We’re already well into April – the month in which club action is meant to hold sway within the GAA – and this weekend sees the start of the 2019 club Championships at both Senior and Intermediate level.
Only one round of group matches in both the SFC and IFC will be played this month. While League club matches will continue to be played over the coming months, after this weekend’s initial round of games the Championships will remain on hold until the end of the year’s inter-county action.
Here are the choices on offer in the first round of the Senior Championship this weekend.
There are plenty of interesting clashes to choose from on that list. Group 2, in particular, looks quite appealing, with traditional heavyweights Castlebar Mitchels and Ballina Stephenites squaring off in Castlebar while Aghamore host Westport. Both matches are on at 5pm tomorrow.
Neither Castlebar nor Ballina have started the League too well – Mitchels were thumped 1-20 to 1-11 by Breaffy last weekend, having narrowly beaten Westport in their opener, while Stephenites have lost twice, to Aghamore and Ballintubber – so both will be eager to get a good start in the Championship.
Aghamore, meanwhile, have two wins from two in the League (as well as beating Stephenites they also got the better of Knockmore) so will be aiming to use this momentum to get them going in the Championship. Westport’s sole return from the League to date was a draw with Claremorris last time out.
The Aghamore/Westport match is, by the way, being streamed free of charge by Mayo GAA TV tomorrow, with coverage starting at 4.45pm. Full details on this here.
Other fixtures to catch the eye this weekend include the derby clash in Group 3 between Hollymount/Carramore and Ballintubber, which throws in at Hollymount at 4pm tomorrow and which could feature the long-awaited return to action of Cillian O’Connor, as well as the Group 4 meeting of promoted Belmullet and Charlestown Sarsfields. That match throws in at Belmullet at 7pm tomorrow evening.
In the Intermediate Championship, meanwhile, this is the list of games down for decision over the weekend, with most of these fixtures taking place on Sunday.
As in the SFC, there are plenty of fascinating clashes to choose from here. For example, how will relegated Crossmolina do against Bonniconlon? Or what about promoted Balla who take on Islandeady?
Best of luck to all the clubs taking part in Championship action this weekend.
Finally, many of you will have heard by now the sad news about the passing of John Durcan, aka ‘St Patrick’ the Westport man who was such a fixture at so many Mayo matches down the years. His varied and wildly over-the-top match-day outfits, as well as the many topical and witty homemade banners he displayed, to say nothing of his trademark bodhrán, brought colour and individuality to every game he attended. May this great supporter of Mayo rest in peace.