ALL-IRELAND CLUB finalists Castlebar Mitchels booking their spot in the Mayo SFC quarter-finals and reigning Cork senior hurling champions Midleton losing at the first hurdle were the main talking points from the weekend’s local championship action around the country.
Castlebar Mitchels, beaten by St Vincent’s in last March’s AIB All-Ireland SFC final in Croke Park, nailed down their spot in the last eight in Mayo this year with a comprehensive 2-22 to 1-5 win over Crossmolina yesterday. County senior Richie Feeney found the net for Castlebar Mitchels in their 20-point victory.
They are now set to progress from Group 1 while 2011 county champions Ballintubber, 3-16 to 0-12 winners over Shrule-Glencorrib yesterday, will progress if they win their final group game against Crossmolina.
In Group 2, Garrymore and Knockmore were victorious in their respective games over the weekend against Kiltane and Ballinrobe to ensure they will feature at the quarter-final stage.
In Group 3, Andy Moran’s Ballaghaderreen are in pole position to qualify following their 3-13 to 0-10 win over Westport while last year’s beaten county finalists Breaffy have qualified from Group 4 following their 4-17 to 3-13 win over Claremorris yesterday.
Following their brilliant victory over Clare in the Munster senior hurling semi-final, several member of Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s Cork hurling squad were back in action at club level over the weekend.
There was disappointment for reigning champions Midleton – who lost out in last November’s AIB Munster SHC club semi-final against Sixmilebridge – as they were defeated last night in the opening round by 2006 and 2007 county winners Erins Own.
Conor Lehane, who struck 0-9, and Luke O’Farrell were in action for a Midleton side that slipped to a 1-17 to 1-14 defeat in Páirc Uí Chaoimh against an Erins Own team that had former Cork senior Eoghan Murphy in excellent scoring form as he chalked up 0-10.
Midleton will now take on East Cork rivals Killeagh in the backdoor stage. Killeagh lost out last Thursday to a Patrick Horgan-inspired Glen Rovers by 1-16 to 1-15.
Elsewhere over the weekend in Cork, former All-Ireland champions Newtownshandrum defeated last year’s intermediate kingpins Youghal by 1-18 to 1-13 yesterday while Blackrock overturned Na Piarsaigh by 3-14 to 1-16 on Friday night. Na Piarsaigh now play Youghal at the backdoor stage.
Tonight there is a double-header of senior hurling championship action in Páirc Uí Rinn with 2012 title winners Sarsfields playing Douglas while St Finbarr’s take on Bishopstown.
Banner Back In Action
Finally in Clare, Davy Fitzgerald’s squad were back in club action over the weekend following their disappointing loss to Cork. Four games took place in the second round of the senior hurling championship with 2012 winners Newmarket-on-Fergus, 2010 and 2011 champions Crusheen and 2008 victors Clonlara all claiming significant victories.
Newmarket-on-Fergus, who had Colin Ryan in action, ran out 3-16 to 0-8 winners over Tubber in Group 2. They are set to progress to the knockout stages along with Clarecastle who defeated Tulla by 0-24 to 1-14.
In Group 1, Clonlara – the club of John Conlon, Domhnall O’Donovan and Darach Honan – crushed Inagh-Kilnamona by 5-21 to 1-11 to put themselves on course for the quarter-finals.
Finally in Group 3, Crusheen defeated Kilmalley by 1-15 to 1-14 to maintain their unbeaten record and ensure they are top of the group.
Reigning champions Sixmilebridge – who lost last year’s AIB Munster SHC club final to Limerick’s Na Piarsaigh – are scheduled to face Cratloe next Sunday in Group 3 while Tony Kelly’s Ballyea side meet Clooney-Quin on Friday night in Group 1.