? Go on, it’s time for another vote on the likely winners of the Moclair Cup this year.

Who'll win it now?

  • Ballina Stephenites (45%, 445 Votes)
  • Knockmore (27%, 268 Votes)
  • Castlebar Mitchels (16%, 157 Votes)
  • Breaffy (12%, 121 Votes)

Total Voters: 991

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38 thoughts on “Who’ll win it now?

  1. 4 good teams
    Whoever wants it most and can produce the goods
    Aiden deserves a championship but as we know too well sport is cruel..
    I’m a Stephanie native so ,Ballina

  2. Ballina for me especially if they can get Mikey Murray fit and keep him fit. Not saying they are over reliant on him but he is a big, strong, and well skilled player who never seems to get a decent injury-free run. Their young guns like Frank Irwin, Dylan Thornton, Sam Callinan et al are showing composure now which added to the older ones should see them over the line this time. Would be fitting if Clarke and Cafferkey end up with titles. Throw in O’Hora, McStay, Regan with an impressive bench and a team that’s in form makes them look a good bet. Of course the other 3 teams especially Knockmore love to hear Ballina being touted so Ballina will have to walk the walk.

  3. Have many of the Ballina team not played county at some grade? 5 in senior panel this year alone, so As poll suggests they are the strong favourites.
    Speedy recovery to Ger Cafferkey, was knocked out cold near end of Bellmullet game, scary to see it on TV. Luckily he came around quite quickly and fair play to his quick thinking team mate for putting him in recovery position.

  4. @Gizmobobs – Same could be said for Castlebar regarding counties players, they also have the current Mayo Captain and U20 Mayo Captain in their starting team (Paddy Durcan & Sean Morahan).

  5. Knockmore for me.Any word on venues .I have really enjoyed the club venues up to now brings much better atmosphere to the games bar the bad weather we got on Saturday.
    Knockmore and Ballina in Crossmolina would bring a huge crowd and the same with Breaffy and Mitchels in Clogher.Keeps McHale park free for the Final.

  6. Achill75 – Knockmore v Ballina is in Crossmolina and some logistical genius has scheduled Castlebar v Breaffy for Charlestown.

  7. Would love to see Breaffy lift it. Ballina after that. Hopefully the matches are competitive and all that experience filters into next years county campaign.

  8. I said Ballina before Westport were knocked out and I stick with it. If they do win, then they also need to not do what Westport did, and instead make a real charge toward provincial honours.

  9. I’d give Breaffy a good chance on some of the smaller club pitches, but don’t think they will ultimately have the firepower and can’t see them beating any of the others in mchale park, though you can’t fully discount them after knocking out the champs

    I expected a bit more from Castlebar then what we have seen so far but I do expect to see big improvements in the sf, still a young side with lots of pace so they will come soon but I think it’s a year or 2 early for them

    In terms of county players and depth ballina look absolutely formidable on paper,but the game isn’t played in paper and they have tended to underachieve. I do expect them to click soon on the big day too, there is just too much firepower/size/experience not to. Will be a humdinger with them and kmore

    And leads me to Knockmore, out of the 4 left they are just about my pick to win it. They save their best for the biggest days, have serious grit, and know how to get the job done even if its not pretty. In a close battle you would pick them every time

  10. Are Ballina all that strong outside of their best four players? Evan Regan, Padraig OHora, Sam Callinane and David Clarke. To me the rest are all good to decent club players.

  11. @JP…….. Nothing wrong with good decent club players . Often times they are the winning of a club final as the county lads often nullify each other .
    Think Ballina have lots of talented footballers as do the other 3 teams .

  12. The trick for a county manager is to spot a decent club player and transform him into a decent county player.
    In Mayo we expect a perfect county player, there is no such thing.
    We have made the mistake of using our best back as a man marker,a skill that needs no football at all. .As Franci Bellew famously said when asked did he play inter county football ” not really but I stopped a lot of other fellows playing”

  13. I see spending on Mayo county teams rose by over a whooping €100,000 last year to €1,183,622.

    This despite the fact in 2022 we had the Minor footballers and Senior Hurlers go all the way to their respective All Ireland finals in 2022, which would have added significant costs in 2022 that were not incurred this year.

    And of course there would be no under the table stuff on top of that like some counties be at 🙂

  14. @Gizmobobs – Inflation was 6.3% in that period so automatically that is around €60k which is justifiable.

    Take into account the seniors went all the way in the league and won a league title, plus the introduction of the round robin series with additional championship games it is not unrealistic that spending was higher than the previous year.

  15. JKEL88, inflation is a fair point, but League final this year added 1 extra game in that competition v 2022, that being the final. Which would be largely negated by the Hurlers having the extra game in Dublin in 2022 Christy Ring Final.

    Hurlers had London away in 2022 Christy ring which is a significant cost not incurred in 2023.

    The Senior football season only ended a week later this year v 2022 so training expenses related to that would not be overly significant.

    Hurlers and Minors you would presume would have likely received commemorative tops or dinners etc. in recognition of reaching finals.

  16. Knockmore still missing two of their starting defenders as well in Conor Flynn and Sean Holmes, both 22 but played in their 2 in a row team.

    Ballina I am not aware of any confirmed injuries, Cafferkey obviously after being knocked clean out Sunday would be a loss. Murray went off early, but walked off so may not be serious at all, and game was not really in any danger v Bellmullet so may be precautionary.

    Ballina nearly half the votes in poll, but while strong favourites the other 3 will prefer being underdogs naturally.

  17. If you were a good corner back, didn’t play county minor /u20 and your club is not too successful it would be really hard to get in with the county. It’s harder to standout as a man marking defender. Your talent is more obvious when you’re a midfielder or scoring forward.

  18. Very good point JP, which is exactly why there needs to be divisional football so as to give players from int/jun clubs the opportunity and platform to impress. It’s a key reason for Kerry’s success. The only thing stopping it is politics. Sure….what’s feckn new! I’d love to see the county board bring it in for a minimum of 4 or 5 seasons and see if any players emerge out if the long grass.

  19. @Mayonaze, even to scrap the winter leagues and other regional competitions for few years as a trial and replace them with a new competition involving the regional teams would be progress in my eyes.
    And it would not spook the delegates to much surely as championship and league would stay as are until they see how it goes…..

  20. The other thing is scouting bravery. The Islandeady Goalkeeper is one of the better goalies in the county. Think he had some underage panel time. It’s human nature to go with a supposedly “safer” call of ex u17/20 starter or a goalie from a big club.

  21. If Aido keeps it up and isn’t blunted by opposing teams, his one-man-band Breaffy could sneak something.

    Westport had those star panellists that have been touted as Ballina’s trump card and he saw off all comers. Conor is a good solid never-let-you-down type of player. Kevin McStay might note that for his file ‘character trumps quality’. Their gk is a serious operator. Michael Hall should be doing better and maybe he will. Robbie Fadden is someone they can squeeze more from, and the young Reilly lad can burn defenders.

  22. Catcol, will Hall feature next time out. Did he not limp off with what looked like a hammer injury or am I mistaken? I was at/ watched so many games last week it’s starting to blur together!

  23. Jarly Og Burns stepping away from Armagh for next year. He will continue to play with the club. We will see more of this – young players want a life outside of county football. That style of defensive, possession rubbish football that McGeeney has imposed on Armagh isn’t the most enjoyable football to be playing either. Managers will have to start letting lads express themselves and let them go out and play football. Of course you need a defensive structure – but you need an attacking structure too.

  24. @South Mayo Exile, I totally agree, the amount of time county players give is unreal.
    Need very supportive partners and employment.
    We all sometimes forget, they are the only ones in the County set up not getting paid
    It is not sustainable.
    As Peter Quinn said when he was president and looked into under the table payments ” We couldn’t find the tables never mind the payments”

  25. Breaffy have good solid physical defenders. They’ve been quite good this year that side of the team.

  26. Yes Gizmo, he was off midway through the first half I think. Looked like hamstring or thigh.

  27. @Mayonaze: Was the divisional side experiment not tried before? Could have sworn there was a West Mayo team in the championship around the millennium some time, although clearly it didn’t last.

  28. Would like to see Cian McHale , Stephen O’Malley , Brian Reape, Ciaran Gavin,Darren Quinn and Niall Hurley all called in by McStay.Hurley is only 18 or 19 I know but good enough to be called inw.Think Cillian was 19 in 2011.There all natural scoring forwards unlike some of the Westport forwards on Sunday who present and previous managements have put too much faith in.With 2 of them seeing red when things got tough.

  29. It’s Ballina Stephenites to lose in my eyes. They’re the best set up with the county men and the whole lot thrown in with it. Is there a man being flown home from Abu Dhabi for games? It’s a worrying trend in Mayo to see the town sides coming again with the numbers and resources. We see it at county level now it’s a numbers game.

    Could we see a day when the likes of a Breaffy and Ballintubber or a Knockmore and an Ardagh/Moy Davitts amalgamation is needed to compete in the next ten years?

    Castlebar, Westport, Ballinrobe and Ballina power axis for the rest of time seems inevitable.

  30. With younger players that are not ready physically, but are standouts in terms of football it’s worth them being brought in to have that senior level of support. But, and I think this is critical.
    The idea is to get those young players best in class development on and off field, but a full senior commitment would overload young players. Some are finishing school or starting university. It should be really patient and long term development thar starts now.
    We dint néed the youngest players in video analysis sessions or getting Dexa scans.
    My own view is lads are only ready for a full commitment when age 22 onwards. Up to age 21 I think the volume of commitment that is expected of them needs to be carefully managed. It’s nearly more of a mental thing than a physical thing.

  31. New pod up now on Patreon, this one featuring an in-depth interview by Rob with Ciarán Murphy of Second Captains, who recently published his first book, a GAA-themed work entitled “This is the Life”.

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