Castlebar into Connacht final

Photo: Irish Times/Inpho

Provincial club championship action continues apace and there were a number of championship fixtures this weekend. In Connacht, the identities of this year’s Connacht SFC finalists were revealed following today’s semi-final ties.

Castlebar Mitchels are one of the clubs who’ll take part in the Connacht decider in two weeks time, as they got the better of  Sligo’s Tourlestrane in today’s semi-final at MacHale Park. It was all-square at the break in this one but the Mayo champs pulled clear in the second half and a goal by Danny Kirby ten minutes from the end finally put daylight between the teams. Castlebar won in the finish by 1-13 to 0-9.

Report by Colm Gannon for The 42 on Castlebar’s win is here.

The other penultimate round tie – featuring defending Connacht champions Corofin of Galway and Roscommon’s St Brigid’s – was a much tighter affair. The match ended level at the end of normal time in Tuam Stadium but Corofin edged it by 2-15 to 1-14 after extra-time, with a Daithi Burke goal proving crucial for the Galway champions. John Fallon’s match report for The 42 is here.

The Connacht SFC club final takes place in a fortnight, when Mitchels and Corofin square off at Tuam Stadium. Throw-in for the decider has been fixed for 2pm.

On Friday night at the Connacht Centre of Excellence the finals of the A and B Connacht minor football championships were played. In the A final Balla were beaten by Roscommmon’s St Brigid’s by 2-12 to 1-15 but there was better luck for the county in the B decider where Annagh Rovers got the better of Tulsk of Roscommon by 0-10 to 0-3.

Result of the weekend, though, undoubtedly comes from this side of the country. My local club up here in the capital, Dublin champions St Vincents, were expected to record a routine win in the quarter-final of the Leinster SFC today when they met Wicklow champions Rathnew at Aughrim.

There was nothing routine about the result at Aughrim, however, as the Wicklow lads recorded a stunning win over the defending provincial champions, coming out on top by 1-13 to 1-9. Trailing by two points with little more than ten minutes left, Rathnew came with a devastating late burst, scoring 1-3 without reply to pull off the shock of the day.

The result means that, for the first time since 2011, it won’t be a Dublin club that comes out on top in Leinster this year. It’ll also be the first time since 2009 that a Leinster final won’t feature a club from the capital. Changing times, then, at club level in the east.

75 thoughts on “Castlebar into Connacht final

  1. WJ That result in Leinster has blown this Championship wide open. I watched the Bridgets v Corofin game on TV. Is it me or are Corofin a team going back from the heights they achieved of a couple of years ago?

  2. Was at the Mitchels game today. Thought €15 was a bit tasty for the admission fee (€10 would have been enough). I’m not sure Cbar are as good as other years but maybe Corofin aren’t either….we’ll know in 2 weeks time.

    Certainly it’s a big game because Connacht is paired with Leinster in the semis this year so with Vincents out that increases the chances of an AI final place.
    Imagine….Vincents were 1/16 today!

    I have to say I think the MacHale Park pitch requires some investment. It’s too heavy in damp weather.

  3. Don’t forget st Vincent’s were nearly caught last year in Leinster to v the Longford champions so maybe it’s not as big as surprise as people would think!

    Also Connacht winners play British Champions in Quarterfinals!

    On balance one would have to think Corofin would have the edge over Castlebar even if both teams may not be as strong as a few year back.

  4. I think the minor final score line was Brigids 2-10 Balla 1-5. Rathnews win the story of the club season and won’t be topped. How did St Vincents allow that to happen and D Connolly with just 0-1 a free..

    Castlebar have every chance of winning the final as I don’t feel Corofin are close to level their were a few years ago.

  5. Totally agree with Spotlight re the €15 entry to the semi final in MacHale Pk today…its fair for County and Provincial Finals without doubt, but as Spotlight says ‘tasty’ at this stage. Both sets of fans plus interested neutrals have gone to the well often enough lately when replays etc are taken into acc. Made the point civily when purchasing….

  6. Willie Joe, Rathnew were never easy to get over and I’m saying that with approx. 50 years experiance. They might not always be the most polished of outfits and sometimes they had very rough edges but by God you usually knew you were in a game.
    Good luck to Castlebar in Tuam. All going well I hope to be there to support them but I think the bookies and the press pundits will be going for Corofin.

  7. Having a few scoops in my local GAA Club here in the capital last night, I was amazed by the number of my colleagues who were delighted to see Vins go down to Rathnew. Not much love for Vincents outside their own catchment area.

  8. I think Castlebar are actually stronger than a few years ago but that McHale park pitch doesn’t suit them.
    If we look at the midfield and attack to generally see is the team better or worse.
    Midfield – A renewed Barry Moran, Aidan Walsh and a stronger than ever Eoghan OReilly (Looks improved)
    Forwards – They’ve lost Richie Feeney and Neil Lydon.
    They’ve gained Cian Costello, James Durcan, David Stenson, plus a renewed Danny Kirby. Subs Conor Stenson.
    Richie Feeney is a big loss as he was a smart footballer and they lost the power of Neil Lydon but overall I would think that is an improved forward line. Certainly a lot more pace in the side.

  9. Generally happy with a “just doing enough” performance from the lads again this weekend. I feel a big performance is in us for the Connacht Final. The prize is a trip to London two weeks later as Connacht Champions.

    On we go!

  10. There is terrible news doing the rounds today about a prominent Mayo footballer been diagnosed with a serious illness I hope to God it isn’t true

  11. as Willie Joe said before this is not a site for rumours.

    I heard it too and from a reliable source its supposed to be shite

  12. Thanks Mayomafia – as you say this isn’t a place for rumours so I’d be grateful if everyone can bear think in mind when thinking about posting stuff like that here.

  13. Going not just on yesterday but for a long time now, Castlebar have proven talented forwards well worth a sustained run in Mayo colours, Kirby has great skill and power and offers so much to a county team,, Douglas is a natural talent and James Durcan and David Stenson deserve inter county exposure too. The all too familiar problem for the top tier club sides is that those with serious ability to play on Paddy’s Day must retain their players and pretty much nullify the opportunity of any making the break through to the national league never mind the championship. Of course we all want them to overcome Corofin but even the much heralded Corofin forwards badly need to play a full national league campaign with Galway if their county team is to prosper. Best of luck to Castlebar of course in the Connaught final but for certain sure, with 3 county titles back to back, Mayo needs more than only one of those lads nailing down a starting place in the county colours for an entire season.

  14. I heard those rumours last night too. Praying it’s not true, you do hear a lot of that kinda stuff in the off season.

  15. I would say Danny Kirby, James Durcan and Neil Douglas will be involved. James Durcan is a better pure footballer than Patrick but whether its natural or gym related seems a fair bit lighter.

  16. There’s shock here in Dublin GAA circles with the defeat of Vincents, regardless of how tough a team Rathnew is this result was not expected, but there you have it. Nice to see that Mitchells seem to be building up a head of steam now and have every chance of beating Corofin even if the match is in Tuam. I often wonder why a fine player like Danny Kirby seems to put in match-winning performances for his club but for whatever reason never seem to bring that same level of performance to the County team. Of course, if he’s always coming in as a late substitute then it’s hard to make an impression

  17. @MayoMchale I would say on your point it’s mainly just down to the vast gulf between county and club football. Nothing more complex than that.

  18. As we drift through the month of November I am quite surprised that the rumour mill is so quite. Need to check to see if that old mill is broken. For the last 5 years or so we have been bombarded by stories and bad news about Mayo football to the point where its almost taken a life of its own and particularly in the month of November and December.. Then we get to November 17 and not a dicky bird. All those stories leaked to the Dublin press over the last 12 months have left our best rumour mill activists exhausted I fear.

  19. I’ve heard the rumour aswell, I hope to God its not true, for the player himself. Could’nt give a f**k if he can’t ever play football again, thats the least of the worries.

    If it isn’t true (hopefully thats the case) then their are some sick sick people in this County or wherever it started. One thing startin a rumour bout a fella leaving the panel, or heading off travelling! But this is disgusting.

  20. Absolutely hope that rumour isn’t true and whoever starts these rumours are very sad individuals. Praying and hoping it’s not true.

  21. I would tend to disagree with you JP on Danny Kirby, having seen him play so often. He may not be a 70 minute player, he might not look great in training in comparison to the whippets and natural thoroughbreds. He may not have a straight-forward natural position in which he fits. But I really think Mayo are missing a trick not utilizing him to greater effect. He has great attributes including strength, power, great point taking ability, not shy of going for goal and plays with fire. Put it this way, do you think any intercounty team would prefer him to come on against them with 20-25 mins (not 5) to play than the substitute forwards we have used over the past two years?

  22. I see on Twitter that the Mayo Team are holding a fundraising Lunch on 8th December in Shelbourne Hotel Dublin. Hope its a great fundraiser for this mighty TEAM. We wont see their likes again. Spread the word to all mayo supporters – surely there will be great demand. Move over Gooch-the MAYO boys are in the city!!

  23. Re False rumours..
    Rest easy bloggers..
    .Thankfully that all it is, Rumours….. whether malicious or inappropriate gossip, all that matters is its untrue..

  24. @Plainoftheyew.
    The question posed was why Danny Kirby is a match winner at club level but less impact at county level. The question almost answers itself. There’s a big jump between the grades especially in athleticism.
    However I think Kirby is on an improved run of form. Could be set for a decent 2018.

  25. Just think that Kirby lacks that bit of pace to make a difference at county level, maybe he just needs to be a bit cuter to make that yard of space that can make a difference. Should be possible to try some of the Mitchell’s forwards in the FBD if they make the AI sfs, mind you that only becomes an issue if they win their next two games.

  26. Looking forward to the Connaught final. Corofin probably favourites but not too much in it. Castlebar very steady in the last 2 games against very defensive teams. I like the way they keep to their gameplan and move through the gears in the second half. Four clean sheets in their last 4 games. Corrofin will be a different level and will not play with 13 behind the ball. Should allow a bit more space for the mitchels attackers but they won’t have the luxury of 1/2 sweepers like last Sunday. Kirby definately brings something different to the table. Has an eye for goal and kicked two monster points on Sunday. Newcombe also playing very well in defence . Big Barry was quiet on Sunday but has had some of his very best club displays in recent years in Tuam. Don’t rule out a bit of extra time to sort this one out!

  27. The problem with the Kirby debate is the same for other fringe players…….we’ll never really know unless they get proper game time for Mayo.

    I see our underage woes against Galway have continued. Our u-21 girls were beaten 10-15 (not a typo) to 10 points in the connacht chip……crikey!

  28. @size five Corofin do play with numbers back and counter attack at pace. In defence they give you little time and room on the ball but are prone to giving away sloppy frees in the scoring zone. Last year after 60 mins it was 0-11 each i would expect a similar type of game.

  29. Would love to get a table together for the lunch given that it is to fund the player’s holiday

  30. Where did you see that about the fundraiser? I don’t see anything from @MayoGAA on twitter about it

  31. It was the Mayo Association in Dublin that had tweeted about Fundraising Lunch. I hope its well advertised.

  32. Bit off topic here but how about the rendition of Amhran na bhFiann tonight in the Aviva from the Achill Pipe Band. Absolutely spell binding. I genuinely never heard anything like it. If that doesn’t rise the blood pressure of our professional boys in green, nothing will.
    In Croke Park we’ve had Aslan, Imelda May, Damien Dempsey. How about the Achill lads next year at half time.

  33. They should have left the Achill pipe band on the pitch to play the match altogether – – would have put up a better show than the crowd that were on it. No clue at midfield – should have put Seamie,Tom P and Donie across the middle in front of a back four of Zippy, Boyler, Leroy and the Bullet from the Mullet. Clarke would easily have saved those 5 goals. Up front Aido as the main striker would put the “fear of God” into the Danes supported on the wings by Cillian and Kevin Mc. Our super sub to come on when Aido is blowing hard – – – the one and only Andy. And they would all know the words of the Anthem.

  34. Samuel Maguire, Bohola, Aiden, McH, Louise Gunnigan…. Careful Now, Down with that sort of thing….. We can’t be TOO critical ,the best team won…Not the best team with the help of the referee as what happened last September… Good luck to Denmark now in World Cup, hope they win it now, or Argentina, or Germany, but it will be Germany, ‘Probably’ as they say in Denmark.. Yes I definitely agree with ye the Achill Pipe Band.. Brilliant, Soul. Stirring.. Surely it is time to give them a call for McHale Park,.. Not that there is anything wrong with the Castlebar Brass Band that usually does the job and a very fine job they do as well… And it’s great to see the Sadam Hussain ‘look alike’ who always carries the Mayo flag around McHale Park on the big day’s,… Surely both could come together and provide the musical entertainment… Agricultural Football it surely was from the Boy’s in Green… They done their best… But for Drama, Skill Pace, Heart Desire and to make your soul feel something, it’s impossible to beat Mayo!

  35. would love to know what guys Rochford has lined up to bring into the squad last year. anyone hear anything??

    I think its time to clear a few of the guys that had made little contribution the past years and a number of older guys ……… in line with Willie Joe’s rules , I wont start naming names

  36. Away for a while on another planet. Back in time to see the gaa brethren waxing lyrical and culturfied. It’s good… Bands bands and bands..can’t but inspire us over the line.

  37. Anyone listen to Dr Ciara Kelly’s coverage on NewsTalk yesterday….on injuries in young players…underage !! Well worth a look.

  38. Any player that is going to be tried out in the FBD and early rounds of the league that is not in the current panel – he really needs to be in training at present to be at a reasonable level of fitness come January and February so they can do themselves justice. I would hope these players are already called into development squad training.

  39. Best of luck to Lahardane McHales this weekend in their Connacht JFC Final. Here’s hoping Gary Naughton and the boys can grab another trophy with more bonfires blazing in the village.

  40. Surely it is time to freshen up the Mayo panel.Older players who were fit but did not get game time last year need to be asessed again.We need to give guys a proper run in the league. I would like to see mc Donagh given a chance. The manager normally knows best–some of the players us supporter were crying out for did not cut the mustard when given a chance.

  41. Best of luck to our 3 bucks V Australia in the morning .8:45 start . Would be nice for Aiden to lift the cup for Ireland .

  42. Ok I would like to hear peoples opinions on Which 5 players Stephen Rochford should bring in to the County Senior panel next year that where not apart of the 2017 Senior championship panel.

    Ger McDonagh Castlebar Mitchels
    Michael Plunkett Ballintubber
    James Carr Ardagh
    Ciaran Treacy Ballina
    Jack Reilly Charlestown
    Brian Reape Moy Davitts
    Shane Scott Westport
    Jason Gibbons Ballintubber
    Cathal Carlolan Crossmolina
    Liam Irwin Breaffy

  43. If just 5 I’d give Peter Naughton Knockmore. Reilly, Tracey, Carr and Reape a run of games see how they go. Some probably take year or so S&C but would learn from being in panel and game time.

  44. If I can only pick five.
    Ger McDonagh – power we’ve been missing
    Shane Scott – with 10lbs extra on his frame would be interesting
    James Durcan – consistent for Mitchells
    Ciaran Treacy – pace we’ve been missing
    Brian Reape – goal machine
    Theres many others like Peter Nuaghton, Shairoze Akram, Seamus Cunniffe, James Carr, Stephen Duffy.

  45. Full moon bright over Nephin tonight!
    C’mon Laherdan, you’ll outshine the Moties tomorrow.
    Big bunch expected in the park. We’ll be there.

  46. I’d actually agree with your 5 players JP.

    Ger McDonagh is a physically imposing full back that we didn’t have in 2017.

    We really need a younger midfielder to come through, can’t rely on Tom P, Seamie and Barry Moran forever. Shane Scott fits the bill there.

    James Durcan at wing forward. If we get him up to senior inter county standard it could free up Diarmuid O’Connor to play as a midfielder in a year or two.

    Brian Reape is a prolific scorer no matter what level he’s played at. It’s fairly cut and dry that he’ll get his chance next year.

    Although I haven’t seen him live, I’ve heard great reports of Ciaran Treacy. Pacey inside forwards are not something we’re blessed with.

    Left field choice, but is it worth giving Enda Varley another opportunity? Always scores well for St Vincent’s. Even when they lost last weekend he got 2 from play and set up a goal.

  47. Pity we didnt win down under. Aiden was a great Captain. Awful tackle on Chris B – hope his jaw isnt broken after that. Good luck to Lahardane!

  48. Interesting names mentioned regarding players, just shows that there is potential within the county. However Imo its year three for Rochford so its all out for the all ireland next year. As a result there isnt time to get players outside the panel up to Croke Park county standard. Depending upon retirements (if any) I can see prob only 1 or 2 additions to the panel and these will most likely come from last years development panel like Gallagher and Carr (Reape may get a look in as he has some inter county training under his belt). The improvenents in the team will come from existing panel players, Kirby, Nally, Boland, COShea, these are the only viable option to improve the team for next year. A young club player may feature during the fbd and early league, but come championship it will be the existing players that come to the fore.

  49. Re Chris Kelly.
    The 5 players I would bring in to panel for 2018, and this is based on matches I have seen this year. Ger Mc Donagh, Ml Plunkett, Jack Reilly, Jason Gibbons, and a man who was not on the list, Alan Freeman. Ger McDonagh was consistant, Ml Plunkett played well, Jack Reilly had wonderful season, Jason Gibbons was the outstanding midfielder throughout the season. What I would like to know what 5 players from the championship panel in 2017 should be let go?

  50. I dont buy this not ready yet tag and its all out for an All Ireland or bust next year sure you could say that every year till we bloody win won.Its a bit of a negative Mayo thing.If your good enough your old enough.Good players adapt to any conditions.We have seen it with Cillian and Aidan O’Shea thrown in to the Mayo set up at 19.Look at what Micko did with Kerry in the 70s brought in a load of Under 21s and went on to have the most successful era in Gaelic football.We have to have a little bit more faith in the talent coming through.The best Mayo Minor footballer should always be brought into senior squad the following year. Fair enough we have taken a dip at Minor level but its really all about producing 2 or 3 very good players to come through to the Senior level at the end of the day.

  51. If a young player has good pace it will put him ahead in the reckoning compared to a fringe player with average pace. As long as that player is of reasonable bodyweight speed has almost a linear relationship to on field power.

  52. Mayoman – I’d be grateful if you’d refrain from mentioning specific names in the way that you did in that comment of yours. If new players are being added to the panel then I’m sure it’ll be confirmed officially in due course. In the meantime I don’t want this place to be used for spreading tittle-tattle.

    True Grit – you can wonder away about who you think should make way for those coming into the panel only don’t do it here. As with players coming into the panel, the names of those leaving (if any are) will be confirmed as and when this happens.

  53. C Kelly.. Amazes one to see your likkel line up…with two daddies and the babies.
    Seems an awful age since MC D was in that u-21 team with Aos and K Keane.
    So what about K….is he mended yet . Only other one is another babe…Prendergast …any good?

  54. Inbetweener its not a team just a suggestion of players that have stood out in Club championship this year and that could be brought into the Mayo squad.So you think Ger McDonagh is to old at 27?? Name your own team there , as you seem to think your an expert.

  55. Inbetweener. Who are the 2 daddies and babies you refer to. Did not Andy Moran get footballer of the year. I agree with Chris Kelly. Lets see your team for 2018.
    WJ. Don’t worry I sure wont be naming any player who should be omitted from the panel. I will leave this to Stephen Rochford. I don’t want to be executed yet. I only stated if any new player comes then somebody else has to be let go. Let us all enjoy what 2017 brought, and hope we can go 1 better in 2018.

  56. Chris my dear read back and reconsider ur interpretation of my offering. MC D and J G are universally known to be eligible for the elevation u seek.
    I was at that game and remember I had to walk a mile …was late.. missed half the first half…had a toothache and a cold and couldn’t find the feckin car after.
    I’m merely saying McD and Jason are older and wiser ….daddies a metaphor!
    The matter is in Irish water debate territory.

  57. True grit … Great craic this . Will u too refer to Iriah water debate. At the moment I’m wallowing in the glory that has broken out back in the backs country of Leathardan… Have a peep at a reshowing if y can find it.

  58. Sorry Wj ….am a fisher man ok but really don’t see how I’m baiting anyone. With regards I’d appreciate an little clarification . Thanks .

  59. Sorry again WJ . Just read back to notice I failed to name that u-21 game I mentioned. ‘Twas in Longford v Tyrone I think….. indeed .. Longford of the long road out to the car.
    So there you are … done and clarified .
    Up Mayo and the black and Amber and all the maughans who graced that sod today . Oiche mhaigh do cach sgus codhladh samh.

  60. It’s pretty simple, Inbetweener – just stop making direct references to others that appear to be aimed at rising them, i.e. play the ball not the person.

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