Knockmore’s Shane McHale fists the ball to waiting colleague Kieran King during the Mayo SFC tie against Aghamore this evening. Photo: David Farrell Photography

Defending Mayo SFC champions get 2021 campaign off to a winning start

Knockmore and Ballintubber made strong statements this evening as the Connacht Gold Mayo SFC championship got underway.

Defending champions Knockmore were very good in patches as they won their Group 2 opener at home to Aghamore by 1-13 to 0-10, the goal coming from the boot of Pearse Ruttledge after an intricate move during a dominant second quarter.

After ending the first quarter just 0-4 to 0-2 ahead, Knockmore out-scored their east Mayo visitors by 1-6 to 0-2 in the second quarter to take a firm grip on proceedings.

With a 1-10 to 0-4 lead at half-time, Knockmore were in a good position to get the title defence off to a fine start. That's just what they did, even if they were outscored by 0-6 to 0-3 by Aghamore in that second half, Fergal Boland the scorer-in-chief with five points in the second period and eight overall for a decent evening's work.

Aghamore couldn't breach a staunch Knockmore rearguard, however, and without a goal it was always going to be difficult to reel the champions in.

Elsewhere, Ballintubber served notice that they mean business in this year's championship. They brought league Division 1A champions Ballina Stephenites back down to earth with a convincing 3-13 to 1-10 victory in their Group 1 encounter.

In the same group, Claremorris secured a slender 2-11 to 0-16 victory over neighbours Davitts in a rip-roaring game in south Mayo.

In Group 3, Balla put in a decent display on their return to the senior championship but were ultimately defeated by Castlebar Mitchels on a 1-14 to 1-9 scoreline.

Arguably the display of the day – and certainly the score of the day – came in central Mayo as Parke-Keelogues-Crimlin amassed 4-16 to just 1-4 in reply by visitors Bonniconlon in their Egan Jewellers Mayo IFC Group 1 encounter.

In the same group, Bohola Moy Davitts got the better of neighbours Swinford with a 2-14 to 1-15 victory, while Burrishoole won their Group 2 encounter away to Lahardane by 3-9 to 2-10 and Crossmolina scored a late goal to secure a comeback win away to Ballyhaunis in Group 4, prevailing by 1-13 to 0-14 in east Mayo.

Meanwhile, the results in the Mayo Exclusive JFC this evening were: Ardagh 3-13, Kilfian 0-10 (Group 1); Killala 0-14, Islandeady 3-17 (Group 4).