Beating the drop is all that matters

While the quarter-finals will take top billing this weekend, off-Broadway there is still plenty of games of consequence being played out across the county in the senior and intermediate championship relegation play-offs.

Being one of the four teams across those two championships to see their season come to an end this weekend is the big prize that's up for grabs for the winners.

In the senior championship on Sunday afternoon at 2pm, Balla and The Neale will meet in the first of the senior relegation play-offs. Neither side is a stranger to this ever so delicate round of the championship. Despite both sides finishing bottom of their groups the West Mayo men head into it in better form.

They were stunned by Mayo Gaels in round one and failed to take advantage of a great start in round two against Breaffy, before putting up a big score in defeat against Ballina Stephenites in round three. For The Neale, they have not won a league or championship game so far this year and that is a hard thing to reverse - they were well beaten by Ballintubber in round one, then did not really lay a glove on Garrymore in round two, before being well beaten again by Belmullet in round three. They will have to have someone help out Tommy Conroy in the scoring stakes if they are to have a chance, while Balla should have a more rounded attacking threat led by the likes of Conor Walsh and Gary McHale.

An hour later in Ballindine the meeting of Claremorris and Ballyhaunis looks to be a fascinating encounter. The south Mayo men haven't raised a gallop really in the championship so far this year as their young side with a couple of veterans learned how hard the step up to senior football is. Ballyhaunis were last year's intermediate champions and ended up in a tough group, where apart from their round two outing against Knockmore they acquitted themselves quite well, drawing with Aghamore and pushing Castlebar Mitchels all the way in round three and they could have just enough to see their season end on Sunday.

In the intermediate championship relegation play-offs it gets no easier for any of the four sides battling it out to beat having to go out one for one more weekend in the relegation final. On Sunday at high noon in Bangor, Bonniconlon and Burrishoole will do battle to retain their status, while at the same time in Ballyhaunis it's the clash of Kiltimagh and Kilmaine.

Bonniconlon will head to Bangor with a pep in their step after their draw last time out against Parke-Keelogues-Crimlin and picked up a point their group stage dissevered at the very least following their showings against Islandeady and Davitts. Burrishoole were picked apart by Ballinrobe and Hollymount-Carramore in the opening two rounds of the championship and then were pipped in a tough skirmish against Kiltane in round three to end up at this stage. Bonniconlon's better form just might shade it for them here.

In the other game there on paper looks to be only one winner - Kiltimagh have seen the wheels come off this year badly. They lost out to Lousiburgh in round one in Bekan, before Adrnaree and Kilmeena saw them off with ease in the rounds after. Kilmaine's surprise loss to Castlebar Mitchels B in round two propelled them into their current predicament, but the return of Oisin Mullin for round three against Bohola Moy Davitts was a massive boost to the south Mayo men and they really pushed the title contenders all the way, and they should have enough to win this one and send Kiltimagh into the relegation final.

Mayo GAA Senior Football Championship Relegation Play-Offs

Sunday, October 1: Balla v The Neale in Hollymount at 2pm; Ballyhaunis v Claremorris in Ballindine at 3pm

Mayo GAA Intermediate Football Championship Relegation Play-Offs

Sunday, October 1: Bonniconlon v Burrishoole in Bangor at 12pm; Kilmaine v Kiltimagh in Ballyhaunis at 12pm

 

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