It was a case of mixed fortunes for teams from the county in their respective Connacht club championship matches this weekend. Four Mayo clubs were in action over the weekend, with two of them progressing to the provincial final stage while the other two bowed out of contention.
Let’s start with Tooreen and that historic outing they had yesterday in Ruislip, where they continued their defence of the Connacht Intermediate hurling title as they faced London’s St Gabriel’s in the provincial semi-final.
Tooreen were seen as outsiders going into this fixture, given that their opponents’ ranks were filled with hurlers from Galway, with a few from Cork, Tipperary and Offaly thrown in for good measure as well. Despite this, it was the Mayo lads who took the game to the Exiles from the off and they led by a point, 0-9 to 1-5, at half-time.
The scores kept coming thick and fast after the break as well. When the dust settled at the finish it was Tooreen who emerged the victors by two points on a scoreline of 0-18 to 1-13. The win sees them through to the Connacht IHC final where they’ll face Galway’s Oranmore-Maree.
Also into a Connacht final are Ballintubber, who this afternoon got the better of Leitrim’s Aughawillan in the provincial SFC semi-final at Carrick-on-Shannon. Ballintubber led by three points at the break but they pushed on decisively in the second half, bagging three goals on the way to a 3-11 to 1-8 victory.
While today’s win may have been straightforward enough for the Tubbermen their next assignment certainly won’t be. Their Connacht final opponents will be Corofin, the defending Connacht and All-Ireland champions, who destroyed Roscommon’s Clann na nGael by 4-22 to 0-7 in today’s other semi-final.
Yesterday, meanwhile, saw both Belmullet and Balla reach the end of the road in their respective provincial campaigns.
Belmullet and An Spidéal slugged it out all the way through extra-time in their Connacht IFC semi-final at Tuam Stadium, with the Galway lads eventually winning out by 0-13 to 0-9. Belmullet’s cause definitely wasn’t helped yesterday by the absence through injury of captain Ryan O’Donoghue but they led by two points near the end of normal time. Shane Nallen’s dismissal on a second yellow swung the contest in their opponents’ favour and An Spidéal notched the scores they needed to force the tie into extra-time before pulling clear to win by four at the end.
Balla never really got going in their Connacht JFC semi-final yesterday against a strong Easkey side. A goal from a penalty after only two minutes put the Sligo lads in control and they added two more goals before the break, at which stage they led by 3-1 to 0-4.
It was always going to be an uphill struggle for Balla to get back into it after that. Easkey were content to trade points with them in the second half and that proved sufficient for the Sligo team to prevail, which they eventually did on a scoreline of 3-7 to 0-9.