Another weekend of club Championship action takes place over the next two days, with the first pieces of this year’s silverware set to be handed out.
Pride of place this weekend is the Senior hurling final. This is usually a Tooreen/Ballyhaunis affair – only six times in the last twenty years has the decider not been contested by these East Mayo neighbours – but that’s not the case on this occasion.
That’s because Castlebar Mitchels secured a shock one-point win over Ballyhaunis in the semi-final a few weeks back, earning them a place in the final for the first time since 1998. It’s the first time Ballyhaunis won’t be contesting a TJ Tyrell Cup decider since way back in 2001 and it’s the first time since 2011 – when Westport faced Ballyhaunis – that it’s not a Tooreen/Ballyhaunis showdown.
Another change this year sees the final played at MacHale Park, as Tooreen and Ballyhaunis have been hosting it every other year in recent times. As far as I know, that 2011 decider between Westport and Ballyhaunis was the most recent time the county’s big event in hurling was staged at the Castlebar venue.
This year Tooreen – who lead the way in the roll of honour with 29 titles – are chasing three Tyrell Cup victories on the spin, which is their best run of success since they completed a four-in-a-row back in 2000. I’m not sure if Castlebar Mitchels have ever won the county hurling title. They certainly haven’t done so in the recent past.
There’s a good, in-depth preview of the hurling decider by the redoubtable Michael Commins in this week’s Mayo News – that’s here. By the way, the match on Sunday is being streamed live, free of charge, by Mayo GAA TV via Facebook. Details on that here.
The Senior final throws in on Sunday at 2.30pm. It’ll be preceded at 12.30pm by the Junior B football decider between Eastern Gaels and Crossmolina B.
Ahead of all that, the Junior A football final is on at MacHale Park tomorrow evening. Battling it out for possession of the Pete McDonnell Cup then will be Kilmaine and Castlebar Mitchels B. That title decider throws in under the lights at 7pm.