Permutations become clear in football championships
The permutations in the Mayo senior, intermediate and junior club football championships are a good bit clearer after this weekend's round two games.
Group 3 of the Connacht Gold senior championship has already produced two quarterfinalists after the two rounds due to wins today for Ballina Stephenites away to Claremorris and Knockmore away to Kiltane. It means the two north Mayo clubs are in the final eight, with Claremorris and Kiltane in a battle to maintain their senior status.
No other group is as clear-cut, although Aghamore and Ballintubber are in a healthy position to progress from Group 2 following wins over Davitts and Moy Davitts respectively yesterday evening. Mathematically, Davitts and Moy Davitts could still get out of the group but it would take an extraordinary set of results for that to happen.
The Neale have adjusted very well to senior football. They followed up last week's last gast victory over Garrymore in Group 1 with a draw away to Belmullet today, a result that keeps them second behind Ballaghaderreen, who are through to the last eight by virtue of this result. Belmullet can join them but will need to beat Garrymore in the final round and hope that Ballagh' earn victory against The Neale, and even at that Belmullet have a points difference deficit to overcome.
Group 4 is the tightest of the lot, with all four of the combatants – Breaffy, Castlebar Mitchels, Charlestown and Westport – still in contention for a quarterfinal slot. Westport occupy top spot thanks to their victory over Breaffy last week followed by a draw against Charlestown yesterday evening, while Breaffy blew the group wide open by beating Mitchels today, joining their neighbours on two points from the same number of games. Charlestown are still in the race but even a victory over Breaffy in the final round may not be enough depending on the result when Castlebar play Westport.
In the Egan Jewellers intermediate championship, Group 4 has produced two quarterfinalists after two games, Ballinrobe and Crossmolina. Ballyhaunis and Lahardane are now in a relegation battle.
Bonniconlon have qualified from Group 1 but it's a three-way contest between Kiltimagh, Louisburgh and Swinford to see who will join them.
Hollymount/Carramore are in the last eight with two wins from two games in Group 3, their victory over Balla today putting pressure on the central Mayo club who are now in a fight with Parke for second spot in the group. Parke's victory over Islandeady puts them ahead of Balla on points difference. Fittingly, the final game sees Balla take on Parke for that quarterfinal berth.
The situation is similar in Group 2. Mayo Gaels are also through to the quarterfinals but there's a battle royale building behind them between Ardnaree and Castlebar Mitchels B to see who will join them in the last eight. Ardnaree produced arguably the result of the weekend with a 3-11 to 4-07 win in Newport, knocking Burrishoole out of contention in the process. Their clash with Mitchels in the final group game should be a cracker.
In the TF Royal Hotel junior championship, Eastern Gaels and Ardagh have both qualified from Group 1, Kilmeena are as good as through from Group 2 and Killala look well placed to join them with a final round game to come against Lacken, Kilmaine are practically in the last eight and Achill should join them as they face Kilfian in the last round, while Shrule/Glencorrib and Cill Chomáin are both through from the three-team Group 4, Ballycastle finishing bottom and dropping out of contention as a result.
*Pictured above, action from Garrymore where the home side were narrowly defeated by Ballaghaderreen yesterday evening – a result that leaves Ballagh' in the quarterfinals but Garrymore out of contention in this year's senior championship. Photo: Michael Donnelly