Mighty Mitchels are back in the final

Mitchels

Photo: Inpho

Huge congrats to Castlebar Mitchels who this evening at Breffni Park in Cavan showed heart, guts and and an indomitable will to win by facing down six-times All-Ireland club champions Crossmaglen Rangers to book their place in this year’s decider. They’ll meet Dublin’s Ballyboden St Enda’s in the final at Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day.

Mitchels won this evening’s semi-final by just a single point, 0-13 to 0-12, but they were worthy victors all the same. Five points down shortly before half-time, they looked to be in serious bother but five scores in succession either side of the break, the final one a real belter from Danny Kirby, put them right back in contention.

Three times after this Crossmaglen got their noses in front by a single point but on each occasion Mitchels hit back quickly to draw level. Ten minutes before the end, a Neil Douglas free finally put Castlebar ahead for the first time but this was soon cancelled out at the other end. Five minutes later, though, Mitchels struck the decisive blow when Barry Moran pointed to edge them back in front and it was a lead they held till the end.

It all got a bit frantic and ugly towards the finish, with bouts of handbags breaking out repeatedly as tempers got increasingly frayed and the contest teetered on the verge of boiling over.  From a Mayo perspective, it was, I must admit, truly heartwarming to see the Mitchels lads display the kind of never-say-die qualities so many complain teams from the county don’t show often enough. Castlebar were cynicism personified in that frantic finale and it made their win – over Northern opposition to boot – all the more satisfying.

On Mitchels now march to Croke Park where next month they’ll face Ballyboden St Enda’s for the possession of the Andy Merrigan Cup for 2016. The Dublin club were rather fortunate winners over Clonmel Commercials in the day’s other semi-final – Darragh Nelson was clearly allowed to overcarry before shooting a late, late equaliser for Boden in normal time and, having seen victory snatched from them at the death, winning it again in extra-time was always going to be too much to ask of the Tipp lads.

Two years ago, Castlebar were no match for a very good St Vincents side in that year’s club final. From what I’ve seen to date of Ballyboden they’re not a patch on that Vinnies team while Mitchels looks far stronger than they did in 2014.

So while the appearance of a team from Mayo in another Croke Park final will inevitably provoke the heebie-jeebies in those with a weak disposition, these mighty men from Castlebar look well capable of justifying the 4/11 odds being quoted on them to do the business on decider day.  More power to them as they prepare to march on back to Croke Park next month.

67 thoughts on “Mighty Mitchels are back in the final

  1. No need to add much to that WJ , just congrats to Castlebar on a brilliant win.Hopefully a win over Dublin opposition will be a great start to the year for us.

  2. Real steel to that performance. Loved every minute. Paddy Durcan and Barry Moran delivered in a big way when needed.

    I’m in f’cking Australia next month so will miss the final.

  3. I haven’t seen anything of Ballyboden but judging by reports I’ve read they don’t seem to have the same quality players Vincent’s had, in particular one Diarmuid Connolly. Andrew Kerins seems to be their main man in attack and while he may be good – even very good – I don’t recall him being mentioned in a county context. Mitchel’s with the likes of Barry Moran and Patrick Durcan should have enough to do it. Not to mention the “pocket rocket” Cian Costello who seems to bring extra “oomph” when introduced. I resume that aiden Walsh’s fitness was in question when he did not start. I thought for a long time that those two missed frees would be very costly. Thankfully they did not matter.
    Hopefully Mitchel’s will not be as badly affected by nerves as they seemed to be today in the first half. That experiance should stand to them.

  4. Nice to see a Mayo team on the right side of an epic game like that. Brilliant advertisement for Gaelic football and although the end got heated it was only to be expected given what both teams had invested in the game. I think I’ll be making the trip to Croker on the 17th for the final, as the wife reminded me of our last trip there in 2005 when we saw Ballina do the job. Club-County-Province (except the Rossies).

  5. Great feeling to leave cavan amidst a crowd of smiling faces ..nerves were shredded by the end though. .must have been some half time talk by mgmt as the difference in 2nd half was something else..plenty to work on for 17th of March but that’s for another day..

  6. Hugely impressive performance by Castlebar. Tho very open defence in first half leaving cuniffe one on one on Clarke. Fine club team, saw them in county final and thought at the time they would win it out. Great physique and pace. The future looks great for county team with big powerful pacey playes like DO’C and Durkan breaking through and Kirby looking v good as well. Barry Moran has to start for county.

  7. Sorry to burst your bubble about Vincent’s 2 years ago Willie Joe, but Castlebar would have looked after them if we’re not for a bad reffering interpretation of the then new black card rule. Had this not happened, Richie would have kept Mr Connolly very busy, and I assure you the result would be different. What is really frustrating about it, is that in the 2 years since no one has ever been black carded in there own half for blocking another player since that. This is because following this mistake, notice was sent to all referees that ‘they need to be sure it is a black card’ in other words this is not what the black card is for. But of course these things are always learnt on Mayo teams, never on Dublin or Kerry outfits!
    While not been a Castlebar supporter I really do admire how they have recovered from that robbery of 2 years ago. That was a serious game of team football tonight, made last weeks games in Croke Park look like recreational football in comparison, just in case anyone wanted to know the difference between intermediate and senior football.
    Do agree with you though, Castlebar will have no problems on 17th March and will get the year off to a flyer!

  8. What a game! What a P Durkan! What a Cian and what a Kirby! And an excellent ref performance amidst a bunch of hoodlums! Compare him to the flute from first game who broke Clonmels hearts and shouldn’t ever again be in charge of a whistle at any level!
    It was a victory to savour no matter where you come from but it’s made special by the fact that this is a Mayo team that dragged itself out of the mire and showed a pluck that we thought wouldn’t see the light of day this evening!
    There seemed to be some v heavy legs among the CBars throughout the game but they certainly were nt under the above mentioned players. D Kirby’s performance for me was v important for I think he’s shown finally that he’s got what it takes to step up big time. He grabs a ball,controls himself,can look around,take a right option,pass and score.
    And P Durkan I think has shown leadership qualities that can surely be put to good use down the line!

    Congrats to all the Mitchels and speed your journey onto Croke Park on the 17th of March!

  9. Defender you must’ve been watching a different game 2 years ago, looked a dead cert black card to me at the time. The loss of Richie made a significant difference yes but Connolly was pure class that day and why management didn’t put.Cunniffe on him bamboozled me completely. Mossie Quinn wasn’t the threat of old and didn’t need C’bar’s best defender marking him. Not convinced they would have won but the gap would’ve been a lot smaller.
    The good thing is this team has improved with much deeper panel and Ballyboden are not as good as Vincents but the game still has to be won. They should aim to hit the ground running next day and learn from nearly being bet out the gate today.

  10. Shuffy deck, I remember that final 2 years ago as clear as if were only last week, and while yes I agree the Casltebar management on that day should have made some change, as you suggest, this does not take away from the awful referee decision early in that game. I have seen 100’s of black cards since, but nothing such as that incident that day. I actually think you need to go back somewhere and look at it again.

    But more importantly, I do think this Castlebar outfit is better team nowadays, rather than 2 years ago as that time they were more dependent on just a few players, one of them been Richie, and this is not good in any team sport.

    So while we agree they are a better team now, I would strongly argue that despite the above they were still good enough 2 years ago to beat what Corofin proved last year were an average enough Vincents. Keep Diarmid Connolly busy, and they were easily beaten. Was there 8-10 points in it last year? I forget exactly because it so one-sided.

    Castlebar and Corofin are the top 2 club teams in the country over the past 3 years, as the games between them have proved.

  11. Have to say that was wonderfully satisfying tonight to see Castlebar take on Crossmaglen at their own game. They looked in desperate trouble after about fifteen mins but there were some serious leaders in that team and even when they were five points down, you could see lads running up the field putting up their hands to stand up and be counted. Durcan was superb and brought them into the game in the first half, his first score superb. He looks better on every viewing. Barry was very quiet in the first half but his class told in the second. Tom did well after the first few mins, Clarke is a classy footballer. The subs made a big difference, Costello’s speed really added to it. And they way they closed out the game in the second half was super, real cynical edge, like what the Nordies have done for years.
    Ballyboden didn’t look great – I don’t think they are in the same league as Vincents (for what it’s worth, Defender, I don’t agree with your synopsis – thought Richie’s black card was utterly deserved), they don’t have forwards near the same class as Connolly or even Quinn and losing their midfielder to a red card won’t help their cause either. It’s a great chance for Castlebar to really give Mayo football a lift. Have to say, even reading the Twitter feed tonight was heart warming, could nearly feel the collective spirit of Mayo rising after the win. Onwards and upwards!

  12. Rochford’s Brigade,

    I do not know what the ‘Boden midfielder did to get the red card but do you not realise that an appeal will eventually get him back for the final. Somebody in south Dublin will know somebody and that will solve the problem. Afterall, all the people who matter and make decisions live in south Dublin. A la Diarmuid Connolly last summer.

  13. Class. Another fabulous day following this team. And there’s just something special about games under lights. Great night!! H’on the Mitchels!

  14. Congtrats to Castlebar representing the county with pride I believe they will now go all the way & will be in Croke park to support. With my mayo hat on 5 Keegan 6 Higgins 7 Durcan is the strongest half back line in county. Moran is an asset & Kirby will add power and ball winning ability to is needed to the forward line.

  15. @ Shuffly Deck & Defender

    First of all, fair play to Castlebar, very proud of their performance! Feels strange to discuss something from two years ago now, but anyhow –

    I was actually sitting right in front of that incident on the day and was full sure it was a black card, and I was about to say so here again – but I said I’d google it again just to make sure. The reasoning the referee gave the black card is this:

    In football, you are entitled to stand your ground. In order for it to be an off-the-ball-body-collide, you have to “leave your line” or step “into the opposing players line”. Having looked at it again, Feeney didn’t just stand his ground but was looking at his opponent and took one step into his opponent’s running line. Just that one step was all it took.

    Here’s the gif of Feeney’s card:

    http://www.balls.ie/gaa/gif-richie-feeneys-idiotic-black-card-ireland-club-final/117172

    Here’s the video of the explanation of the rule from our favourite Pat McEnaney:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PUAgnrJR_4&t=11m56s

    Also, it’s doesn’t matter where on the pitch it happens, own half or the other teams – even in the video above one of them is in their own half. And wasn’t Eoghan O’Reilly marking Connolly that day, and gave him the freedom of Croke Park. Not to mention Castlebar lobbing high ball in on Barry Moran without any supporting player. To call it a “robbery” is certainly “revisionist”.

    Contrast that performance with last night’s one – Castlebar’s support play was excellent, no player was left isolated on the ball, they moved it through the hands at great speed and didn’t kick the ball without thinking. They got back in good numbers and had players like Keane and Costello (when he came on) who are not big name players nor did they score but were vital in taking on their men and linking the play. They played smart and did the right things and minimised the error count – and in tight matches, along with guts and determination and no little skill, that makes all the difference.

  16. What a match!!! Not a bad way to be going into a final. Majority of Mitchels lads underperformed and have tons of room for improvement looking ahead to Paddy’s day.
    Very unpleasant towards the end both on side-line and in stand so just glad to get out with the win and move on. Terrific to see them coming out in second half and pegging back the deficit and holding on in the end. They worked as a team and that is what counted.
    Paddy Durcan was brilliant and became really prominent when needed. Monster point by him in first half. What a talent. I see a lot in Kirby – when he receives the ball he keeps the head up and displays good balance and movement and kick passing. He is strong and confident. His time is now – I am certain of that.

    Come on Mitchels!!!

  17. Congrats to Castlebar Mitchels, it was great to get the win, especially as it wasn’t looking good for them early on. They showed great heart to get back into it. There use of the bench is really good too. Best of luck to them in the final!

    One thing to take note of though, their forwards only scored two points from play and it took a half-back and midfielder to score five points between them from play. That won’t be good enough in the big one. You can be sure that Paddy and Barry will be targeted in Croker. It’ll be up to the other players to get the scores from play. That’s what killed Castlebar in the final the last time, they just couldn’t get the scores required.

  18. It’s always good to win a tight hard game. It struck me that Mitchell’s were far too cautious and tentative in the first half and showed their opponents too much respect. When they started to play their normal game they were very impressive.
    The next day they need to play from the very start. They need to sort out kickouts and in particular winning the breaking ball. They also need to nail their frees especially close in ones. If they do that then they have a great chance.

  19. Always spot for boyler on XV sweeper in front of barret & ger caff not convinced nally has pace for summer. 2nd corner back spot up for grabs

  20. @Hopespringseternal would you not have said a few days ago cross would target them in cavan but the class showed. To me and anyone following club football barry moran has been the stalwart for mitchells in the last 10 years and I’m delighted he got the winner. How mayo managers have left him on bench is beyond me but that’s for another day. Great day for mayo football and I look forward to the mitchells lads bringing their talents to mayo team. A club all ireland would do mayo football the world of good. Up mayo!

  21. Wow! For the second week running, what a game.

    First of all Cross. We watched them warm up and were right on them. They looked brilliant – like a well-oiled machine. And for most of the first half they delivered on that brilliance. All Mitchels supporters on the terrace side, just had to stand back and admire the football that Cross delivered, and Jamie Clarke was at the heart of it all.

    Of course they were helped by an underperforming Mitchels who took about 15 minutes to get a proper hand on the ball. County players bar Durcan (superb again) and Kirby nowhere to be seen for most of that first half. Add in the decision to let Eoin Reilly take a free in and you had a recipe for potential disaster. Ray O’Malley’s save keeping out that certain goal, and then raiding for a point to leave it 3 between them was critical though.

    Would love to have heard what the managers said at half time. No one thing stood out, but every man jack of them upped the work rate and closed a lot of the space. Those three points after half time – phew! But Cross weren’t finished and looked sharpish when they moved, but the Mitchels pressure meant they made mistakes. Aaron Kernan’s miss from a free was critical I thought and Mitchels were getting stronger and stronger. Dougie’s free taking was hugely consistent and when they went ahead, we all felt strangely confident, remarking that Tom Cunniffe had little to do!

    The end game – watched it back on the recorder, (indeed watched the whole thing back), and as you said Willie Joe, a master class in cynicism. No complaints!!

    Two Cavan men were behind me as I went back to the car, drooling on the quality, the commitment and the match in general. What they said, in effect, was: you have to hand it to Castlebar; they played the football against a great team, and when it mattered they wanted it so much. Praise indeed.

  22. What did o Reilly say at half time they where a team transformed at second half. Up the Mitchell’s hope go all the way.

  23. @Pk, yes Barry Moran has been brilliant and its great to see that he has stayed injury free the last couple of years and long may it continue.

    The point I was making was that you’d like to see your forwards score more from play. You can’t be depending on your midfielders and half-backs to be your top scorers from play.

    This is probably what has lost big games for Mayo in the past as well, the forwards not scoring enough, with the midfielders and defenders trying to make up for this, which then leaves gaps at the back, which then leads to goals been conceded. The Castlebar forwards are well able to score too so you’d love to see them score plenty from play in the final!

  24. An average enough Vincents? I was at that match in 2014 and I recall a Castlebar team that were comprehensively beaten in the 2nd half. I don’t remember a robbery, but then hard cases make bad law!

  25. Castlebar played them at there own game last night and won ugly . It was end to end stuff and bar a few poor calls by the ref who had a grand game it was as I say won ugly. That’s my Saint Patricks day sorted . All the best to them now.

  26. Super win for Castlebar. I sincerely hope they go and finish the job on Paddies Day.
    Not only Castlebar but Mayo football badly needs an injection and lift and a club win would do that.

  27. Hi Defender,
    Can you look through your crystal ball and tell me if we will win the League or the Championship, thanks.

    Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  28. Has Patrick Durcan ever played at wing forward?

    would be interesting to see if he could do a job there for Mayo

  29. Firstly I have to congratulate Castlebar on their tremendous win. They showed all their class to win a match that looked unlikely in that first half. The way they got over the line in the face of adversity was a joy to behold.
    I think Mayo need a win like this to really make their long awaited breakthrough against a team like Dublin or Kerry. What a win like this does for a team is immeasurable.
    Finally a word of caution. I’m flabbergasted with all the comments saying Ballyboden aren’t in the same league as Vincent’s. This is exactly what will be Castlebars downfall. Will we ever learn? As a fellow poster pointed out over the weekend, mayo connected teams have lost over 30 national finals out of a total if nearly 40. Horrendous record we have to admit. The Dubs record in finals would be significantly better I would imagine. Here’s hoping that the Mitchels go all the way to rewrite their own history.

  30. You said it all for me WJ. a great win for the Mitchels and Mayo. This game would always be won or lost ugly. Cross don’t do nice football. This was par for the course. I am glad to see that Castlebar realised this at half time. It was cynical of course it had to be. I wish the Mitchels all the best in the final. The BB team are a fine side and I believe the Mitchels will have it all to do to win.

  31. Well done castlebar series 2nd half performance! What a player p durcan is going to be for Mayo!
    There favourites going into final and rightly so but beware of the underdog! Few things they need to work on freetaking is one those two missed frees could have being so costly!
    Second is management need to make big calls! Jamie Clarke took cunniffe to cleaners yesterday and he was left on him the whole game! I know Clarke is a class act but cunniffe should bring switched off Clarke!
    Cian Costello should be starting huge pitch like croke park would suit him.

  32. PJ McManus, you’re right, Crossmaglen don’t do nice football, they do superb football. As I posted earlier, the group of five that I was with just couldn’t stop admiring the football they produced for most of the first half; it was top drawer.

    And, that we beat them makes it all the sweeter, and that we beat them playing football that was scintillating in parts is even sweeter still. We closed it out effectively and cynically towards the end. As I said, no complaints. And still, we underperformed, so we can get better.

    As for Ballyboden (my Dublin neighbours by the way), they’ll feel if, with 14 men, they got back to draw and then beat Clonmel, they can beat anybody.

  33. Just watched the game again there on the TG4 player and I still had that knot in my tummy in the last ten minutes like I had in Cavan lastnight. A great win for Mitchells and a real gutsy team performance. It’s great to win those tight games and it’s not what the purists among us would hope for but Castlebar closed out that game as cynically as any other successful team we have seen over the years. Neil Douglas Mayo’s free taker in the absense of COC? Well, not for another month or six weeks at this stage. Either way what a positive element the Mitchell’s lads would bring to the county dressing room should they go on to win on St. Paddy’s Day.

  34. Aiden,

    You say Tom Cunniffe should have been switched off Jamie Clarke but you did not say who should have been switched on him. Classic opt out which is not an option for the man on the sideline. In the end Tom did get the measure of Clarke which maybe another might not have done. A manager sometimes needs to have confidence in his troops. The normal answer which most managers would have used would be to put back a sweeper to play in front of Clarke but that would have left another Cross player unmarked. The Castlebar managers had the confidence to stick with their original game plan and confidence in their troops. It would have been very easy to panic and start making changes after 20 minutes on Sat night but they did not. Nor did their players. Fair play to them, that is the mark of champions.

  35. The main thing that changed was the kickout success overall for Castlebar. Had been doing badly on kickouts for the first 20 mins.

  36. Defender. Holly/Carra fnished 2nd to Castlebar in the senior league this year and Marys Carchiveen defeated Legion in a Kerry final recently so maybe you should rethink your criiticism of the ALL Ireland intermediate final
    .

  37. Well said andyd cuinnife put in a good shift after a wobbly start.he’s a great tackler and fare was the link man to run the ball out of defence.thought Donnie Newcombe put in a good shift too.
    Did Barry pull a hamstring or was it cramp?

  38. Just getting back to belatedly, Defender, on what you said about Richie Feeney’s black card and all that from the 2014 final. Sure, it was a major body blow to Mitchels that day and Richie’s loss undoubtedly made Vincents’ job all the easier but was it the decisive difference? It’s impossible, of course, to prove the counterfactual but I doubt it was. By the way, Vincents were far from average that day and Diarmuid Connolly was simply unmarkable – a guy up the club that night calculated that Connolly had had a hand in 4-10 of the 4-12 total they racked up.

    You could well be right, though, about an edict going out to refs on when not to issue black cards. Fast forward to the All-Ireland final in September 2014 where at roughly the same part of the game in roughly the same part of the pitch Kerry’s Aidan O’Mahony committed roughly the same kind of foul right in front of, you’ve guessed it, the same Eddie Kinsella. The result? No card, no warning, nothing.

  39. Not a C’bar man myself but the pride one had in supporting them and seeing a performance to a man was epic.

    Yes Cunniffe had a tough first half but he tied down Clarke after, and what a player Clarke is so really well done to Tom, he had that mental strength we always ask fro in our backs.

    Durcan is like a remake of Peadar Gardiner and Leeroy rolled into one . What a player he is going to be .
    Barry stood up well to and despite them having a mobile midfield he lasted the running game and then gave masterclass in aerial dominance.

    My man of the match was Ger McDonagh, what a battle hardended warrior he is, he showed cuteness, put his head in where others wouldnt put their feet, dominated aerially and as always uses the ball well and economically.
    Not just on the back of that performance but I always preferred him to Gibbons as an option in midfield, despite his old age style, he always delivers a performance and keeps things tight.

    Kirby also stood up when need and man does he make the ball stick, for all our currents forwards on county team, they always seem to be struggling with high ball on grasping it first time but Kirby makes it stick.

    Douglas is a lovely player but I seen him literally take one for the team and step out of the nice guy mould but stopping the play and getting that black card, cudos to him, too often have mayo teams kicked a free short only for opposition to go down field and score .

    This is very much a team and a credit to the Mitchells so best of luck to them , they stand every chance and with the experience and heart and desire they have they will be very hard to stop .

  40. That was some game. Haven’t seen anything like it in quite a while. A hearty congratulations to Mitchels on reaching another final.

    They will however want to work on the nerves before the final – they were like rabbits in the headlights for the first 20 minutes but my god, what character to pull it back to three points at half-time. And you suspected that once they had the bit between their teeth at that point, that they weren’t going to let it go easily.

    It was deeply satisfying to see them grab the game by the scruff of the neck, grind out that win and refuse to be bullied – that kind of don’t-f**k-with-us attitude is only starting to creep into Mayo teams but I can’t remember it being deployed to such great effect very often before.

    I thought Paddy Durkan was immense – a real leader on the field and I look forward to seeing him in the green and red later in the year. I think Neil Douglas will have a better day in the final. Kirby too stood up and was counted; overall this was a team effort.

    Re 2014, there was certainly no robbery. Black card or no black card, as Ultair says, Vincent’s bossed Mitchels in the second half, and their decision-making both on the pitch and on the line cost them dearly. Connolly was superb that day and gave an exhibition, but was given the space to do so. Lessons will have been learned – onwards and upwards.

    Beware, however, complacency ….

  41. I’d echo that point re complacency, not that I think Mitchels will be on March 17th. But if they have the same kind of slow start in the final as they had on Saturday evening, they’ll be in trouble. Vincents were hot favourites in the Dublin county final but they started very sluggishly and Boden had 1-5 on the board after 20 minutes before Vinnies scored at all. Boden never score a huge amount but they’re well organised and don’t concede a whole pile either so Castlebar need to start well and make sure they don’t fall behind early on like they did against Crossmaglen.

  42. Congrats to Castlebar Mitchels. Hope they can go now and complete the job. But I think they will need to improve big time on that performance. Lucky enough I thought in the end to get out of it with the win and a lot of this becasue of the contributions of Durcan and Moran. But at least there is lots of room for improvement.

    However also Ballyboden were fortunate so they too have lots of room for improvement And I expect they will improve as well. So Castlebar must be up for it from the start the next day with better decision making from the get go.

    On the final and black card issue discussed here from 2 years ago. I have seen it several time and I thought it was black card offence under the rules of the game.

    However the big issue I had with it was that this rule was introduced in January of that year and it was automatically inserted and applied to a running national competition that was at ALL Ireland semi final stage.

    It would be akin to introducing a major rule change at the semi-final stage of the AI championship. It was ludicrous to introduce it should never have been in place for this competition.

    Unfortunately Richie Feeney was the scapegoat and got lambasted (harshly under the circumstances) in the media after it. It is especially for him that I hope Castlebar win the next day.

    W.r.t Connolly the previous time. He had an outstanding game and whether Richie Feeney would have been able to handle him on the day is irrelevant now. Vincents were champions and Connolly was the MOTM. And this is really all of what the history books will record on the game.

  43. Great win by Castlebar. Plenty of unsung heroes. Thought Turbo Tom done well on Clarke. Couple of ropey moments early on but he redeemed himself with his overall performance. Donal Newcombe was a great driving force. Durcan and Kirby were excellent throughout and Cian Costello made a telling contribution when he came on. Great team performance and have a great chance to win the final.

    I thin we need to take what Defender says with a pinch of salt.
    Richie committed a black card offense against Vincents in 2014 so we can’t complain about it (even though it looked harsh). Also, Vincents were the better team and deservedly won on the day. Connolly’s performance will live long in the memory.

  44. On another matter see Brian Reape playing out of his skin for DCU.Is he part of the Mayo panel…may need s&c but surely now is the time to get these guys in training.We will need pacy forwards later on.

  45. BTW, anyone know was E Regan with UUJ last week or was he injured? Didn’t hear his name mentioned in a report.

  46. BTW.anyone know if E Regan was with UUJ last week or was he injured? Didn’t hear him mentioned in a report.

  47. Evan Regan started for UUJ last week didn’t score and was subbed off with 10 mins to go.

    4 Mayo U21s were starters in DCU freshers final win today Reape MOTM with 1-6.

  48. Yes Brian Reape is part of Mayo training panel, came on briefly versus Cork as I recall for five minutes. Like all the U21 players he’d be on a program since minor.
    Good scoring by him is true. Good to see.

  49. Just had a look at highlights of Freshers final on the42 dot ie website (so WJ doesnt have hassle of link approval)
    Brian Reape scores second goal wearing 14.
    Skips to the right of the defender and comes back in to the left again on a right handed bounce solo all in one movement without overcarrying.
    Shoots immediately a nice straight shot with power and accuracy into the left from I suppose 12 yards. A long time since I’v seen a Mayo forward score a goal with that kind of trickery and power all in one move.
    Technically that is a goal that would make you situp and say that was a bit different.

  50. Andyd if it was me I would put Newcombe on him!
    Mitchell’s lost a final 2 years ago after Connolly ran riot!
    Can’t make same mistakes again on big day if switches need to be made they should be done.

  51. i watched Ballyboden v Clonmel on TG4 player. Anyone underestimating their quality is in for a shock. They are very good in defense and Michael Darragh McAuley is very powerful in the middle of the field. They seem to have good footballers all over the field and will cause Mitchels plenty of problems as you would expect of any team good enough to get to a final. So no room for complacency – and I’m sure Mitchels are experienced enough to not allow this happen.

  52. Danny Kirby was immense for Mitchells on Saturday I am convinced he is the missing link that will bring our gallant red and green heroes to the steps of the Hogan stand to lift that All -Ireland this team so richly deserves. Believe.

  53. Haven’t watched Ballyboden yet but the pundits have been saying their best attribute is their never say die attitude. That means a Castlebar performance for the full 70 and if they get a lead they need to be clever.
    For me Cunniffe was the only man capable of marking Clarke who is without a doubt a marquee forward. Was mostly doing the right thing but yer man is just to good. Kept him quiet for most of 2nd half so management were correct to stick with that decision and he was the man to mark Connolly 2 years ago. Expert him to dominate more against lesser opponent in final.
    The team seems to have matured with more options on the bench. Cian Costello can win a lot of frees with that pace and should be considered. Gives the team a running game option. Douglas was a bit nervous from play scoring wise so hopefully he’ll be back to top form for final. Kirby looks very good, great decision making and cuteness winning frees when outnumbered. Great to see the leadership shown by Durkan, I think he’ll win and hold his place for Mayo this year. Even pacier than Keegan though not yet as tight a marker but he kept Kernan quiet in this one, no mean feat. McCauley is the biggest threat from final opponents and Big Barry has been in great form all year so fascinating battle there. Feeney may be able to help nullify McCauley’s running game. Played very clever the last night.

  54. Gasman ur a Gas man coming out with a statement like that!
    Kirby has to prove himself at county level for Mayo yet.hes being in and out of panels last few years.a very good club footballer series strength on the ball and good in the air.i would be interested to think what position would he be best suited to Mayo.

  55. Aiden its just an opinion based on the evidence of what Danny has done at club level I know its a notch higher at county. The one thing that stands out for me is his strength and composure on the ball. He could bring an abillity to win dirty ball to the full forward line taking some of the pressure of AoS. I believe those twin towers would cause havoc. It cant be argued that his link play on Saturday was top class Believe.

  56. A good point there GAsman, and we really need size up front when we see what donegal, Dublin and co have in defense. Can you imagine a ff line of aos, Kirby and Barry Moran ? It would terrify any defense, dubs included. Not even as a full time thing, but rather a line to throw in every now and again during a game.

  57. Aiden/ Gasman,
    I have to say I have been watching Danny Kirbys development as a club footballer and potential county player.
    He is , tall, strong, aggressive and skillfull. He has an eye for goals and can clip over a long range point. He won’t be intiminated and these skills are just what we need in our forward, on the Mayo team.
    You could play him, full forward (target man, Donaghy type), centre forward as playmaker and he can play mid field, as well.
    He would complament Aiden O Shea , as you say Gasman, at corner forward, beside him, ( He would keep Philly Mc Mahon , or any other such corner back, busy).
    Any ball you play in to him , high or low , he would hold it up and bring other players into play, opening up , defences.
    I would have brought him into midfield , last year in Croker, as replacement ,
    He would suit Rochfords early, long ball into forwards,
    How often have we watched, ball after ball, going into ff line, coming out again, just as quick.
    Just my opinion, from what I have seen.
    Good luck to whoever wears the Green and Red.
    up Mayo.

  58. Have to agree with ye lads, Kirby is a promising talent at left corner or FF for Mayo. His decision making is top class. Would like to see him in a game other than Donegal last year when his impact was limited to just some clever passing. Against lesser defenses he could really gain confidence at that level. Goodwill winning ability and good in the air. Freeman showed enough as a sub last year that he should get game time again this year but Kirby could edge him out. Good to have the competition. Andy Moran can play either corner so if the lefties don’t stand up in the league he will likely play right corner.

  59. Watched the other semi and Ballyboden have some similarities with Castlebar. Inter county midfielder, marauding wing back (no. 5), experienced ex inter county FF. Where the teams differ is Ballyboden are more a running team and Castlebar more kicking. Also their accuracy was not as good as Castlebar but no doubt they will be working on that. I’d make the Mayo lads favourites alright but with no room for complacency and can’t afford to give these opponents an early lead like last day. I think Castlebar displayed a never say die attitude they can be proud if and use it to motivate them to dig deep again in final. Keaney has cuteness and strong.. very hard to disposess but without the pace to score too many himself. Castlebar also have more fringe county players with a bit more class in the forwards. Also young Costello could be a serious impact sub again when legs get tired.
    Also I can’t see that midfielder get his red rescinded, nearly took the head off yer man and had good opportunity to pull out of the foul. Might sway midfield Castlebar’s way.

  60. Catcol I agree with much of what you are saying. Ballyboden is one of the Dublin clubs I will have to admit I know very little about. I know they have a huge club, bigger in scale than anything we have in Mayo. They reached an AI with 14 men and they won the Dublin county championship and that convinces me. Castlebar have improved aspects of their game but they have a long way to go yet. I would love to see them cross the line for Feeney, Moran and Lydon’s sake. A couple of their starting 15 need a big step up in performance in the final. They need a greater return from their starting forwards. Retaining Cos and Durcan for the last 20 minutes was a masterstroke IMO

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