Inter certs

TIME is getting the better of me doing a comprehensive preview of the Intermediate championship but I will throw out a few quick predictions.

OUR TIP FOR THE TOP: Chris Barrett and Belmullet look the best bet for Intermediate glory.

OUR TIP FOR THE TOP: Chris Barrett and Belmullet look the best bet for Intermediate glory.

From an overall point of view Westport, Belmullet, Achill andf Davitts appear to be the favourites and of those I’d be fancying Belmullet at this stage.

They’ve been knocking at the door for a good number of years and it looked like the horse might have bolted. But they’ve been helped by how mediocre the grade has become. Good teams like Ballintubber and Aghamore have went up and teams replacing them on the way down from senior – Westport, Tourmakeady and Louisburgh – are not as strong, with only Westport realistic title contenders.

But we like the look of Belmullet. Everyone will be familiar with their county men Billy Joe Padden and Chris Barrett but they’ve plenty of other quality players like Seamie and Paddy Barrett, Stephen Carolan, Shane Nallen (a dangerous forward at club level even if most people know him as a goalkeeper), Henry Gaughan and Martin McIntyre.

The biggest battle for the men from the Erris capital has been within themselves and if they can focus on what they are capable of, they will take stopping.

We’ll know if they have that inner will in them after they travel to Ballindine and face Davitts this weekend. A win there and, mark my words, Belmullet will take stopping.

With regard to the other games Section A sees a must win game for Tourmakeady. A heavy defeat to Kilmaine in the first round was a massive shock and they really need to get the show back on the road and fast. Failure to beat Killala and they’re as good as gone.

But we think they’ll manage that much. Similarily so will Kilmaine manage to take care of Hollymount and, to paraphrase Fr Ted, to ‘take care’ of here can be applied in the Marlon Brando and not Julie Andrews sense! This will be a real blood and hair flying local derby but Hollymount really are a dying force, even at Intermediate.

Group 2 sees two title contenders go at it. Davitts host Belmullet but we fancy the Erris men to make a successful raid into south Mayo while Swinford will account for Crossmolina B but their first round loss to Davitts will ultimately prove cripling for their hopes of advancing from the group.

In group 3 we’re going to go for a shock and tip Bonniconlon to see off Westport. Bonni’ might be 5/2 with Stagg’s but Westport looked vulnerable in the first round and if Bonni’ can maintain the form that saw them have Achill beaten, only for two late goals, then a real surprise is on the cards.

Ballyhaunis can’t be dismissed either against Achill but we reckon Achill will shade a tight contest.

Finally to Group 4. Kilmeena and Mayo Gaels drew first time round while Cill Chomain defeated Louisburgh in a rearranged game that was only played on the day of the Mayo Roscommon game.

Kilmeena host Louisburgh and we don’t expect this to be one of the highlights of the weekend (the same can be said about Cill Chomain against Mayo Gaels). We’re going to go for home advantage in both games – Kilmeena and Cill Chomain to win.

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