Who’ll win the Moclair Cup?

The club Championships move to the knockout stage this coming weekend so in advance of the quarter-finals it’s an appropriate time, I reckon, to re-run the poll on who you think will end up with possession of the Moclair Cup at the end of next month.

The last poll on this topic was undertaken when all sixteen clubs were in contention but that number has now been cut in half. It’s interesting to look back at the voting in that poll, in light of how the group stages have gone since. The results of that poll are here.

I guess it’s no great surprise, in light of the absence of any real shock results in the group games, that most of the clubs who polled strongest are still standing. Castlebar Mitchels, Westport, Ballina Stephenites, Knockmore, Belmullet and Ballintubber attracted the most votes (in that order), with Charlestown Sarsfields also making the cut in eighth place.

Garrymore finished seventh in the poll but they haven’t made it to the final eight, with Breaffy (who came in 11th in the poll) qualifying for the knockouts instead.

Although League winners Castlebar Mitchels attracted most backing in the original poll, their progression since then to the quarter-finals has proved a bit laboured. Defending champions Westport, as well as Ballina Stephenites and Knockmore, can all argue (if they’re so inclined) that their form heading into this weekend is more solid, while Ballintubber – who face Mitchels at the weekend – have more than a hint of the dark horse about them.

That meeting between the team who won out in 2018 and 2019 and the club that enjoyed a three-in-a-row of county titles from 2015 to 2017 is the standout tie from this weekend’s quarter-finals. While it’s difficult to see Westport, Ballina or Knockmore stumbling at the approaching hurdle, that clash between Ballintubber and Castlebar could go either way.

The spread of support that was evident in the last poll shows how open the race for the Moclair Cup is this year and that perception hasn’t been radically altered by how the group stages went. At this stage in the race it looks like any of five could realistically claim the silverware.

But, in advance of the business end getting underway, which of the eight still standing do you feel is best equipped to go all the way? Let’s end with a vote on that question.

Who'll win the Moclair Cup?

  • Westport (30%, 251 Votes)
  • Ballina Stephenites (28%, 237 Votes)
  • Knockmore (16%, 132 Votes)
  • Castlebar Mitchels (7%, 60 Votes)
  • Ballintubber (6%, 51 Votes)
  • Belmullet (6%, 51 Votes)
  • Breaffy (3%, 28 Votes)
  • Charlestown Sarsfields (3%, 27 Votes)

Total Voters: 837

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28 thoughts on “Who’ll win the Moclair Cup?

  1. @Sam Og , thanks for the video link re the St Vincents / Raheney Dublin club championship fixture. I note that on commentry Robbie Hennelly was referred to as the ‘EX’ Mayo goalkeeper, as indeed the same in text on the official Dublin GAA summary of the match . I certainly never heard anything about Robbie retirement from the Mayo set up. Colm Reape has had an excellent debut season with the Mayo seniors but in the second half from my perch in the lower Cusack during Dublin blitzing Mayo in the Championship quarter final I couldnt help but find myself thinking that Mayo would have been better off with Robbie between the sticks, and it beggars belief that at least Robbie wasnt at worst second choice, but there you go. ..RE the Parke v Claremorris Junior B final yesterday, Im not sure that match should have gone ahead in such conditions. Congratulations to Claremorris on a very tough hard fought win in horrendous conditions after extra time and penalties. But it was my understanding that all ‘County Finals’ went to a replay …or is just some?

  2. As for the Moclair Cup its very hard see past Westport. Hope the weather is better for all the games than it was yesterday.

  3. I don’t often agree with Brolly but his article at the weekend was spot on.
    Football is dying on its feet, Offaly county final was hard watching and in Meath Rathoath got to the county final without scoring in the second half, I think the score was 7 to 6.
    Having the All Ireland in July is leaving the road open to soccer and rugby.
    Something needs to be done quickly, Leinster and Munster championships a joke.
    People talk about the clubs but we didn’t start our championship until late August.
    God be with the days when 3 rounds of the league were played before Xmas.
    The way forward is Saturday night league games under lighhts.

  4. Leantimes what would Robbie have done differently about the lack of runners, ball winning midfielders and lack of a visible kickout strategy?

    Agree county finals could be replayed not extra time. Games yesterday should not have started. You’d wonder when the other games were allowed finish of the A final between Knockmore and Westport was called off for safety reasons or to try and protect the pitch….

  5. Ballina with all there inter-county experience past and present or Westport with there huge pick would have to be favourites.
    Castlebar similarly but they seem to have gone Uber defensive and struggle with scores.

  6. @Gizmobobs, could’nt agree with more re lack of runners and options for Colm Reape v Dublin, I noticed that immediately when Kevin McLoughlin came on that maybe you could call it Knockmore synchronized, one successful restart, from Colm to Kevin in the blink of an eye Cluxton like . Not blaming Colm Reape at all , lack of options further out the field, and an apparent lack of a plan when Dublin went full court press had much more to do with it, One aspect where Robbie might have been better was in the less amount of time Robbie takes to restart. Despite the enormous range Colm Reape has , over 80 meters I would guess, Dublin had enough of time to have every Mayo option covered up to the far 65 meter line. I think Robbie might be a few seconds faster in getting his kicks away. Mayo got 3 points from play in the first half from huge Colm Reapes restarts but Dublin done their homework at halftime and those options were closed down. Just my opinion on the subject, Colm Reape is one for the future for Mayo fantastic talent but Stephen Cluxton is still the benchmark in regards almost instant restarts,

  7. I couldn’t understand how when we weren’t winning the kickouts management didn’t just tell Colm to drive it as long as possible more often. If not going to win our own ones at least make opposition work from their own 45 up with them.

  8. Looking at that 8 quarter finalists and I cansay that South Mayo is the weakest of the 4 divisional areas, my answer for this is simple, there are too many Senior clubs competing for a small pool of players, also it’s no wonder that most Mayo managers were from the North of the County.
    The West again the strongest in all grades, Senior, Intermediate and Junior.

  9. You’d need to check the census on that one bate the blanket.
    Congested down there with number of clubs but population is quite strong with being in Galway commuter belt.
    Westport on other hand has a quickly growing population and is an amalgamation of Westport and Aghagower covering a huge area, and new club being built in Kilmeena will naturally extend area further.

  10. I think Knockmore will win the Moclair cup theyre ticking along nicely under new management. Hennelly has given Mayo great service in fairness but you cant blame our goalkeeper for our collapse in the second half against the Dubs

  11. I don’t think the number of clubs in south mayo is a reason they are not winning Moclair cups. As someone mentioned there is a higher population. I don’t see any south mayo clubs struggling to field teams from underage up.

  12. I went for Westport last time so I’ll stick but Ballina are looking really impressive. It will be one or the other for me.

  13. New pod up on Patreon – Rob and Colm Boyle are joined by Mayo Gaels manager Paul McGarry to preview the coming weekend’s club Championship action.

  14. @Yew_tree, why is it that no South Mayo club has not won the Senior title since 1994 ?, even priotto 1994, how many South Mayo clubs have won the Senior or even the Intermediate or Junior County titles? Only Garrymore won a few in late 1970’s and into early 1980’s.

    Looking in fron the outside the picture is different, I see it like this, North Mayo was the strongest of the 4 divisions until Ballintubber emerged under Horan in 2008 or 2009 if I am correct, ever since then West Mayo is the strongest of all the 4 divisions, Senior, intermediate and Junior.

  15. Reape had a very solid debut season. Sure he has some indecisive moments but he pulled off some very good saves at key moments in games. He is young and will learn. If he continues to practice to improve his kicking with left & right (top keepers need to be strong with both feet) and strength under a high ball, then he can be a really strong addition however he will have competition, some decent young keepers in Mayo. Dolan from the minors last year has very good potential if he builds on it. Hennelly gave lengthy service and was decent but unfortunately made some blunders in finals which proved incredibly costly. 2013, 2016 replay which was a meltdown and 2021 when he came off the line but failed to connect with the ball or do enough to put off the attacker (almost a replica of the error for Brogan’s goal in 2013).

  16. And whoever wins Moclair needs to win Connacht too. It’s been far too long and it’s getting a bit embarrassing now for Mayo football.

  17. Another new pod up, this one is our highlights show available on all platforms with audio from recent shows on Patreon, featuring Kieran Kilkenny, Conor Diskin, Kevin McLoughlin and Peadar Gardiner.

  18. @Mayonaze I totally agree with you regarding reape we have found our number 1 goalie. Yes he had some rocky moments but it was debut season for him and I for one would still pick him above hennelley . He made some magic saves this year and will grow & learn and only get better with time I really think reape will be far better then any other goalie we have had so far .

  19. @Bate the Blanket What is your solution to South Mayo so (I don’t think it even needs one)? Which club – or clubs – are you swinging the axe for? Good luck trying to convince any club that can still field teams on their own that they need to dissolve.

    South Mayo clubs have routinely done well in Junior and Intermediate grades. 4 of the last 12 Intermediate winners have came from South Mayo, with 2 of the final 8 in this year’s championship (Ballinrobe and Hollymount/Carramore) among the favourites to win it out. Hollymount/Carramore, Mayo Gaels, Shrule/Glencorrib, Davitts, The Neale and Ballinrobe have all won Intermediate at least once in the last 25 years, some winning it twice. That’s 6 out of the 9 South Mayo Clubs. Add in Claremorris and Garrymore, two Senior mainstays, and you’ve accounted for almost the entire region. The only remaining club – Kilmaine, recently won Junior, and were pipped to an All Ireland Title by the eventual winners in extra time by a point.

    I think we are blowing the South Mayo debate out of proportion.

  20. Whoever wins the Moclair Cup, I hope they look beyond it and bring a Connacht title to Mayo
    Westport have strength in depth, a lot of good young lads and are my choice. But I definitely would not rule out Ballina. Orme a big player for knockmore, he can keep them in the running

  21. The upcoming quarterfinals of the Senior Club championship seem to have an almost inevitable predictability (75 %?). I won’t add my tuppence worth lest the Gods take offence to my attempted egotistical clairvoyance and intercede in the outcome! Instead I will speculate on what might have been…
    With the senior club relegation battles decided ten days ago (Phase 1 over) had the proposal to include Divisional teams to challenge the senior club runners-up, in each of the four groups, i.e., Breaffy, Castlebar, Belmullet and Charlestown (based on the current 2023 Season) Junior and Intermediate Amalgamated Divisional teams could have been drawn from the following clubs…
    South Mayo (Moytura Gaels)
    Ballinrobe / Hollymount-Carramore/ Kilmaine / Davitt’s / Shrule- Glencorrib
    West Mayo (Grainne Uaile’s)
    Louisburgh, Burrishoole, Kilmeena, Tourmakeady, Islandeady, Achill, Parke-Keelogues-Crimlin
    North Mayo (Tirawley & Erris Gaels)
    Crossmolina, Kiltaine, Kilcommon, Bonniconlon, Lacken, Ardagh, Kilfian, Ardnaree, Killala, Lahardaune, Ballycastle, Ballycroy Moygawnagh
    East Mayo (Barr Na Cuige Gaels) Kiltimagh, Aughamore, Eastern Gaels, Moy Davitts, Swinford, Kilmovee
    It would surely have made for an intriguing draw and an extra exciting championship round before the quarter-final proper. One can say with a fair degree of certainty that some of the Divisional sides drawn from the above clubs might well have progressed to the quarter-final and indeed beyond.
    Alternatively – when the top eight club teams were decided – a new draw could have taken place with 2 club teams plus a Divisional team in each group – each of the 4 groups of 3 teams to play a round robin system to decide 4 winners who would go directly through to the senior semi-finals.
    Divisional Boards are more than capable of the necessary administration and fair organisation of teams. Each Division also has a number of vastly experienced Managers (many with Inter-County experience) who would surely relish the challenge of identifying talent and forging divisional teams capable of being real contenders.
    More importantly it would give the many first-rate Junior and Intermediate players around the County a tilt at winning a Moclair Cup & Medal and an opportunity to showcase their ability in a series of games at a higher level and perhaps impress the County Management. There is nothing better and no greater reward in Mayo Gaelic football for a Club player than winning a Moclair Cup. And it should be open to all.
    I can fully understand some senior clubs objecting to having Divisional Amalgamated teams involved from the commencement of the Senior Club Championship. This is because Divisional teams by their concept and differing annual participation could not be involved in yearly relegation and understandably senior Clubs would feel hard-done-by if beaten by a Divisional Team resulting in their relegation.
    So Phase 2 of the Competition pre the existing quarterfinal stage when relegation matches are decided between clubs is the ideal time and method to introduce the four Divisional teams.
    Another sensible requirement would be that the Junior and Intermediate Championships should be streamlined and run off in an orderly fashion pre the concluding rounds of the Senior Championship. This is not to downgrade the competitions but there are many free weekends since the end of the Inter County season in July when virtually nothing is happening on the playing fields.
    Also County Board coffers would surely benefit even further from attendances as crowds at this year’s club competitions have been substantially up on previous years. I am sure the Treasurer’s financial report to the upcoming County Convention will illustrate this.
    One final matter on this proposal – Club should always come first – so whatever Junior or Intermediate Club win their County Championship in a given season, they should be exempt from joining their particular Divisional side in the Senior Championship. This would be understandable in order for them to concentrate fully on their Connacht Club Championship campaign.
    Also allowing Divisional sides into the senior Championship might quell the current speculation (I don’t agree with!) that Westport, Castlebar or Ballina (all strong urban clubs) are now destined to win the Moclair Cup into perpetuity!
    Hail the splendid achievements of Garrymore, Hollymount, Knockmore and Ballintubber in recent decades. Be assured rural Clubs across the County in the years ahead will continue to have a big say in the destination of the Moclair Cup!

  22. Sorry! Regarding the above and East Mayo (Barr Na Cuige Gaels) omit Aughamore from the Divisional team as they are an existing Senior Club.

  23. Nice post Sean, my concern with the rural urban divide now as opposed to other years is you can’t get the planning or existing housing in these areas.
    Emigration always ebbs and flows, but one off housing is being phased out. From a rural area, my older siblings have houses built on family yard past 14 or so years. Not a runner for me under current system.
    Family size is decreasing also so combined with above you can look up national school numbers in these areas and the outlook is down year on year in many.

  24. A few solutions,
    1, Re- arrange the old 4 divisional areas.
    2, Have 8 divisional teams made up of Intermediate and Junior clubs only ( too many Junior clubs in North Mayo for 1 divisional team ).
    3, 8 or 12 at the most Senior clubs to contest the Senior championship.
    4, The biggest towns, to have 2 separate clubs ( one will probably suffer in the long run ), as the other may get bigger numbers.
    5, Probably the best solution of all, remove the League’s completely.

    Do we really need a league in the inter County system?

  25. Gizmobobs – you are of course spot on about rural planning and the phasing out of one off housing in rural areas. An expert Group has reported to the Minister Peter Burke and the report on the further curtailment of one-off rural housing will shortly be published. One can only hope that long standing public representatives like Michael Ring, Eamon O Cuív, Michael Fitzmaurice, Marian Harkin and others will band together and tell the Politicians and Planners from the Pale what to do with the report. From 1901 to 1971 the population of Mayo halved falling from 200,000 to 100,000 while the population of Dublin almost doubled going from 450, 000 to 850,000! Population trends have got even worse in the past 50 years. Yet Mayo has six times the area/landmass of Dublin! Can anyone explain that?
    Bate the Blanket – I just cannot see the Divisional Boars adjusting their long standing traditional territories. Regarding all the Junior Clubs in North Mayo – many are now amalgamated at underage level and now also some clubs are amalgamated at Junior, i.e., Northern Gaels. Eight Divisional teams would surely be too weak to be serious contenders and the administration of same by Divisional Boards could be cumbersome and lead to the undesirable “local politics” scenario referred to by others in earlier posts.
    Whatever proposals might emerge I cannot see any Senior Clubs being ever demoted (unless on playing field results) and rightly so. This season Aughamore and Ballyhaunis completed very strongly against Castlebar Mitchells. Teams learn far more from playing strong opposition than playing mediocre teams. As regards two teams from the biggest towns – Breaffy are part of Castlebar Parish and can draw from town players and Ardnaree are also an intrinsic part of Ballina. I would point out though some large towns in Kerry have 4 or 5 GAA Clubs many of them are Senior Clubs.
    I can’t ever see the Inter -County leagues being abolished – if anything it’s the Provincial Championships in Leinster and Munster that are now farcical and they need to be looked at.
    Finally I feel the introduction of four Divisional teams would add greatly to the Mayo Senior Championship and also the introduction of a “two up” and two down” system across the grades would improve standards and add extra freshness to the championships on an annual basis.
    Properly done I feel common sense proposals would attract the support of the Mayo Clubs whose basic interest is I am sure the further promotion of the game and the overall betterment of Mayo football.

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