While the main focus for most supporters this weekend will be the FBD semi-final against Galway at MacHale Park on Sunday afternoon (throw-in 2pm), that’s not the only action that’s on. Tomorrow there’s a choice between club and county, with matches of interest taking place in Ennis and Ballina.
At Cusack Park in Ennis Kilmaine face Na Gaeil of Kerry in the All-Ireland Junior club football semi-final. Throw-in at the Clare venue – so often a happy hunting ground for different Mayo teams down the years – is 1.30pm tomorrow.
Kerry club teams are always very strong at Intermediate and Junior levels. It’s no surprise, then, that the Tralee side – which features Jack Barry in its ranks, although the midfielder is reportedly “50:50” for tomorrow due to ankle trouble – are strong favourites to win tomorrow.
Kilmaine, though, will surely be coming into this contest on a high, having captured the Connacht JFC title back in November. They’ll be keenly aware too of the magnitude of the prize on offer tomorrow, with the winners heading for an All-Ireland final appearance at Croke Park later this month. The best of luck to them.
Closer to home, the county’s U20s play their second match in this year’s Development League, in which they’re competing this year in the Leo Murphy Cup. Following last weekend’s draw away to Roscommon, Mike Solan’s team take on Derry at James Stephens Park in Ballina. That game has a 2pm throw-in tomorrow afternoon.
UPDATE: The venue for the U20 match against Derry has now been switched to the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Bekan. Throw-in stays at 2pm.
Tomorrow night, meanwhile, the action takes place off the field, though it’s to salute significant on-field endeavours. The 15th annual Club Stars banquet is on at the Knockranny Hotel in Westport, at which the Team of the Year will be revealed, along with a raft of other awards.
I’ve never managed to get to this event before but I’m looking forward to being there tomorrow night. Rob Murphy and I will be recording some audio at the event, some of which will make it into the first episode for 2020 of the Mayo News football podcast.
That podcast episode will also take in some in-game chat and post-match analysis from MacHale Park on Sunday and it’ll be online at some point on Monday. I’ll also be doing my own bit of post-match audio from MacHale Park as well as bashing out a brief match report for the blog before hitting the road back to Dublin. A full-on and fun weekend lies ahead.