Ballintubber dethrone the champions in extra-time thriller

The champions are gone. Castlebar Mitchels, winners of the Moclair Cup for the last three years, were sensationally edged out at the death tonight by Ballintubber in an extra-time edge-of-the-seat semi-final replay encounter at MacHale Park.

Like the drawn match seven nights ago, both sides had the chances to claim victory in this evening’s replay. Ballintubber, though, looked the better team throughout and they deserved the win, secured in dramatic fashion in extra-time stoppage time by substitute Joe Geraghty.

I watched this one myself from the comforts of home on Mayo GAA TV. The widespread broadband outage suffered by Eir this evening meant that the stream wasn’t up and running by the time the ball was thrown in and when we finally got it working the scores were tied at four points apiece.

Kevin Filan’s half-time summary on Mayo GAA TV confirmed that Castlebar had bagged the opening two points, only for Ballintubber to hit the champions with four points on the spin. Mitchels then responded with three scores in succession before a cracking one from play by Cillian O’Connor tied it up again.

Ballintubber were, like the last day, working like demons. They flooded their defence with bodies and then, in the Tyrone style, broke rapidly. One such move saw Cillian O’Connor direct a superb ball downfield to the unmarked Brian Walsh who turned and fired over.

Just before half-time it was the turn of the apprentice and the master to combine for the Tubbermen. Minor starlet Ciaran Gavin was the creator and the wily old fox that is Alan Dillon finished emphatically to send his side in two up at the break.

Scores were traded early in the second half – both teams notching one from play and one from a free – but then Mitchels upped the gas to score four on the trot and push two points clear.

Instrumental in this surge was the introduction of Neil Lydon who replaced a subdued Danny Kirby. Suddenly the champions were coming at the challengers in waves and, at last, were starting to find gaps in this meanest of backlines.

Anthony O’Boyle, from thirty yards out off the left, knocked over the first of these scores and a great ball in by Lydon to Neil Douglas made the second. Dougie hit a real rasper which only went narrowly over the bar. A few inches lower and it could have been a very different game.

Ballintubber nearly got a fortuitous goal soon after when Diarmuid O’Connor shot from distance but as Rory Byrne gathered he fumbled the ball and had to dive on it to prevent it squirting over his goal-line. Up at the other end soon after Paddy Durcan drove it over off the left after some patient build-up play.

Another well-worked move saw Shane Hopkins fire over. Two clear now and Mitchels looked like they had the winning post in sight. The sides then traded points from frees and with normal time up it seemed that the champions had done enough.

But the O’Connor boys did not concur. Diarmuid drove over a belter from play and then, with virtually the last kick of the game, Cillian guided over a free from an extremely acute angle out on the right. So, once again, it was extra-time.

Any thoughts that Castlebar’s depth and their experience would now tell were quickly disproved. Ray O’Malley’s night ended on a black card offence and Cillian drove the resultant free from fifty yards out over the bar.

Then Diarmuid took off on a gallop from midway. The defender shepherded him out to the left but it was off the left he let fly and bagged a super score to push his team two clear.

Neil Douglas then got bottled up in the swarming Ballintubber cover. I actually thought Dougie overcarried but the ref gave him the benefit of the doubt. The resultant free cut the gap back down to one.

Into the second period of extra-time now in this enthralling encounter and it began to look as if another replay would be needed to prise these great rivals apart. It was clear at this stage that it would take something special to seal it.

That X-Factor was produced by Jason Gibbons. He’d been quiet enough in normal time but in those frantic closing moments the big man made two surging interventions to set up the scores that finally saw the Tubbermen home.

The first one came after Jason claimed a great mark from a restart after David Stenson had missed a point-scoring opportunity from a free. As Ballintubber worked the ball up the field after this, Gibbons joined the line at speed and offloaded to Padraig O’Connor who fired it over.

But great champions don’t give way easily. Staring down the barrel, two in arrears with time running out, they hauled themselves level one last time. Dougie got both of these from frees, the second one an infuriating score from Ballintubber’s point of view, as Cillian O’Connor fouled Paddy Durcan off the ball and the free was then moved up for dissent.

In injury-time stoppage time Jason Gibbons timed his second extra-time surge to perfection. As he stormed forward he spotted the unmarked Joe Geraghty out on the right. The offload was perfect, the shot from the sub – a nephew of the great Ger Geraghty – wasn’t half bad either. It was more than that, of course, because it was the winner.

Huge congrats to Ballintubber. Over the course of the two games they looked close to going out but they showed enormous heart and courage to keep plugging away. They got their reward at the finish and fair play to them for that.

Commiserations to the Mitchels, whose drive for four county titles on the spin just came up short. They’ve been great champions the last three years and they battled right to the end tonight to preserve their crown but it just wasn’t to be.

What a final is now in prospect. Both teams will really fancy their chances and I’d say the decider – which is scheduled for this night week, throwing in at 8pm – will draw a bumper crowd to MacHale Park. If we get to see a contest then that’s anything like the engrossing one served up tonight it’ll be a decider to savour.

133 thoughts on “Ballintubber dethrone the champions in extra-time thriller

  1. Just seen on @MayoGAA that the Mayo GAA TV coverage of tonight’s game was, due to the Eir broadband outage, streamed instead via 4G. I think we can now conclude definitively that mobile broadband has arrived!

  2. Delighted for Ballintubber all homegrown talent no bringing in big name stars from other clubs. They fought for every ball as if their lives depended on it heroes all through the field from 1 to 20.Diarmuid over the two games plus the two extra times was the outstanding player a definite for midfield in the county team Cillian had nerves of steel with the last free in ordinary time the Durcan twins were the outstanding players for Mitchell’s.

  3. I thought bar the two quick points in first half James Durcan was very quiet. For a county player he didn’t do a while pile when Mitchell’s were under pressure and needed him. Ballintubber defence excellent all through.

  4. Great summary Willie Joe. Yes, this most certainly was an enthralling contest. Really enjoyed it.. both teams gave it everything. Superb levels of fitness, going right to the end, loads of skill on display, great tactics and a clean game. A great reflection of the quality of club football within the county. Did someone say Cillian O’ Connor wasn’t playing well? Holy God his vision and skill is just top drawer. As for Diarmuid I would pay the entrance fee alone just to watch him play. Looking forward to the final now.

  5. Very enjoyable and exciting though lacking quality at times.Tubber deserved their win for the hunger alone though were lucky not to pick up a couple black cards in my opinion.Doc,Cillian and young Walsh were the pick for the winners and Douglas very sharp on good ball.Should be a cracker next saturday and really looking forward to the midfield battle with Doc/Gibbons v Ruane/ possibly Aido.

  6. James Durcan has only just come on to the county scene he’s hardly expected to carry the can. Danny Kirby has been hanging around county scene for a few years and I can’t fathom why. Donie Vaughan very subdued. Can’t agree with you about Jason Gibbons thought he was good throughout. Unless Ballintuber come up with a kickout strategy they will get eaten alive around the middle.

  7. Ya what
    Alan dillion has played for Ballintubber all his life.
    On the other hand
    a player decides to leave his home club and chase a county senior medal with a club only 17 miles from his home, well it doesnt look good
    Also Pki I was at the sideline at the end and witnessed no unsavoury stuff
    Both set of players gave it all in probably the best club match I’ve seen in Mayo in a while

  8. Congratulations to Ballintubber, … Was in Mchale Park both day’s, really good honest epic tough stuff, I don’t think last night’s game game was as intense as last Saturdays affair…. But after the incessant rain of earlier in the day and indeed week, the ground, altough it looked well had to be very tough going on the leg’s…. It will be tough on Ballintubber to come up with the goods next Saturday evening… Castlebar were excellent 3 in a row champions… Now it will be either Ballintubber, or Breaffy…. Two day’s out, both went to extra time, against a really tough Castlebar Mitchell’s team…. . Can Ballintubber do it again, in 6 Day’s time?…If they can ,they are something else… However regardless of replay’s and extra time, Breaffy will be fully intend on showing up, and giving the performance of their Club lives… Maybe, their name is on the Moclair Cup for the very first time?….. Either way anyone who was in McHale Park, on either of the last two Saturdays has to feel privileged…., Next Saturday, at 6pm, it starts all over again, this time for Silverware…Burrishoole V Belmullet, should be a contest with pride,skill gusto, can’t see either of the two teams not performing…. but I won’t call it… The town will be buzzing!… And then both, close neighbour’s will go toe to toe…Who will it be?

  9. PS, I seriously hope James Horan was talking note of Dougie’s performance! For a guy to play so brilliantly … hope it didn’t go unnoticed!

  10. Leantimes have to agree. Dougie was and has been for the last few years the standout forward for Mitchell’s he has to be given a proper chance on the mayo panel. Toe to hand agree Diarmuid O’Connor is one of the nicest footballer ‘s to watch he is also one of the most hardworking. He really is a cut above. Next week should be a humdinger.

  11. Just to let us know u21 A, B and C championship group games in many venues today and over the next weekend’s.

  12. Some huge scores from Cillian last night. Really encouraging to see him feature much more prominently in the replay. Diarmuid was an absolute colossus around the middle and has been in the form of his life since he was sent off in Castlebar in June.

    The final is a tough one to call. I think I’d lean towards Tubber but they could also run out of legs next Saturday.

  13. The simple switch of moving DOC to midfield from half forward has potentially made him the best player in the province at this moment in time.

  14. As a neutral,delighted for ballintubber, and the O’Connor brothers,all three stepped up and got vital scores, when the game was in the melting pot,the whole team stood up in extra time, and tackled ferociously, and in packs, it was brilliant to watch,the last score, was thoroughly deserved, and well taken, and slotted over with an ice cool demeanour,under the pressure, Well done to Jason Gibbons and Joe Geraghty,Hard luck Mitchell’s ye gave it yer’e all and were great champions, Just one little gripe, wish Mayo tv would move the camera,and stop showing us, them spare pair of uprights, or whatever they are, surely it’s not like the place is packed to the rafters and they can’t move, lol . Anyway jokes aside. Thanks Mayo tv and all involved for a great service,for us mad, hard to please Mayo fans, lol.

  15. Diarmuid O’Connor is playing like a young Michael Donnellan at the moment, that score up along the side line where he took on Paddy Durcan was worth the admission fee alone plus the block on Danny Kirby.

  16. Great weekend of football. Great heart shown by both sides last night in tough conditions I’d imagine after all the rain. Diarmuid is some operator oozes class. And fair play Cillian who really worked hard. Hard luck to Mitchell’s have been impressive champions last 3 years hard keep going. Felt bit over reliant on Douglas up front.
    Was at minor division 1 semifinal this morning Knockmore v Parke. Great game of football with fine scores tackles blocks fielding and foot passing on show. knockmore gifted late goal to Parke to force e.t. bit pulled away in extra time to win 4.26 to 3.16. Final v Westport should be good game with little between them in championship.

  17. Who do ye have in terms of strong players u18 and u21 Gizmo?
    Peter Naughton and Marcus Parke.
    Adrian Orme?

  18. U18 this year Pearse Ruttledge, Nathan Armstrong, Darragh Jordan, Mickey Lowther and Ciaran Brogan
    U18 again next year Adam Naughton, Conall Dempsey, Caolan Hopkins, Sean Holmes (played U17 this year), Keith Ormsby and Conor Flynn
    U21 this year you named main ones Peter Naughton, Marcus Park, Aidan Orme, Ryan Casey, Shane Farrell, Conor Brogan, Conor Coleman and Joe O’Neill all fairly solid players

    U21 should be good this year with Westport, Castlebar, Claremorris, Louisburgh, Parke, Balla and Bellmullet some great players. Hopefully it’s not just rushed off in bad weather

  19. Thanks Gizmo.
    Hard to look past Westport in the u21 A.
    They’ll tog something like:
    Paddy OMalley
    Ben Doyle Rory Brickendon Luke Tunney
    Paul Lambert Niall McManamon Emmett Rowley
    Fionn McDonagh Brian OMalley
    Pat Lambert Oisin McLoughlin Mark Moran
    Colm Moran Killian Kilkelly Alan Kennedy
    That surely must be the strongest 15 we have seen since back to Crossmolinas star u21 team, which was also exceptional.
    Claremorris can be strong with Conor Diskin, Stephen McGreal, Colm Gill, James McCormack and Matthew Macken.
    Louisburgh would be a lot stronger with Dylan Prendergast back for them.

  20. The question is, who is gonna nail down the other midfield jersey alongside Diarmuid? Who are the contenders?

    My thoughts…

    Parsons – showing amazing mental strength and resilience. Could feature in some capacity toward the end of next summer? Hard to call.

    SOS – has he the engine or more importantly the agility and pace required at the top level now at intercounty. A great servant to Mayo and could still add value but perhaps in a different capacity to your standard midfielder?

    Ruane – was a player who improved throughout the u21 season in 2016 (he still had another year at u21 the following season) and scored some vital points for Mayo in that campaign. Displayed a tough streak in his play together with athleticism and an ability to take a score ‘on the run. He had a leg injury last year. I haven’t seen him this season. Has he done well for Breaffy?

    Gibbons- I’m a firm believer that if a guy is ripping it up at senior club level then he needs to be considered for county. Again, I’ve not seen him play this season but reading the accounts on here suggest he has played a crucial role?

    Are there any other players who have been doing consistently well in the middle third at senior, inter or junior for that matter?

  21. Matty Ruane playing very well for Breaffy the last few weeks. Next weekend should tell us more when he’s up against Diarmuid and Gibbons.

    I saw Ballina play a few times and Mikey Murray was their standout player at midfield. He’s the same age as Ruane.

    Fionn McDonagh for Westport is another player I like but he may be better as a forward.

    I’d expect Seamie to play a role next year as well, he’s still only 31.

  22. Agree with majority of sentiments expressed on last night’s game. The final will be intriguing. Mitchels over reliant on Dougie who is a class act, brave and skilfful and one deserving of a proper chance with Mayo. I get the feeling he would thrive if trust were shown in him.

  23. I forgot senior player Eoghan McLoughlin for Westport u21.
    Padraig Prendergast Louisburgh was good this year in intermediate. Could challenge for midfield.

  24. Seems be good year All around for it Willie Joe. Hopefully will continue in to next year.
    Although Carnacon are back in ladies final after beating Moy Davitts 6.16 to 1.12.
    They will face knockmore in repeat of last year’s final, knockmore beating Burrishule 4.14 to 1.02.

  25. Lads were talking about Parke and louisburgh balla Westport etc well i can tell you now kiltimagh hammered this supposed great balla team and there isn’t one mention of any talent in them cian Gallagher only what 19?pure talent Liam Boland has anyone ever seen Conor malee play such a talent please widen your variety of clubs I love this blog and think it’s great but there is a certain bunch of clubs that get all the mention and the likes of kiltimagh are left on the cold?anyone agree or disagree with me

  26. Lads kiltimagh have such an up and coming team why is no one talking about them it’s all about Westport and parke Parke have a great minor team that does not mean they’ll be good come senior one minor team doesn’t make a senior team kiltimagh have been competing so well underage for years and are building for a serious team very very soon I love this blog and think it’s great for people too share there opinions but just widen your variety of clubs if anyone has differing opinions too me please share:)

  27. Well done Ballintubber , just shading it. I thought gibbons upped his game in midfield showing a bit of aggression that’s often lacking in his game. Gavin just missed a long range effort early on but it did dent his confidence. Didn’t take on the posts for rest of game. Will have to get over that hump. He still played well and look forward to seeing him again against Breaffy. James Durcan had a chance towards the end, fell to his weak foot and he failed to pull the doubt Horan will be sharp on identifying where players can improve.
    There is a tendency to recycle the ball obsessively rather than take a pot at the posts. For some reason players prefer to be turned over rather than shoot and miss.
    Cillian the exception let by example. If the chance opened up for him, he had a go and missing one chance didn’t stop him from having a go again next time.
    Let’s hope to see more shots at goal in the final.
    Looking forward to both finals

  28. How did Enda Varley play for St Vincents Willie Joe? Heard himself and Diarmo only came on at half time which proved a costly mistake!!
    Enda should at least be free for Horans trials on October bank holiday weekend anyhow!! I still think he can offer something at Inter County with us not been blessed with left footed corner forwards!

  29. @mayogodeo. No doubt if belmullet have 4 potential county panelists then kiltimagh have a few also.
    Maybe mayo GAA tv will have a role to play in giving smaller clubs greater exposure.keep the faith…

  30. On the ditch belmullet have serious county players but kiltimagh lads deserve a chance especially the talent coming up Jamie mc in goal cian Gallagher is one of the most natural full forwards ive seen in a long time that’s under 21 now..but even the likes of Liam Kelly and Sean Walsh eoghan Lavin Jason forkan deserve a chance What you think

  31. Sorry Ginja ninja and Mayogodeo. I know I be guilty of talking up my own clubs talents and the talent of players from clubs they compete against like Westport Parke etc. Most people I am sure have this natural bias towards their own naturally enough.
    Kiltimagh I am sure have many fine players but could not speak first hand of their underage as only seen teams my own compete against which would be div 1 or 2 clubs. Kiltimagh I think were in div 3 minor and U16 this. Am sure with the fine school and catchment area they have few gems

  32. Will look forward keeping eye out on players ye have mentioned above. Hopefully starting the weekend

  33. I don’t think anyone claimed Balla to be great only at junior. At u21 they are competitive. Probably better next year when their minor winning team are at u20 age.
    Kiltimagh also have Cillian Finn a good u21.
    At senior David Leydon looks fitter, seemed to play back in the Kiltimagh defence, used to be a forward moreso.
    Kevin Mulderrig I hadn’t heard much on but he was good in the intermediate semi final.
    I had noticed Kiltimagh were strong at u12.
    I’ve posted here recently that Kiltimagh will be a senior club.

  34. Look forward to seeing Cian Gallagher and others mentioned. Keep us posted on upcoming games…

  35. Enda was only on for the second half, TH, and he scored two points from frees. I know he’s been carrying a knock of some sorts of late – he only came on the second half in the quarter-final too. Vinnies only scored three points (all frees) in the second half and were well beaten. They went from 0-5 to 0-1 up early on to 2-7 to 0-5 down before they scored again, going a full 30 minutes without scoring at all. It’s the worst I’ve seen them play in a long time. Diarmuid Connolly came on for the second half too but was utterly anonymous.

  36. Do Kiltimagh fans realise that Balla were missing 5 starters today all with county experience! Barry Duffy, Ger Holian, Colm Murphy, Patrick Mc Loughlin (captain minor a winners 2017) Conor Dunleavy

  37. I see another Garrymore and Mayo man, Padraic Monaghan will be involved in a Dublin Senior County Final as he is manager of St Judes who had a fine win over Vincent’s today.

  38. Willie Joe – In relation to the lead comment from contributor “PK” above I would cast sincere doubt that any such “spitting” occurred after Baiiintubbers heroic victory on Saturday night last. It is easy to make such a disgusting accusation under the guise of anonymous initials. Baile an Tobair CLG have the utmost respect for our neighboring Club Castlebar Mitchell’s. Many Castlebar people (players included) we would count as real friends and though we may be robustly passionate in our support for our own players we would never sully our reputation in such a manner especially after 160 minutes of glorious valiant effort. We salute Castlebar Club as having been wonderful County Champions this past three years. And though our rivalry has been intense for the past decade, there is no rancor or hatred whatsoever between the Clubs and I am sure Castlebar Mitchells would fully agree with that.
    Regarding the comment by “Ya What” Alan Dillon has served Ballintubber Club magnificently since he was eight years of age as indeed did his Dad, Ger before him.
    Sean Hallinan – Cathaoirleach baile an Tobair CLG

  39. Congratulations to Ballintubber . Breaffy will test them but feel Tubber should win the final . No senior medals in Castlebar this year ……….

  40. Thanks for your comment with those clarifications, Sean.

    Having reviewed both of the comments you referenced I think the best thing to do is to delete them both. The first is an allegation about unnamed supporters – which I’m not sure can be proved or disproved – and the second appears to cast aspersions on a named player, the relevance of which isn’t wholly clear.

    Congrats, by the way, on your win the other night. It was a super performance and a magnificent result for the club.

  41. WJ . Not sure it’s appropriate for youngsters as young as under 12 and 14 to be named on posts as is done above…

  42. Fair point, Lahanman – I’d agree with you that names of juvenile players should not be posted here. I’ve deleted the comment in question.

  43. Thanks for that Willie Joe – I just felt I had to set the record straight. We are not all “Saints” myself included as indeed many folk will know. Maintaining a high standard of performance and being annual Moclair Cup contenders is what has sustained us since our Intermediate title in 2007. A wonderful generation of highly skilled and committed players harnessed by dedicated knowledgeable managements has been the key.
    Thanks also Willie Joe for all you do to promote and market the GAA at Club and County level – it is a tremendous service highly valued by thousands of Mayo people.

  44. Sorry for breaking a house rule willie joe didnt intend too i was just marking potential gems coming up in kiltimagh and regarding el tods comment ye will never ever give kiltimagh the credit they deserve even when these lads do come up we wont get the credit and the chance by the county management

  45. Look el tod im not a kiltimagh fan im a mayo fan i go too loads of club games and i am just pointing out the talent that is there the facts are kiltimagh won today without there two main forwards give that club some credit were credit is due…

  46. @Sean Hallinan. I believe a few things Ballintubber share with Garrymore two fine clubs with much smaller than average picks.
    1. Generally in lower divisions in underage but this does not dim the organisation or numbers togging out with those teams. Ballintubber are A at u15 which is good going.
    2. Manage to prevent high drop off from u16 to minor.
    3. Regardless of ability, always a well organised u21 team is put out.
    4. Despite small numbers a pretty decent junior team is togged each year.
    I think the combination of all that is about as good as can be done in terms of finding as many senior players in the available pick.
    Prior to the senior success Ballintubber U21s had two wins and a runners up back to back.
    Other clubs are hopefully starting to realize the development importance of u18-u21.

  47. Watching the Roscommon final today on Tg4 one would have to wonder why Kevin McStay didn’t have the two Shines on his panel? That type of high fielding,place kicking and passing is valuable to any team and both of those players are still in their 20s.

  48. Mayomagic… two years ago I think McStay did have both player’s on Rossies panel….As regards who other County Manager’s select for their County Panel,. … Well personally speaking I am going to McStay well away from it!

  49. WJ, is it safe to assume yourself and Rob Murphy were on the case on Sat eve, and there’ll be a podcast for all Ballintubber people to savour and relive the epic victory over our nearest and dearest ;)?

  50. Sadly not, Tubberman – last weekend proved a bridge too far for us in that respect, much like it did for Mitchels out on the pitch. We will, though, have a finals preview podcast out this week which will have some audio from Saturday night.

  51. That’s a shame, would love to hear the ‘real-time’ reaction!
    Understandable though, life has other demands I’m sure – I didn’t get down myself either 🙁

  52. Yes JP – you have indeed summed it up pretty accurately. Just two points – despite perhaps having the lowest School going numbers in West Mayo and some really small panels – we do all try (and have always tried) to play at the highest grade possible each year. The larger Town teams:. Mitchell’s, Claremorris and Westport have often been the yardstick by which we measure ourselves. Also I must pay tribute to our Bord na nOg and Juvenile Academy and their many dedicated coaches. The work they do season after season is phenomenal and it ensures that there is an adequate stream of skilled players trickling through each year. Long may it continue.

  53. It is a shame, Tubberman, but Thursday night and that 500km round-trip to do the special podcast episode with James Horan was what did for me! Looking forward to being there for the final on Saturday night, though – it should be great evening’s football, not least with the Intermediate final on as well.

  54. @Sean Hallinan, Without I think giving away any state secrets. I would assume ye train the minors separate to the seniors? Obviously Jamesie Finnerty, Ciaran Gavin in with the seniors. I’v long held the view that clubs would have much more player retention and longer term development if minors train as a panel separate to the seniors. Lighter 16/17 year olds potentially in with fully mature seniors has always struck me as crazy. I believe it causes drop out in clubs where underage players no longer have their group, they have to row in with the seniors.
    From what I’v observed many clubs take the easy option of halting collective training after U16 and just relying on big pick and a few star players for U18/U21.

  55. Again JP – you are wholly correct. Minor management within the Club is separate and they have first call on all players for training and their matches. It is indeed rare for Ballintubber Senior squad to have any minor participation – this season being the exception.

  56. Thanks for the reply on that Sean.
    Brilliant to see ye’re longer term more holistic approach paying off over the last 10 years.

  57. Two thrilling contests between two great teams. The two O Connors really stood out the last night. Have not seen Cillian that sharp in a long time. Gibbons had a great extra time. Mitchels definitely a yard off last years pace. Douglas their stand out player. Sean Conlon was also excellent in their full back line. Mitchels should have seen it out in normal time, a small bit of panic and a miss placed pass let Tubber off the hook. Think that took the wind out of their sails and they never got going in extra time. Tubber were excellent in extra time but have to say that Mitchels never looked for that long ball to change it up a bit , don’t recall any goal chance for Mitchels. Tubber kicked a few 50/50 balls in around the square and were unlucky not to get at least one goal. Ref seemed to be very strict on players giving out and back chat which was good to see, he penalised both teams a few times and added 10-15 yards to the frees. However he turned at least one if not two scoreable frees for Mitchels into hop balls at critical times. I assume it was for Castlebar lads shouting for black/yellow cards, one occasion was when the Mitchels man was just after receiving the ball and had broken the tackle and was in with an overlap in front of goal and he was absolutely taken out of it. All the mitchels players roared (which is natural in a game of this intensity, they knew a goal would end it), the tubber defender had the head down and knew what was coming and what ever was said the ref changed his decision (fair enough) but then ignored whatever card should have been shown. The Tubber supporter beside me thought his own defender was about to get a red! Tubber won the hop ball and it was like they had scored at the other end. Its very small margins in these types of games.
    The final will be interesting, Breaffy have a chance if they can get goals and really test tubber’s full back line. If its a tight game with scores hard to come by, I think tubber have the players to see out a close finish. Tubber by 2/3.

  58. Considering that Ciaran Gavin was only a sub on last years U17’s he must have made serious progress since then. I don’t think that he was in the picture at all for this years U20’s.

  59. Is Minor still played at U18 in Mayo? Being based outside the county for decades now I’m not au fait with these details. I think that if it is it should be changed to U17 as then there would be no fixtures or training clashes between minor and adult football and training fixtures could be much more organised.

  60. JP – I agree with you re minors training separate to seniors. 16/17 year olds can get intimidated training with grown men. Balla changed it last year. Jamsie Finnerty was minor in 2017. Both he and Ciaran Gavin looked up to standard. Can’t understand why Mitchell’s didn’t throw on Gavin Durcan for extra time Mayo minor captain in 2017, St Gerald’s best player last year. Great fielder and playing full forward on b team best player by a mile. He was well worth a go. Other lads his age excelling Evan o Brien, Cathal Slattery, Tommy Conroy

  61. Andy D still played at under 18. My own opinion is it should stay that way unless they introduce u19 league that is taken seriously unlike U21 which is just treated as an add on. To much age gap from U17 to senior for late developers. Surprised hear some teams train minors with seniors only. would not agree with that unless was with club struggling numbers that need it to make session viable.

  62. Have seen Ciaran Gavin a few times in recent months and he looks very comfortable playing in the white heat of Senior club championship. Certainly looks a good prospect for U20’s next year.

  63. @Gizmo, what I have observed in more than one club is that the best 6/7 minors will be starting/bench on the seniors. This then stops there being any weekend minor training.
    Outside of summer university minors are away.
    Senior training during the week the 6/7 minors train with the seniors. Clubs wonder then why they start to struggle for minor numbers.
    What is there for the minors not on the senior squad?

  64. @James Fleming, I think it is better we don’t fast track players past their final year U20. Having a long term goal that we respect the U20 grade and try to have it strong each year will provide a conveyor belt of talent to our senior squad.
    If we get things right we can have a stronger U20 team next year than we had this year. We should be aiming to win the U20’s next year.

  65. JP Garrymore isn’t as small as you think , it a big area parish and goes right in to the edge of Claremorris town.

  66. @Chris Kelly, the area is a decent size but the available pick in terms of population is small. There is no medium sized town with suburbs to bump up the population.

  67. Slightly off topic, and it may have been discussed a while ago, but I was flicking through my recordings last night and in a masochistic mood, looked again at Mayo v Kildare U20.

    Jordan Flynn midway through the second half, went right through the Kildare defence and popped over a perfectly good looking point. It was waved wide by the umpires. Any body remember that one?

  68. @catcol, I believe Hawkeye is permanently on and monitored. So, such a situation would get flagged without anyone calling for Hawkeye to be checked. What we see on TV is just a drama graphic for the crowd and tv audience. The system clocks score/wide continuously in a millisecond.

  69. Chris Kelly – Garrymore and Hollymount/Carramore also share the same parish. There are areas in the parish where neighboring houses play for different clubs.

  70. Catcol, I was right in line with it and I felt at the time that it was wide. It tailed off at the end, but to be fair from certain angles and certainly further down the stand from where I was, it looked like a point.

  71. Not that it made any difference to which team actually won the Ballaghadreen/ Breaffy semifinal, but Breaffy”s Tommy Reilly definitely scored a point into the Bacon Factory…. but waved Wide… Two feet at least inside the right hand post…. That would have brought Tommy’s score to 5 point’s from play on the day!… It’s actually amazing just how many mistakes umpire’s make!

  72. Saw that from Ah Ref on Twitter. Is it just from him, it is it being reported elsewhere.?

  73. Rochford becoming a coaching for Donegal is an odd mood move. Would have thought he would be ideal for the Westport management role. @JP i think U20 next year will be about how Galway do things, as they messed up big time this year and are unlikely to repeat that again.

  74. @ WideBall – Kevin Johnston is from Sligo but has been living in Galway for years. Played a bit of intermediate level with Salthill Knocknacarra – injuries caused him to stop playing early. He is secondary school teacher in St Endas in Salthill. He has been doing gaa coaching underage for a good 7/8 years now. An enthusiastic guy. Has been involved with Galway Tedd webb teams. Not sure how good he is (that’s a genuine query and not a meant as a slight on him)

    Roch to donegal? Strange for him but great coup for donegal. I never like to see Mayo talent being utilised for another county – particularly a rival, which Donegal are. It would be much better if he was involved withn our county. I know he got shafted by Mayo GAA and treated very poorly but he is a Mayo man and I would hope all Mayo people would want to do their best to advance Gaa in Mayo. There are lots of clubs who could really do with a guy like at him at the helm.

    Mayo GAA need to work on how to stop ‘burning bridges’.

  75. Thats Kerry and Donegal who have indepth knowledge and insight to our team. Know our players inside it. I’m not happy with that. Not one bit.

  76. Have to agree with you there mayonaze. Not happy and more than a bit disappointed in Stephen.
    Not saying managers are on the way out of these clubs but maybe castlebar, westport, kiltmagh, crossmolina or breaffy if they lose, as manager would be a better move for him and easier to take for us.
    Buckley is a kerry man so understandable in his case.

  77. Why would Rochford settle for a club managers job? He is a young ambitious manager who wants to be involved with Inter county football at a high level. It’s a smart move by him and Donegal, they have a very good chance of making super 8 which is where top managers like Stephen wants to be. This also keeps him on the Inter county scene for when another top county vacancy arises, Don’t be surprised to see him take over Galway in the not too distant future.

  78. Stephen is entitled to go where he wants. He was absolutely shafted and embarrassed by the County board. He owes them nothing. Best of luck to him up in Donegal..who have done great business in securing him. Just shows what a shambles Roscommon Gaa is at the moment. Stephen turns down their top job, in favour of travelling an extra hour or 2 to Donegal as selector!!.

  79. Best of luck to Stephen he was done over by Mayo and is right to do the best for himself ,hope he comes back someday,probably made James Horans task with the board easier

  80. Good luck to Stephen Rochford in Donegal. As has already been asked here, why should an ambitious coach/manager like him settle for a club here in Mayo? A County that treated him less than honourably? He owes Mayo absolutely nothing. He’s gone to a blank canvas and pastures new if you excuse the mixed metaphors. Moving away to deal with completely new people and a fresh start. He goes with my good wishes and a firm belief that he has big days ahead of him.

  81. Best of luck to Stephen Rochford, I’m sure Donegal will treat him better than his own county men. Certainly a loss for Mayo football, hopefully there will be a way back in for him at some stage.

  82. I agree with the above poster. When Kevin Walsh goes in the next year or two I’d fully expect Stephen to be one of the main favourites for the Galway job. Needless to say he has great connections up here at club and college level. Best of luck to him in Donegal.

  83. I have no issues with Rochford taking a role with another county. Given the manner in which his departure was orchestrated or handled (whichever way you want to look at it) as well as the rather mean, nasty and spiteful not to mention personal commentary he has had to contend with from some in the national press as well as his own county, you’d be quite cold of heart not to feel for the man.
    Best of luck to him.

  84. Right, all – I just want to nip this in the bud before it goes any further. The development with Stephen Rochford is not the starting gun for another round of f**k the county board comments. The issue around Stephen’s departure has been fully aired here at this stage and any fair-minded assessment of this needs to acknowledge that, even if the bulk of the responsibility for what happened may be placed on some (though not all) on the Executive, both sides could have handled it better.

    FW – your comment was the one that tipped the scales from harsh criticism to trash-talking, which is why I deleted it.

  85. Looking back at the comments after the Kildare defeat – a lot of people here wanted Rochford out because of among other things lack of subs in time during games. Now that he is gone from Mayo and going to Donegal – people are still not happy – can’t win. The process of him leaving could have been handled better

  86. Surprised Stephen is going to Donegal . Thought he would take a year out before taking any position . At least he didn’t go to Roscommon !

  87. Best of luck to Stephen and I would think he’ll be a great asset to Donegal. I think he’ll be licking the chops if Mayo and Donegal face off in 2019.

    Good luck to all involved at the weekend. Hope the county final is a cracker. It’s hard to see where county players who’s clubs go deep in to the club championship get a rest period even with our early exit from the inter county this year. I’m sure the club training can be almost as intense as the county training.

  88. Best of luck to Stephen unless and until he’s facing Mayo.

    Great to have James back on board and clearly with a firm plan in mind – let’s look forward.

  89. Disappointed in Stephen? Seriously?

    He didn’t want to leave the Mayo job. He was cornered with a ‘deadline’ that was unrealistic, unachievable and unnecessary. Even though Buckley and McEntee had flown the coop, Stephen was willing to stay on and do the job. But if the CB no longer believed in him, what was the point?

    Good luck to him. He’s paid his dues at club level, he’s already won that All-Ireland. It can’t be a shock to anyone that he wants Sam on his CV, even if it’s with someone other than Mayo.

    Who knows. Maybe he’ll be the next John O’Mahony.

  90. Fact he’ll be the next O’Mahony. I said it on here the day he got chopped. Walsh will be gone next year imo if Galway dont reach the final, Rochford will step in and finish the job. The Dubs will have the 5 in a row next September, Gavin, Cluxton, McMahon, Cian O Sullivan, will all call it a day after that. The Dubs will enter a transition for 2020, and there will be Rochford winning Sam for Galway. And dya know something, I wouldnt begrudge the man one bit.

  91. Why would Jim Gavin walk away next year? Can’t see him leaving for years yet

    I think Cluxton has a few more years in him too.

    Philly Mac and O’Sullivan are unlikely to even start next year imo, so i don’t know how them going (I’d say they’ll both stick around the panel anyway) would signal a ‘transition’ in 2020 given the talent they have available.

    Dublin won’t be in ‘transition’ for years – if ever again, for the forseeable future

  92. I don’t think posters deliberately set out to bash the County Board again perhaps its a consequence of Stephen having joined a rival that has stoked people again. We’ll all move on (eventually!) Best of luck to Stephen in his new role. Was he formally offered the Rossie job? Glad he sidestepped it!

  93. Some posters here need to be more accurate. Mayo didn’t shaft Stephen Rochford. We are Mayo. The vast majority of us wanted him to stay on. He was shafted and treated abysmally. Really awfully, just like McStay was. I said it last night, Mayo GAA (ie the co board executive) need to stop burning bridges.

    Of course Galway will be all over him. They don’t seem to be able to produce one of their own.

    I think it would be a terrible shame if Rochford went to Galway. I was gutted when he stepped down as Mayo boss but I would like to think that he would put Mayo first and seek to use his talents for the benefit of Mayo football. He shouldn’t be on an revenge mission to prove the co board wrong. Johnno already did that plenty in the 90s beating us in 94 and winning Sam for Galway after we had lost two finals in a row.

    Haven’t we exported enough talent with the likes of Hanley leaving us to earn the big bucks down under! Rochford is a Mayo man. A proud one at that. He should stick with his own and if that means managing a senior club side and using his in-depth knowledge and managerial talent to strength football in our county.

    If I were him I would gain zero satisfaction winning an All Ireland or even advancing a rival county, be it Galway or Donegal.

  94. jaysus lots of folk upset about SR potentially joining another county set up…you’ swear we actually won something over the last 3 years or look better now than we did 12 mths ago. I for one feel much more positive about our short/ medium future…

  95. MayoDunphy, I completely agree…i think Galway will shove Walsh next Sept and push for Rochford. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve already started their succession plan. It would be very bad news for us.

    I’m not surprised he didn’t touch roscommon. They’re going nowhere. Galway on the otherhsbd have won 4 Connacht minors in a row, won two u21 all Ireland in past 8 years and lost a final. I know we hear about talent coming through here but Galway have proven talent. When’s the last time a mayo underage team beat a Galway team in championship? I don’t know the answer but o reckon it’s 5/6 years… a bit like Mayo in 2010…we had a decade of great underage teams…won 4 or 5 in a row u21 provincial titles reached three u21 all Ireland finals thst decade… we were set up for someone to come in and tap into thst reserve of talent. Horan. I see Galway in an almost identical position almost a decade on and if they go on to be successful at senior fair play to them but id absolutely hate if Rochford lead them. I’d be very disappointed if he did.

  96. The co board should really be publicly apologising to Stephen (snowballs chance I know…:/

    But he should be the guy to get another crack at the whip for Mayo in years to come. Rochie now has heaps of experience for a guy under 40! Brought us to two finals and to the brink of glory (closer than anyone else since 51) and has won a club all Ireland. When you think about it, logically, every county will be all over him and yet our lads shafted him. Mind boggling stuff.

    Rants over WJ but I feel very strongly about this.

  97. People are getting a bit ahead of themselves talking about Rochford going to Galway and the likes, the man has just joined up with Donegal. I can understand there being slight disappointment at seeing coaching talent leave the county but look at it this way, have we not benefited from ‘outside’ expertise ourselves? Sauce for the goose and all that. Who’s to say he won’t have another stint at managing Mayo in the future and if that comes to pass, is it not better that he kept himself in the game at the top level? He has already managed a club to the ultimate prize. He wants to improve himself at inter-county level, all power to him I say

  98. Wish I did Ultair :(. But you can just see it happening. He is probably more revered in Galway as a manager than Kevin Walsh. Led Corofin to the ultimate, and probably has a great rapport with lots of Galway players. Walsh will be gone next year I feel. Then Rochford will be offered it id say. He lives in Ballinrobe, only a short spin up the road for him, it makes perfect sense. Gavin will be gone after the 5 in a row or if the Dubs are bet next year, he’ll be gone either way September 2019. Thats come from a very reliable source. Anyone who thinks the Dubs won’t struggle if Cluxton, McMahon, and COS all called it a day at the same time, then their not really clued in to what makes the Dubs tick.

  99. Mayo underage these days develops a bit later than the likes of Galway and Kerry. I seen the Galway u16s, most of them looked like they had been squatting weights. I can’t see how Irish 15/16 year olds would be built like that.
    So of course they won most 50:50 balls and they played a blanket which is very effective against less powerful, less organised underage players. The blanket is even more effective when you think 16 year olds don’t have much distance of an accurare shooting range beyond 30 yards.
    In my view we have the far superior club follow through in developing players u18 through to u21. Our hypothetical u18 team this year is in my view the strongest we’ve ever had, stronger than 2008, 2013.
    – a top class goalie
    – huge depth of pick
    – plenty big physical players
    – massive midfield depth
    – elite pace upfront
    – players who have performed at u20 and senior club level
    – accurate, goal scoring forwards
    I have divil the care at what happens at u16/17 level. You win that easily by hitting the squat rack and practising the blanket.

  100. Stephen is fully entitled to go wherever he likes and good luck to him. My question, what can he bring to Donegal as assistant to Declan Bonner, a Manager who in his first year and after seeing his side lose their division 1 status quickly circled the wagons and went on to win a provisional title, something Rochford never achieved with Mayo? It will be interesting to see what his role will be on the sideline, could it be like Jimmy and Rory standing shoulder to shoulder, all over again?

  101. Rochford won an AI with Corofin but they also won it last year but there are no calls for O Brien to manage Galway. Rochford did get Mayo close to an AI so I suppose given Galways greater attacking options he could be considered but tactically he is suspect so to be honest I would pass on him for the Galway vacancy if one came up.

  102. It’s easily forgotten that SR had the best mayo squad ever at his disposal. And had a pretty smart bunch in corofin too. Tactically very weak in relation to making substitutions. New talent given limited opportunity to develop, some regressed. Kev McLoughlin lined out every year of Rochfords reign in FBD. Good luck to him in Donegal, personally I’m glad he is not coming westport’s way…

  103. SR right to give it a go with Donegal. He’s left his position presiding over a group of players that are at the end of their shelf life and joining a young talented team with serious AI winning potential within the next three to four years. Good luck to him. Would not begrudge him further success on top of his impressive club achievements.

  104. Good luck to Rochford. We in Mayo have had a Kerry coach the last few years.

    That said I (and saying this as a fan) would get zero satisfaction winning an all Ireland with another county.

  105. MayoDunphy i don’t think Rochford was ever offered the Roscommon they were looking at Dublin options while he was never considered, meanwhile the Donegal coaching position became available, Rochford was offered it and he accepted. A less pressured position than outright manager while staying involved in county football and for the record i see him returning as Mayo manager in the years ahead rather than becoming Galway manager.

  106. MO2018, Rochford was nominated by a club in Roscommon for his name to go forward, but, he politely rejected the offer of his name going into the hat. I beileve the same was done for Donie Buckley, though I cant confirm.

  107. A manager has to accept a nomination before it’s put forward to any county board. That wasn’t the case with Rochford and Roscommon so i’m not sure where the speculation is coming from that he turned down the Roscommon job to become Donegal coach? Donie Buckley was always going back to Kerry as their young players still need a lot of coaching in the art of tackling, Mayo did well to keep him on as long and they did.

  108. Can’t quite believe some of the comments here re Rochford. He owes nothing to Mayo football or anyone in it, and neither, for that matter does Pearce Hanley, a man who left Ireland to pursue his career and earn a living. Honest to god, we are all fans of Mayo football but get a grip – we don’t own these people nor do we have any right to cast judgement on their life choices. Mayo football is not the be-all and end-all, as much as it feels like it at times. As Ultair rightly says we were happy enough to avail of and benefit hugely from outside expertise ourselves for the last number of years. Ye can’t have it both ways.

    Best of luck to Stephen and I would not begrudge him any success regardless of who he beats to achieve it, – and I include ourselves in that. We made our bed and now we lie in it. Absolutely he could have handled things better but unless there is more that we Joe and Josephine Soaps don’t know, the response was disproportionate and unprofessional. But now we move on as we always do in this new era and try to see the good in the county board who are also human beings – flawed like the rest of us!

    Probably bad of me but I’m quite amused that Rochford chose Donegal over Roscommon, that tells its own story … Also feeling very re-energised by Horan’s recent interviews. He can talk the talk but the great thing about that is knowing that he will also walk the walk. The level of professionalism is so evident.

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand and Saturday night in Castlebar. What a treat awaits. Leaning strongly towards red for the night!

  109. Where is the evidence that Rochford was nominated and chose Donegal over Roscommon? don’t tell me hear say because believing in speculation like that is really amusing

  110. Mayomagic, thats what im saying…its a fact he rejected the nomination from a certain Roscommon club, in the process effectively ruling himself out of the Roscommon job at the first hurdle. Dont tell me for a second if he accepted that nomination, he wouldn’t be offered the job. The Rossies are in dire straits trying to find a manager, looks fierce embarrasing for them. A Div 1 team, being linked with names like Niall Carew and Eamon O’Hara! I nearly feel sorry for them.

  111. Anne Marie,
    Yes, we made our bed and must now lie in it. But can you not give us, especially the millenials amongst us, [of which I am not one] the privilege of crying in it too? Oh, you of the hard heart!!

  112. @ JP

    I agree that the Galway u16’s were physically bigger than Mayo in this years Tedd Webb but I don’t recall such differences in previous years minor teams. I didn’t see Galway Mayo at U17 level this year but would have watched all the previous encounters in the last 4 years at minor level where Galway have won and didn’t see any difference in the size of the 2 teams. Mayo won an u21 in 16 and reached the u20 final this year and have been impressed with the physical condition of both teams, both teams were prepared brilliantly and size certainly wasn’t an issue. I think both those Mayo teams lacked star quality apart from Diurmuid O’Connor. This years team like the 2016 didn’t have a forward where you’d say they were ready to make the step up in 12 months times.

  113. MayoDunphy, the situation re Rochford and Roscommon is that a club contacted him and asked if he would agree to be nominated. That is the procedure.
    He declined, and informed them that his plans for 2019, were already in place.
    No nomination went ahead, and he had already begun contact with Donegal.

    A local manager in Roscommon is now strong favourite to land the job, a young and highly thought of candidate.

  114. @mayodunphy Niall Carew and Eamon O’Hara was pure speculation as neither was in the running and both have confirmed that since. Tonight Roscommon journalists are saying Aidan O’Rourke former Armagh defender and All Ireland winner will become manager and he will include experienced coaches on his backroom team. Looks like an attacking Roscommon under Kevin McStay will now become defensive and more organized

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