Last year’s beaten finalists Breaffy crashed out of the Mayo SFC over the weekend as the four semi-finalists in this season’s competition were decided. Defending champions Ballintubber will take on Ballina Stephenites while Castlebar Mitchels will meet Ballaghaderreen in the last four games which will be played on the weekend of October 5/6.
But it was Ballina’s shock extra-time win over a Breaffy team that contained Aidan and Seamus O’Shea, as well as their Mayo team-mates Matthew Ruane and Rob Hennelly, that was the talk of the county on Saturday night.
The Stephenites came through by 2-13 to 0-14 after more than 90 minutes of football at MacHale Park, Castlebar with their Mayo panellists, David Clarke, Ger Cafferkey, Mikey Murray, Evan Regan and Ciaran Treacy all playing prominent roles.
The teams had finished all square at the end of normal time, 1-10 to 0-13, with former Longford footballer Colm Flynn shooting a last-gasp equaliser for Breaffy to salvage a draw.
A Sean Regan goal for Ballina had put the North Mayo men in a strong position, but Breaffy rallied in the closing stages to send the game to extra-time. Substitute Simon Leonard turned out to be the Stephenites’ hero as he finished with 1-3, including a goal in the first period of extra-time that gave Ballina some breathing space.
Despite losing both Mikey Murray (black card) and Ger Cafferkey (injured) during the second period of extra-time, Ballina managed to make the game safe with the likes of Ciaran Treacy and Leonard chipping in with crucial scores.
Holders Ballintubber booked their ticket to the semi-final with a hard-fought 1-12 to 1-8 victory over last year’s Intermediate champions, Belmullet, in Ballina. Mayo’s all-time leading scorer, Cillian O’Connor, finished with 1-6 for the winners while his brothers Diarmuid, Ruaidhri and Padraic all featured at various stages.
Ballintubber led at half-time by 1-6 to 1-4 and despite some eye-catching points from former Cork City player, Gary Boylan, Belmullet were never able to get back on terms.
Ballaghaderreen had the easiest passage to the semi-finals, running out comprehensive 2-16 to 0-8 winners over a Davitts side that never got going. A well-taken goal from former Footballer of the Year Andy Moran in the second half was among the highlights while long-serving full-back Stephen Drake came off the bench to kick two inspirational points.
Ballagh’ had led at half-time by 1-6 to 0-3 and were never in any danger as they cruised through to the semi-finals for the second year in a row. Their opponents in two weeks’ time will be Castlebar Mitchels, who came from five points down early in the second half to get the better of Knockmore by 1-12 to 0-13.
The game-changing score came in the 50th minute when Castlebar’s Neil Douglas managed to bundle the ball over the Knockmore goal-line from close-range after Aidan Kilcoyne had done well to parry an effort from Mitchels’ sub, Bryan Walsh.
Knockmore had led at half-time by 0-8 to 0-5 and when Darren McHale knocked over a couple of scores after the restart, Mitchels looked to be in trouble.
But they showed all their experience and conditioning in the last 30 minutes with Danny Kirby, Paddy Durcan, Donie Vaughan and Ger McDonagh leading the charge. Meanwhile, in the relegation play-offs, Claremorris beat Hollymount/Carramore by 4-14 to 0-8 while Westport ran out 3-16 to 0-3 winners over Moy Davitts.