Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 17 May 2022

Mayo stars back on club beat, a notable Waterford semi-finalist and crunch Tipperary games

It’s another big weekend of club action around the country.

A big weekend for Knockmore, Roanmore and Borris-Ileigh.
A big weekend for Knockmore, Roanmore and Borris-Ileigh.
Image: INPHO

1. Back to the club game in Mayo 

After the trauma on the national stage, it’s back to local matters for the Mayo footballers this weekend. Two weeks after their latest final day of disappointment in Croke Park, the senior championship kicks into gear at home as another football challenge approaches. Twelve of James Horan’s team that started against Tyrone are involved with their club in the top-level group games in Mayo.

The backdrop is interesting. Two clubs – Ballintubber and Castlebar Mitchels – carved up nine of the ten titles between 2010 and 2019, but both were absent from county final day last year. Knockmore seized the opening for a first title in 23 years, condemning Breaffy to another loss in a decider. Breaffy’s tie against The Neale is live on TG4 on Sunday, while last year’s semi-finalists Westport play 2019 finalists Ballaghderreen in a tie with strong potential.

2. A huge day for Waterford semi-finalists

Reaching the last four stage is no big deal for three clubs this weekend in Waterford. Champions Ballygunner are chasing eight-in-a-row this year, it’s a third consecutive semi-final for Mount Sion and Dungarvan were here in 2019. This would have been a baseline requirement from the outset in 2021.

For Roanmore it is different. A first semi-final outing since 2000. They have lost five quarter-finals in the past six seasons, including the last three campaigns. They last contested a final back in 1990. Since then they have watched their near city neighbours Mount Sion and De La Salle win ten titles between them.

So it’s understandable why last Saturday night’s dramatic 4-14 to 4-13 win over Lismore carried such meaning for the club. Gavin O’Brien’s match-winner propels them to a semi-final meeting on Sunday with Dungarvan, an occasion of great significance.

ballymun-kickhams-celebrate-with-the-trophy Ballymun Kickhams players celebrate last year's Dublin final victory. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

3. Dublin football race heats up

Round two in the Dublin group games could be a decisive stage with several teams having the chance to take a significant step forward in their quest to reach the knockout stages. The fixtures has interestingly thrown up ties in different groups between teams who won their opening games – Ballyboden St-Enda’s v Na Fianna, St Vincent’s v Kilmacud Crokes and Ballymun Kickhams v Skerries Harps.

Then Round Towers Lusk meet Lucan Sarsfields, the former winning their first game and the latter drawing. Those games feature the last four title winners, claiming a win would represent a significant step towards booking a quarter-final berth.

luke-connolly Nemo Rangers forward Luke Connolly. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

4. Cork champions seek response 

For Nemo Rangers, that spell in late August and early September was a strange one. On a Sunday afternoon they toasted 2020 success, a final win over Castlehaven in a game that had been long-delayed due to the pandemic-enforced lockdowns. Then six days later they had to begin their 2021 assault and came up short against Valley Rovers.


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It means the feel-good factor of a county final triumph has to be parked, the focus switching to a recovery operation in a new season. They play Carrigaline tomorrow in their second of three group games, heavily favoured to win and needing that result to get back on track.

5. Crunch group games in Tipperary

By the close of the weekend, we’ll find out the identity of the teams contesting the knockout stages in the Tipperary senior hurling title race. The remaining group games will whittle down the contenders, with a pair of Semple Stadium encounters crucial. Last night Loughmore-Castleiney prevailed in their encounter, a win over JK Brackens ensuring they will advance. 

Then tomorrow it’s an all-North clash between Borris-Ileigh and Nenagh Éire Óg. The stakes are high in that Group 4 tie, the winners set to advance and the losers set to bow out. Considering it pits the 2019 champions against the 2018 finalists, there will be a team of noted calibre exiting early.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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