Wed, Nov
10 New Articles

Who will emerge as quarter masters?


SFC Previews
Mike Finnerty

Garrymore v Westport
Saturday, October 1
Ballinrobe at 4pm

ON paper, it’s hard to see past a Westport win but Garrymore teams have never concerned themselves with things like that.
Damien Egan, Kieran Fitzgerald and company will have their team fired up and raring to go for this knock-out game, and the fact they are underdogs will make it even easier to build a siege mentality.
Westport didn’t tog the McLaughlin brothers, Eoghan and Oisin, or Fionn McDonagh last weekend for their workmanlike win over Mayo Gaels; if any (or all) of them were to be missing against Garry’ they would be huge losses.
The return of Kevin Keane is a big boost to morale, and you know Lee Keegan won’t be found wanting when the going gets tough.
Westport to win, but only after a battle.
Verdict: Westport

Ballina Stephenites v Claremorris
Sunday, October 2
Charlestown at 12pm

THE Stephenites have turned plenty of heads in their last two games and they will be expected to account for Claremorris next Sunday.
Ballina manager Niall Heffernan, who lives and works in the South Mayo town, is experienced enough to know about the dangers of complacency and conceding a few late goals against Aghamore will help him to focus minds.
Claremorris are in bonus territory now, after qualifying for the last eight for only the fifth time since 2004. So Kevin Beirne’s team can have a cut and see where it takes them; music to the ears of Conor Diskin,  James McCormack and company.
Padraig O’Hora’s likely tussle with Diskin will be worth watching.
Ballina’s pace and power should be too hot to handle, and shutting down all their attacking threats is a big issue now for opposition defences.
Verdict: Ballina Stephenites


Castlebar Mitchels v Knockmore
Sunday, October 2
Castlebar at 2.30pm

THIS repeat of the Division 1 League Final — which went to extra-time before Mitchels prevailed narrowly — is an intriguing prospect.
Knockmore’s bid to win three-in-a-row remains on course, despite losing to Ballina, but they will be asked some difficult questions here by the team being assembled by Barry Moran and Neil Lydon.
The champions have a brilliant track record at MacHale Park and have played some of their best football there in recent seasons.
It suits their style of play and brings out the best in Kevin McLoughlin and co.
Mitchels haven’t felt the full force of the loss of James Durcan yet, but this could be the day they wished he was still flying fit.
Verdict: Knockmore

Ballintubber v Breaffy
Sunday, October 2
Castlebar at 4.15pm

THE build-up to this game will shorten the week for supporters of these West Mayo neighbours and fierce rivals, and both sides will feel they have a great chance of turning the others over.
If Ballintubber were at full strength — and had both Michael Plunkett and Cillian O’Connor fully fit and firing — then it would be very hard to see past them.
But they don’t, and both are expected to be absent again next weekend.
Breaffy got the result they needed against Belmullet and left plenty of room for improvement, but the performance of Mattie Ruane will have given them the most cause for optimism.
His midfield battle with Diarmuid O’Connor will be pivotal on Sunday, while Jason Gibbons is likely to be toe-to-toe with the O’Shea brothers.
It’s likely to go down to the wire, but Ballintubber’s injuries could tip the scales.
Verdict: Breaffy

Relegation play-offs
THE first duels to beat the drop are likely to be won by Ballaghaderreen against Davitts and Balla against The Neale.

IFC Previews
Michael Gallagher


Ballyhaunis v Parke
Saturday, October 1
Clogher at 4pm

A CONVINCING case could be made for both teams given the impressive form they’re bringing into the knock-out stages.
Parke have grown in strength and composure since being pipped by Ballinrobe in the opening round while Ballyhaunis are flying since drawing with Castlebar B on the same weekend.
Now, they face one another with the prize of a county semi-final on offer.
Jason Coyne, Eoghan Collins and their colleagues will trouble any team going forward while Jack Coyne, Keith Higgins and the backs will give little away.
However, can they contain the prolific Ronan Carolan, Sean Sweeney and the exciting Parke forward line?
We think they can.
VERDICT: Ballyhaunis

Ballinrobe v Kilmeena
Sunday, October 2
Mayo Abbey at 2pm

BOTH sides will fancy their chances in this one.
Ballinrobe come into this unbeaten and riding the crest of a wave with players like Liam Burke, Evan O’Brien, Kevin Quinn and Darren McDonnell to the fore.
The All-Ireland Junior champions will also arrive in Mayo Abbey with an equal cargo of confidence after emerging from a tough group after three savage battles.
If Darragh Keaveney and Jack Carney find enough space and time in which to operate at full throttle, Kilmeena will be hard beaten, but injury worries over Conor Madden and Sean Ryder may hinder their progress.
John Reilly’s squad might just have enough quality to come through anyway.
Verdict: Kilmeena

Louisburgh v Moy Davitts
Sunday, October 2
Islandeady at 12pm

MANY people’s favourites to lift the Sweeney Cup against the great unknowns. Louisburgh are strongly tipped to win the whole thing with three hurdles still to jump, while Moy Davitts are the most unpredictable team left in the race.
They have the potential to win it all, but consistency has been their Achilles heel. The Moy men scraped past Mitchels B last weekend and will be without Brian Reape and John Gilmore due to cruciate ligament injuries for the rest of the season.
Ronan O’Grady’s Louisburgh have answered every question posed of them this year, and with Dylan Prendergast, Padraic O’Malley and Martin Ball catching the eye up front they’ll be hard stopped.
Verdict: Louisburgh

Hollymount Carramore v Crossmolina
Sunday, October 2
Parke at 12pm

THIS has the potential to be a thriller.
Hollymount-Carramore established themselves as real championship contenders when casting Kilmaine aside on Sunday. Now, they have to back that up against a team that have benefitted from Peadar Gardiner’s coaching this season.
Dylan Morris was excellent for Holly-Carra last weekend. If he repeats the trick in this one his team will be hard beaten. Darren Coen, Nathan Moran, Stephen Coen and Robert Molloy are playing fine football and will relish another run at the roses.
Crossmolina have arrived at this stage of the competition quietly but have excellent players all over the field. If their three Mayo men - Conor Loftus, Jordan Flynn and Fionan Duffy are injury-free and produce the goods they’ll be hard beaten, but Tom Connelly’s lads are timing their run beautifully and should progress.
Verdict: Hollymount-Carramore

Relegation play-offs
THEY won’t be pretty but Kiltane and Kilmaine should secure their status for next season at the expense of Ardnaree and Lahardane respectively.


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