Three on the trot for Castlebar Mitchels thanks to final flourish

Ballintubber came up short.

Ballintubber's Alan Dillon with Johnny Maughan, Danny Kirby and Donie Newcombe of Castlebar Mitchels.
Ballintubber's Alan Dillon with Johnny Maughan, Danny Kirby and Donie Newcombe of Castlebar Mitchels.
Image: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Mayo SFC final 

Castlebar Mitchels 0-15

Ballintubber 0-13

Colm Gannon reports from MacHale Park

CASTLEBAR MITCHELS CLAIMED a three-in-a-row and their 31st Moclair Cup thanks to an impressive second-half display in front of 5,367 spectators in MacHale Park.

They held their nerve down the home straight and two late scores from Ger McDonagh and David Stenson saw them see off the Ballintubber challenge.

These two sides have had a number of tight battles in the final of this competition over the last seven years and it was no different this time around with the finest of margins separating the sides right at the end.

Ballintubber led by two points at the break and pushed themselves three clear five minutes into the second half, but it was Castlebar who drove on from there – David Stenson cut the gap back to two points from a close range free, the same man closed it to just one with a neat effort from play after Castlebar turned over Ballintubber in possession on their own 45m line not long after. Barry Moran levelled the game up with huge left footed effort as the game moved into it’s final quarter and it looked like Mitchels were heading for victory.

They went in front for the first time Ger McDonagh hooked one over two minutes later – but Ballintubber were’t going to give up that easy. Cillian O’Connor worked space for a shot, his first effort was blocked down – but Michael Plunkett worked the ball back to him and O’Connor levelled it up at 0-11 each with 11 to go. Now the game was really in the melding pot, Danny Kirby put Castlebar back into the lead with a fine score on the run – down the right wing.

Ballintubber had a goal effort from Diarmuid O’Connor brilliantly saved by Mitchels captain Rory Byrne – the resulting 45 from Cillian O’Connor drifted wide of the target. Mitchels went two clear thanks to another long range effort this time form Eoghan O’Reilly – but there was still plenty more drama to come.

With four minutes to go, Ballintubber were reduced to 14 men when Cillian O’Connor was shown a second yellow for the second time in three games. However his team kept going and an Alan Dillon free left just a single point between the sides and with less than a minute to go, Diarmuid O’Connor hit a brilliant score to level it up as injury time approached and the smell of a potential replay was in the air.

But Castlebar kept driving on and McDonagh hit his second of the day two minutes into injury time and Stenson kicking his fifth of the day from a close range free to seal their victory.

Cillian O’Connor put on an exhibition of free taking in the first half of this one – giving his side a two point lead at the turn around on a score of 0-9 to 0-7. He hit five from five from placed balls, including one with his weaker left foot from a tight angle close in to goal and a long ranger from tight to the sideline deep in injury time.

Ballintubber led from the off right up to the interval – with O’Connor kicking the first of his five points after just four minutes. Damien Coleman doubled the ‘Tubber’s lead a minute later with a lovely score from out on the left hand side of the field.

Supporters watching the game Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

Barry Moran kick started the Mitchels scoring with a nice effort on the run as he charged right through the middle of the field. O’Connor responded with his second free to keep the 2014 champions noses in front on six minutes. The sides went score for score over the next few minutes until a brace of scores with out reply for Mitchels through James Durcan and Neil Douglas pulled their side level at six points a piece after 25 minutes.

O’Connor nudged his men back in front two minutes later and he added on two more before the break with Barry Moran slipping one between the posts in response for Mitchels, before the break. But in between those scores Mitchels lost James Durcan to a black card for an off the ball clash, much to the anger of their players and management. Ballintubber went in leading 0-9 to 0-7 – with it all very much to play for in the second half. But it was Mitchels who went on to claim victory.

Scores for Castlebar Mitchels: David Stenson (0-5, 4f), Barry Moran (0-3), James Durcan (0-2), Ger McDonagh (0-2), Danny Kirby (0-1), Eoghan O’Reilly (0-1), Neil Douglas (0-1)

Gavin Cooney
Reports From Qatar

Get Gavin's exclusive writing and analysis from the 2022 Fifa World Cup

Become a Member

Ballintubber: Cillian O’Connor (0-6, 5f), Alan Plunkett (0-2), Michael Plunkett (0-1), Jason Gibbons (0-1), Damien Coleman (0-1), Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1), Alan Dillon (0-1, 1f)

Castlebar Mitchels

1. Rory Byrne

2. Johnny Maughan
3. Ger McDonagh
4. Donie Newcombe

5. Ray O’Malley
6. Paddy Durcan
17. Shane Irwin

8. Danny Kirby
9. Eoghan O’Reilly

20. James Durcan
11. Barry Moran
12. Cian Costello

13. David Stenson
14. Neil Douglas
19. Aidan Walsh

Subs: 21. Callum Kyne for James Durcan (BC), 7. Niall McCarney for Irwin, 25. Mark Towey for Maughan (BS)


1. Brendan Walsh

2. Gary Loftus
3. Brian Murphy
4. Myles Kelly

5. David Clarke
6. Michael Plunkett
7. Damien Coleman

8. Jason Gibbons
9. Danny Geraghty

10. Padraig O’Connor
11. Alan Dillon
12. Diarmuid O’Connor

13. Alan Plunkett
14. Cillian O’Connor
15. Stephen O’Malley

Subs: 17. Joe Geraghty for Loftus, 20. Stephen Broderick for O’Malley.

Ref: Declan Corcoran (Islandeady)

Kilmacud Crokes progress to second consecutive Dublin decider after edging out Lucan

Nemo Rangers secure 20th Cork senior title after Finbarr’s fightback in replay

About the author:

Colm Gannon

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel