Photo: Mayo GAA TV (via Facebook)
The first of this year’s club finals within the county takes place tomorrow afternoon. MacHale Park is the venue and the Junior football title is the prize on offer, with Achill and Balla facing off for possession of the Pete McDonnell Cup.
Tomorrow’s decider throws in at 3pm. The curtain-raiser at MacHale Park is the county Minor A final between Westport and Parke, in what is a first ever MFC final appearance for the latter. That game gets underway at 1pm.
Both matches will be streamed live tomorrow by Mayo GAA TV (details here). It costs €5 for match-day access to this excellent service.
Balla come into tomorrow’s decider as strong 1/2 favourites. They won three from three in the group stages and then got the better of Cill Chomain in the quarter-final before accounting for Killala in the semis.
Balla have demonstrated a keen eye for goals on their march to the final. They’ve hit the net on seven occasions in the five matches they’ve played and while they didn’t manage to do so in the semi-final against Killala the seventeen points racked up in that game was more than enough to win the day.
Achill made heavier work of it in the group stages. They finished level in their group with Kilmovee and Ardagh, having lost to the latter in their final group game. Points difference saw them through to the knockout stages, though, but the runners-up spot they claimed pitted them against Kilmaine in the quarters.
That quarter-final 2-9 to 0-9 win over Kilmaine marked the Islanders out as possible title winners. In the semi-final they got the better of Kilmeena by four points. Their run through the knockout stages to the final has been greatly aided by meanness at the back where they’ve avoided conceding any goals.
The Mayo News football podcast got a taste of the build-up in both clubs this week, with Rob Murphy testing the temperature in Balla while Edwin McGreal did the honours over in Achill. If you haven’t yet listened to the podcast it’s well worth doing so – it’s available here.
There’ll be another podcast episode, needless to say, covering the action at MacHale Park tomorrow in what promises to be a keenly-fought JFC decider. Best of luck to the both clubs in tomorrow’s final.