Castlebar Mitchels 3-13
CASTLEBAR MITCHELS HAMMERED home their dominance of the club scene in Mayo with a powerhouse display against Knockmore — running out 3-13 to 0-10 winners.
When the game was there to be won early in the second half, they put the foot down and crushed their opponents resistance thanks to a man-of-the-match display from Paddy Durcan, who will be an injury doubt for their Connacht championship opener next weekend after he had to leave the field with 15 minutes to go through injury.
Durcan’s 1-1 inside the opening seven minutes of the second half proved decisive on front of 5,375 paying spectators.
The wing-back, who had fine tussle with Mayo team-mate Kevin McLoughlin while he was on the field, hammered the ball home from close range after a flying break from an interception in the middle of the park to put his side seven points clear.
There was just two between the sides at the break, but early points from Neil Douglas and Durcan after the restart set up the county town side for victory in the first floodlit final in Mayo.
Appearing in their first county final for seven years, the north Mayo men were the rank outsiders going into the game, but following their upset win over Breaffy in the semi-final they couldn’t be discounted.
However, they didn’t score in the second half until halfway throgh it and by that stage they trailed 1-10 to 0-4. Of the six points they kicked in the second half, five of them came from frees — four of those from Peter Naughton and all when the game was effectively done as a contest.
Mitchels kept going through the gears and goals from Neil Douglas, who had another fine showing kicking 1-6, and the other from Barry Moran hammered home their advantage as they claimed their 30th Mayo senior football title and third in four years.
The first half was played at a break-neck pace, with both sides opting to work the ball from the back through the hands to make their way downfield. Castlebar Mitchels went in leading by two at the break after a strong second third saw them pull back an early Knockmore two-point lead.
The game kicked into life two minutes in, when Knockmore sweeper Sean Rutldge broke from deep and swung over a point from the left hand side. The north Mayo men pushed two points clear six minutes in when Peter Naughaton landed a beauty with the outside of his right boot under pressure 35 metres out on the MacHale Road side of the ground.
Castlebar got running on the scoreboard when Paddy Durcan kicked the first of two points he landed from range in the opening half ten minutes in. Knockmore stretched their lead back out to two points through a Colm Reape point.
That was followed by two poor wides from Barry Moran and Cian Costello for the defending champions, before Neil Douglas kicked his first of the evening from a close range free.
Durcan levelled it up with another long range effort 12 minutes from the end of the half.
Mitchels then hit a little purple patch kicking three in a row, with Douglas tapping over another free Aidan Walsh hit an effort that Aidan Kilcoyne misjudged the flight of and it bounced over the bar, then Douglas tapped over one from a tight angle from play.
Kevin McLoughlin drove over his sides fourth point just before the break to send Mitchels in leading 0-6 to 0-4 at the short whistle.
Scorers for Castlebar Mitchels: Neil Douglas (1-6, 4f), Paddy Durcan (1-3), Barry Moran (1-0) Aidan Walsh (0-2), David Stenson (0-2, 1f),
Scorers for Knockmore: Peter Naughton (0-5, 4f), Keith Rutledge (0-2, 1f), Colm Reape (0-1), Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Sean Rutledge (0-1)
1. Rory Byrne
2. Shane Irwin
3. Ger McDonagh
4. Donie Newcombe
5. Ray O’Malley
6. Eoghan O’Reilly
7. Paddy Durcan
8. Aidan Walsh
9. Barry Moran
10. Fergal Durkan
11. Cian Costello
12. James Durcan
13. Niall Lydon
14. Neil Douglas
15. Shane Hopkins
Subs: 18. David Stenson for James Durcan (43), 17. Ronan Burke for Paddy Durcan (46), 19. Danny Kirby for Niall Lydon (50), 23. Jake Gannon for Cian Costello (53), 20. Callum Kyne for Neil Douglas (53), 24. Johnny Maughan for Donie Newcombe (54).
1. Aidan Kilcoyne
2. Marcus Park
3. Shane McHale
4. Diarmuid Walsh
5. Justin Rice
6. Andrew Keane
7. Nathan Hardy
8. Thomas Clarke
9. Kevin McLoughlin
10. Darren McHale
11. Colm Reape
12. Keith Rutledge
13. Sean Rutledge
14. Kieran Langan
15. Peter Naughton
Subs: 18. Brian Gibbons for Thomas Clarke (37), 21. Francie O’Neill for Darren McHale (49), 17. John Brogan for Marcus Park (55), 24. Alan Loftus for Colm Reape (56), 19. Ciaran Canning for Diarmuid Walsh (57).
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