Mitchels and Vincents march on to Croker

So it’s going to come to pass. Ever since both Castlebar and St. Vincents won their respective provincial titles before Christmas, I’ve been convinced that the two were on a Croke Park collision course and today’s All-Ireland semi-final results makes this a reality. I’m in Heaven, I’m in Hell: faced with the final where, regardless of the result, I can’t lose … or win for that matter either. It’ll make for an interesting Paddy’s Day for sure.

We were off the bus and settled into the lounge area of the Newry Shamrocks clubhouse shortly after the Mitchels/Crokes match had got underway this afternoon. The match in Portlaoise was tied at four points each at that stage but soon after we started watching it properly – on a oddly unfocused big screen – the incident that turned this contest on its head, the injury that forced the Gooch out of the contest, occurred.

No team could carry on unaffected after losing a player of this stature and I guess it was no coincidence that Castlebar took a firmer grip on proceedings once Cooper was sitting in the stand. They took a one-point lead into the break and then quickly extended that advantage to three after the restart. Then, despite ceding an enormous amount of possession to the Kerry lads for the next twenty minutes or so, Mitchels managed to keep their noses in front, mainly thanks to a Tom King goal that had come completely against the run of play.

That score had pushed Mitchels four ahead but soon the margin was right back to the minimum. It looked then as if Crokes would overhaul them down the closing stretch but instead it was the Mayo champs who found an extra gear, with points from Tom King (a free), Ger McDonagh, Aidan Walsh and Neil Lydon breaking the Killarney club’s resistance. An injury time goal from MOTM Patrick Durcan sealed a famous win for the Mitchels lads, as they cruised to the decider on a final scoreline of 3-13 to 1-11.

Full-time Portlaoise

Photo: @AIB_GAA

Soon after the final whistle had sounded in Portlaoise, we were taking our seats in Páirc Esler where St. Vincents were preparing to do battle with Ballinderry for the second slot at Croke Park on Paddy’s Day. By the time the ball was thrown in, the stand was pretty much full and despite the freezing conditions, there was a great atmosphere under the lights at the Newry venue.

Pairc Esler lights

Vincents seized control of this contest ten minutes in, with two goals in rapid succession. Mossy Quinn – who has turned in a succession of top drawer performances in this campaign and had another stormer this evening, scoring 1-8 – smashed in the first one and then made the second with a delicious defence-splitting pass to Ciaran Dorney who made no mistake from close range.

Six points up and rampant, Vincents should really have put the contest beyond Ballinderry’s reach by half-time but instead the Derry and Ulster champions put in a determined effort to cut the gap to a single point by the break, at which time the contest was still very much in the balance.

A significant factor in the Marino lads favour now, though, was that they had the quite stiff breeze at their backs on the resumption. Like Mitchels had done, Vincents began the second half brightly too, with three quick points opening clear daylight between the sides once more.

That gap widened back out to six at one stage before another Ballinderry comeback got underway. A goal for them cut Vincents’ lead back to two points but they never panicked and instead played their way out of this tight corner to win in the end by four, on a 2-14 to 1-13 scoreline.

Full-time Newry

So the stage is now set for what could be a classic All-Ireland club final at Croke Park on the National Holiday. Both sides have quality in abundance and both favour the same kind of attacking football.  It could be a final to remember, even if, for me at least, the conflict of loyalties between club and county isn’t going to be at all easy to deal with on the day.

92 thoughts on “Mitchels and Vincents march on to Croker

  1. Whats the craic with the black card sure i seen in both club games today where black cards should gave been used going by the rules.

  2. Black card rule in place. Great performance by mitchels today particularly barry moran and neil Douglas I thought

  3. ‘Heaven and hell’ – I had to think for the minute, were you back in the Silver Birch?
    But no, your exile club v your native county’s champions!
    A rock and a hard place or adopt a very diplomatic neutral but involved position in Croker. Wear green and a bunch of shamrock, rather than yellow & red or blue & white!
    Thankfully, I will have no such dilemma – come on the Mitchell’s

  4. well done castlebar. Great defensive display. Got 4 goal chances and took three, Only got really going when the Mitchels midfield got dominant late in the game, out of it up to that, Vincents will be tough. Goals win games.

  5. Black card did not apply today or for the final as the competition started in 2013. It will apply after the final to all future club games.

  6. The advert for the AIB club championship the one with Gooch.Where his last line is “its the one medal i don’t have” That add should have a follow up one where Gooch is given an extra line to say ; and i still don’t 🙂 i know im being a bit cruel .

  7. Congrats to the Castlebar Mitchells! Hip! Hip! Horray!

    Castlebar cinched the screw taut to breaking in the last five minutes. Every ball broke Castlebars way as if by magic and The Mitchells optimised every break to the max. The scoreboard reciprcoated in kind. The scoreboard had no choice but to drive it on home.

    Real belief in motion is an incredible thing to see. You just can’t believe it, until you see it.

  8. It’s interesting to note that the team that beat Dr. Crokes last year, Ballymun Kickhams, lost in the final. So there is still a lot of hard work ahead for Castlebar. It just shows how strong Dublin and Mayo football is at the moment, with both teams having contested the All-Ireland final now having their club representatives doing battle again in an All-Ireland final. Hopefully their will be a different result in this final! Worrying times too for Kerry with Colm Cooper getting injured today adding to the retirement of Paul Galvin. Dr. Crokes were miles better than all of the other teams in Kerry, while the standard in Mayo would be a lot more even. You’d think even if the Crokes players come back into the Kerry team for the game against Mayo, that they won’t be in a great frame of mind. Then again, they will be looking for some revenge against Mayo opponents as well.

  9. I do understand where you are comming from mayomaningalway, but cheapshots will always sound crass. We got to be better than the obvious. There I go all Mayo again and that was kinda cheap or at the very best a half priced comment…

  10. Well done the Mitchel’s. I spent around 12 years of a younger existence running around McHale Park dealing with the Mitchel’s themselves & other pretenders.
    Today was a good day for Mayo folk. I spent the day on a bar stool far from home surrounded & outnumbered by Kerry people. At the end of today’s encounter we learned a very important lesson … that when you strike for home a Mayo victory is as likely as any other … a very important lesson.
    Well done the Mitchel’s … you have done the county proud.

  11. What impressed me is when they got the second goal they pushed on and closed the game out.Ok i know a couple of balls went our way in last five minutes but Mitchells were clinical.A lot of teams font have the ability to close out games but Mitchells does.It will be a fantastic final and i do believe Mitchells will go on to beat Vincents i hope to get up for it.I thought Crokes lost a bit of structure about themselves after Gooch came off.Possibility of maybe an over reliance on him?

  12. Delighted for Castlebar Mitchells great for Mayo football, its extra speacial that its our County town that has made the final, there is so many other distractions in urban areas, be it with soccer teams ,rugby, this must give a lot of youth something to get involved with too many seem to be obsessed with Man utd & Liverpool. St Vincents wont be easy they
    should start as favorites, i am really starting to dislike Diarmuid Connolly but he is a class
    footballer that i wish was from Mayo. Up Castlebar Mitchells do your Count proud.

  13. Well until Mayo have some senior All-Ireland titles themselves I think that we should try to do our talking on the field. I actually heard two Dublin players mention about all of those Mayo for Sam, pictures, messages etc. and that’s exactly what their response was (We do our talking on the field, which they did in the end). Until Mayo teams start winning finals more regularly, there is not much point getting to finals. The really hard work starts now for the next few weeks. For some reason, something happens between the semis and the final, that inhibits the player’s playing their best. So I’d say give the player’s a chance and if they play to their full potential, nobody can have any complaints then!

  14. Mitchels deserve a lot of credit for that performance today. I know it sounds silly, but to knock out the Munster champions and a Kerry team at that, well that’s even more sweet. Sets up a great final with Vincent’s.

  15. Well done Castlebar – brilliant performance today. Even surpassed my own expectation of a six point victory by two!!! Super stuff ! Best of luck on 17th March.

  16. I hear ya mayomaningalway I;ve been there many times before but on the quiet. Onwards and upwards. It’s the only way to go. Action will make all our useless words, redundant.

  17. Dublin club is the strongest in Ireland Kilmacud Crokes,Ballymun,St Brigids etc are all sides that could win Leinster and possibly the All Ireland however Castlebar were/are the only Mayo senior club that can win Connacht or the All Ireland.

  18. Thanks for the reports on the two games WJ. I see that Paddy Power has made Vincents favourites for the final at 1/2 while Castlebar are 13/8. Dr. Crokes were favourites today too so hopefully the bookies will get it wrong again!

  19. Yeah MO2014, I heard Emlyn Mulligan from Leitrim, who plays his club football in Dublin, say that his club in Dublin has a bigger population hinterland to choose from than Leitrim. I suppose that just shows what your up against, when playing a Dublin club team. For Castlebar to get to the final, was a great achievement, as I don’t think that many people expected them to get there this year. My main point was that Kerry’s other club teams are a long way behind Dr. Cokes. The Mayo club final was a lot closer game than the Kerry club final. So its not a great sign for the future of Kerry football, then again, you can never write them off.

  20. I heard Dublin as pumped in millions into underage football over last 5 plus years.Which now they are seen the fruits of their rewards.Dublin have the finances and the population.Is there a possibility of there been dominance from Dublin and their clubs over next 5 to 10 years? I wonder how much mayo pump into under age structure?

  21. I was in Pairc Esler last feb on a freezing sat night so I know how you felt WJ. The wind blows in off the Mourne mountains. Vincents are good but do not look invincibile. Brennan might be back. But Mitchells have won their games to date by digging deep particularly in second half. Also Pat Holmes is up to the task on the line. Barry Moran on the edge of the square is a threat any day. Hope the 2 Feeneys get back to full fitness. And as ever hope for a Mayo win in All Ireland final

  22. Yeah bohola, remember that St. Brigid’s from Roscommon beat Ballymun Kickhams from Dublin in last year’s final, so a repeat of a Connaught win over Leinster would be great this year! With Mayo having played Dublin in the All-Ireland final, that makes it three Connaught V Leinster finals in a row.

  23. Just watched the Mitchels match again and two things stood out for me that Mayo could do with taking on board.

    When Crokes had the ball, they retained possession really well, as did Castlebar. The county team surrender the ball too easily. The more you own the ball, the more opportunities you’ll get to score and the fewer the opposition will have.

    The other big thing our county team should learn from today’s match is that Mitchel’s out muscled, hassled Crokes, taking contact to the edge to magnificent effect. The only respect they showed Crokes was that they knew they were good enough that they should plan to stop them playing when the Kerrymen had the ball. I loved it!

    JH should show the team the video of this game the night before the Kerry NL match!

  24. First off, I must congratulate you WJ on managing to compile not one but TWO match reports. Good work! 😉

    Secondly, huge congratulations to Mitchels on that win today. Was I glad I made the trip to Portlaoise – it was a superb game of football and I ended up on my feet by the end of it cheering like I had 15 brothers on the field! I was sorry to see Gooch go – but while he was a loss to Crokes, and it was a shame for him on a personal level, it really felt that Mitchels were not going to leave that game behind, come hell or high water. I thought Douglas in particular played superbly, but Donal Newcombe, Barry Moran and Richie Feeney had great games as well, and of course Durcan played a blinder. And it sets up a cracking weekend of football in the middle of March (and a welcome excuse to avoid the parade!). Taking Vincent’s will be a big ask, but Mitchels have toppled the odds all the way through, and I’d not be one bit surprised to see them do it again.

    The support for both teams today was super too and made for a great atmosphere – it’s a while since I’ve heard that kind of noise at a game and it was quality.

    I didn’t see the Vincemts/Ballinderry game, but chatting about it tonight, it seems our old friend Marty Duffy but in a vintage performance (but naturally, not having seen it, I couldn’t possibly comment!) I believe Mossy was in fine form also – I look forward to see him coming face to face with that Mitchels defence. 🙂

    Though I work in Vincents territory, I know what colours I’ll be wearing on 17th March. Maigh Eo abú! 🙂

  25. Absolutely agree Cloud 9 – they really weren’t afraid to take on their men and Mitchels in particular put serious pressure on Crokes in their own half. Found myself thinking on more than one occasion of the contrast between that performance and the Mayo ones I’ve seen so far this year.

  26. Congrats to Mitchels and here’s hoping they can go all the way. I really admired the way they pushed for home in the final minutes, much as against St Brigid’s in the CF. Their confidence in going for scores in that time was remarkable and overall they took some great scores. Pat Holmes and his team appear to have them at peak fitness. Also the substitutions all seemed to be effective and the fresh legs were important.
    However I felt that there is much room for improvement in the accuracy of balls into the forward line and the marking for the Croke’s goal was terrible. That, if repeated in the final,against Tomás Quinn, Diarmuid Connolly etc will be fatal. Also noticeable was the way Croke’s were able to strike back with a goal immediately after the first Mitchel’s goal. A greater need for concentration to win the next ball after scoring a goal seems indicated as is the need for pressure on defenders on kick outs to eliminate the option of the short kick out. Croke’s seemed to want to avoid the kick out to centre field despite having a regular Kerry midfielder there.

  27. Well done Castlebar great performance and result. Really liked the way the way King took his goal low along the ground. They are so hard to save. What was story with Feeneys were they injured as I was surprised to see them come off when I thought their experience was most needed but fair play to team they drove on and broke Crokes hearts. Finally Pat Holmes well done. A great player for Mayo, manager of team in 2001 when we won league, joint manager with Connelly in 2006 when we won U21 and now this credit where its due. Tough final in prospect but they have been outsiders in last 3 games and come out on top.

  28. I see d Connolly almost got sent off against he needs to calm down a bit am not having a go at him hope castle bar win

  29. Yes Pat Holmes deserves huge credit.He is the only manager in 44 years to bring a national title to our county team.And I believe that its all down to his awareness on the sideline.Mitchells were wrote off all year even in the county having lost was it two finals,and they will be wrote off the next day too.
    The way he used Barry Moran swapping him in and out of the full foreward line caused havoc at times in the Crokes full back line.
    Having said all that,will he be able to steer the Mitchells over the line on Paddys day with what you can only describe as our embarrassing record in finals, here in Mayo.
    I hope I don’t have to listen to people trying to convence themselves that this time it will be different, that hasn’t helped in past finals.I’m hoping the team can take to the field the next day free of injury, and play the way they have all year, and not implode on the day as other Mayo teams have done in previous finals.
    Then and only then if they are good enough will they win the All Ireland for themselves and for Mayo because we’ll all be rooting for them.

  30. Castlebar’s fitness shone through to keep pressing Crokes in their own half all the way thru the game. Typical smug Kerry people around me at half time said they’d never last the pace with that approach, but thankfully we’re proved wrong. Mitchels have improved in every game since the county final, hopefully can keep it up now. No stand-out stars , just a great team performance.

    How many should join Barry Moran, Richie Feeney and Tom Cunniffe on the county panel? Patrick Durcan seems a shoe-in to me, maybe Donal Newcombe too?

  31. In fairness, Mayo clubs have done reasonably well in the club All-Ireland final. Crossmolina and Ballina Stephenites have both won the final since the turn of the millenium. Hopefully Mitchels will add to that list.

  32. Look that comment is quite illogical in my opinion. When kerry were winning all irelands a few years ago had they clubs winning all Irelands? just look at goochs replacement who had a great game. And regarding a closer county final…mitchels are miles ahead of breaffy. They bet them out the gate in the group stages and a 6 point win in a final is comfortable so

  33. Eoghan reilly should anyway! Ah look barry moran is one of the best footballers in the county and country and jh leaves him on his arse for most of the championship last year. Likewise Richie feeney showed as well that he can do a job in a jersey so what good is it jh bringing lads on panel if he’s gonna leave them in thhe dugout. He dropped barry tom parsons and aidan kilcoyne once and has had to bring back two and should bring back the third too. Today showed castlebar are a dominant force through to an all Ireland final. When ballintubber won a county title how many ballintubber lads had he on panel..will he do the same for mitchels now? Not sounding nasty but I’m still sour after last years final and losing it on line. As someone said lets hope holmes steers mitchels over line and shows he can get it right on the line as he did yesterday

  34. Barry Moran playing on the edge of the square effectively kept Eoin Brosnan out of the game and reduced his attacking threat. Losing Gooch then deprived Crokes of a massive threat up front. These two things balanced things out. The rest was down to grit and determination and a massive appetite for hard work when the Crokes had possession.
    Well done. Now go finish the job!

  35. Pk, my main point was, that there is genuine concern in Kerry at the moment about their future prospects. Dr. Crokes won the Kerry county final against Austin Stacks by 4-16 to 0-12. They feel the Crokes are just much too strong for all of the other clubs in Kerry, which is not a good thing for football in Kerry. Jack O’Connor has been put in charge of the Kerry minor team as they feel that there is a good batch of 15 to 18 year old’s in the county. They think that the generation after the golden generation have a lot of work to do in terms of strength and conditioning etc., to become more competitive. Kerry teams have been written off in the past too, so time will tell, how things will go in the near future.

  36. I would not for one minute buy any of it and believe kerry pose a serious threat this year and could win sam. They have a production line of footballers and every year have a few that come good and come through the ranks. As I said in the last 20 years when they were winning all irelands they never had dominant clubs in club championship

  37. Congratulations to all involved in Castlebar and don’t take no for an answer next month

    BM is an option at ff for mayo if they use the right pass in to him, dropping ball and not crowd him with other forwards. It’ll be interesting to see who’s drafted on to the mayo panel after this run.
    Shows the strenght mayo football has, despite our crying about 2league losses.

    UP MAYO!!!!!!!!

  38. Great win for Connacht today too, in the Inter Pros:

    Connacht 3-19 Munster 2-16

    Connacht were well behind early on, so it was a great come back from them. It will be interesting to read the reports on this game, to see how the Mayo lads played!

  39. True. Word from the kingdom is that Eamonn Fitzmaurice is happy with the progress of the existing team. You add the likes of 4 (maybe 5) Crokes players, Declan and Darren O’ Sulivan, Marc O’Sé and Donaghy to that bunch and you have a serious football team to pick from.

    Also Mitchells did brilliant yesterday, however it will be to the detriment of Mayo in 2 weeks time.Kerry will now have their guys back and you can be sure the Crokes lads will be foaming at the mouth to get one over Mayo any way possible. It was a big upset for them yesterday and you could see they weren’t happy about it come the final whistle.
    Only consolation for these guys now is to plant Mayo firmly into relegation territory on their home turf. Fitzmaurice will feed off this an the fact and they will want revenge for last year in Castlebar where they failed to score in the second half.
    I would expect a big performance from them.

  40. Après the Kerry would want rev age and mayo have to be wary of them. Also some where commenting that the tackle on the c cooper was on purpose I don’t think so.

  41. @ Hopespringseternal

    I can tell you how the Mayo lads played if you like. I swung by Tuam today (tenner in, couldn’t believe it!) on my way back to Mayo – I have an ambition to visit every ground used for intercounty action and Tuam made it number 26. Still 24 more to go though, but I digress …

    On the plus side, there was good performances from Robbie Hennelly and Kevin McLoughlin, who lined out at left half back today. Jason Gibbons put in a great performances, good fielding and intelligent use of the ball, think he chipped in with a score as well. Took a heavy knock to the head and was bleeding, but came back on anyway to great effect.

    On the negative side, Aidan O’Shea seemed like he couldn’t hold a ball in the air today, and actually kept missing it – it kept going over his head. Also, when he did get the ball, he wouldn’t pass it. He held onto it for ages. He should be given a sort of 5 second rule where he has to get rid of the ball, because even though he holds onto it, it’s not helping the team.

    As for Michael Conroy, to be fair to him, anytime he was given good ball he held onto it and ran at his man. But his shooting was just appalling. And yes, he did fall on his hole more than once!

    Fine performances from Roscommon’s Cathal Cregg, Sligo’s David Ewing at corner back, our own Jason Gibbons, Leitrim’s Emyln Mulligan and in particular Galway’s Paul Conroy in the forward line, he’s a serious footballer.

    Just as an aside, I have observed over time that footballers from places like Cork and Kerry seem to be able to hit the ball harder and further than those in Connacht. Helps in taking long range scores, and comes from the technique of skying the ball for points the old Kerry way, building up the kicking muscle. Anywho, there’s my 2 cents.

  42. A little ott on JH there I feel-county standard is another step above club and hopefully some of the Castlebar lads can make the grade, but to try and turn their superb performance into a rant at the county manager is a cheap shot-sorry WJ if I’ve broken any house rules with this reply

  43. Fair play Digits, thanks for that. Good luck with the quest too, visiting the other 24 grounds! They were two very high scoring games today, it just shows these players love to play football, no matter what the competition is. It’ll be a tough game next week against Ulster, Connacht have not won outright since 1969 so it would be nice to get a win. It was good for Jason Gibbons to get some more game time and its great to see him keeping up his good form so far this year. With Barry Moran doing so well for Castlebar, the competition for places will be really good coming into the summer. Well at least Michael Conroy got a game anyway and it was interesting to see Kevin McLoughlin playing wing-back too. According to the website, Cathal Cregg (1-7), Emlyn Mulligan and Paul Conroy (both 0-5) were all in superb form. That’s now the third victory for Connacht against Munster over the past number of weeks, which is good to see. With the other two been Kiltane over the Cork champions and Castlebar over the Kerry champions. Lets hope Mayo can make it four in two weeks time against Kerry but it won’t be easy at all, as they will be looking for revenge I’m sure!

  44. I was disappointed with Kirby and King yesterday, They were not really in the game.
    Not sure Barry Moran on the edge of the square was all that great a ploy. I thought they could have done with him in Midfield to win some ball, as they seemed to struggle there.

  45. Danny Kirby needs to be reintroduced to the county panel. He works tirelessly, covers a huge amount of ground, is physically very strong in the tackle and you can always rely on him for a big score from distance. Why he is not part of the senior panel and being coached at the highest level is beyond me?? ……..meanwhile Horan continues to carry deadwood on his panel once again this year and excludes players of Kirbys ability????

  46. Well I’m giving my opinion from what I have seen not from todays performance alone. I can go on about other non castlebar players in county such as gibbons, kilcoyne regan etc. And I do think yesterdays game is relevant to county set up as I’m afraid the best players in the county arent being utilised. Anyway big games in league coming up and results needed. Be great to see a few wins for county before paddys day when hopefully the red and yellow can go on

  47. But exactly what are you complaining about PK?

    It’s ridiculous to expect any Castlebar fella to be playing Inter county while they are still involved in the club series. The biggest games of most of their careers coming up. Do you want them to risk injury? I don’t understand how you can put this sort of argument.

    As to Kilcoyne – isn’t he still injured? And you talk about Gibbons. He was playing the last two matches. What is your argument here ?

    Also you mention Evan Regan. The word on this site and others is that he is unavailable for the Senior panel as he is concentrating on studies, U21 and also is going traveling later in the year.
    I don’t know how much of this is rumour mill or fact but these endless calls for Evan Regan day after day by either uninformed people or others trying to create unrest are just pointless and tiresome.

  48. So what do you want Horan to do? Ring up Pat Holmes tomorrow, congratulate him and then tell him he wants, Feeney, Kirby, Moran, O’Reilly, Cunniffe and King all available for serious inter county training and physical development strength and conditioning from Monday evening on.
    And also tell Pat they will be on the panel for the forthcoming League matches and they should prepare themselves these.
    I’m pretty sure Holmes, the lads themselves, the Mitchells club and all the supporters of Castlebar would have plenty to say to question Horan’s judgement then.

  49. Yeah, when you think about it in 2012, when Barry Moran was fully fit he was Mayo’s first choice mid-fielder, also last year before he got injured he was playing in a lot of the early league games, unfortunatley he then got injured. Also Tom Cunniffe was first choice corner-back when he came back into the panel after been away travelling. There is no doubt in saying that Richie Feeney should have got more game time in the latter stages of the championship. He actually did get a lot of game time during the early part of the championship and the league but to be honest he didn’t really set the world alight with his performances. I seem to remember him missing a sitter against Roscommon. I actually thought that his best game for Mayo was against Dublin in the 2012 semi-final when he played on the half-back line after Lee Keegan got injured, he picked up a serious amount of ball in that game. He also came forward and scored a great point too. Right-half back would probably be his best position but we are blessed with half-backs at the moment.

  50. are you starting to hate connolly because he is a class act or is it because a ballinderry player trys to get him sent off by taking a 20 yard run at him in the final minutes & hits the ground like a baby when connolly stands his ground?

  51. i was at the match. the ballinderry player took a 20 yard run at connolly and when connolly stood his ground yer man hit the ground like tonne of bricks, holding his face in the hope that the ref would act on the crouds reaction & send him off. this happens in every club & intercounty game coz the opposition think he’s a easy target but he has wised up in the last 2 years.

  52. Cheers MO2014, there was a good mix too, 5 Mayo, 4 Galway and 2 each from Roscommon, Sligo and Leitrim playing today. It was nice to see that A O’Shea was captain as well and that he scored a goal too. Although according to Digits, he didn’t have a great game. It would be good to get a win next week anyway.

  53. Its amazing really the more lads don’t play for county team the better they seem to get. Regan will be the man to solve all our problems and Barry and Ritchie didn’t get fair play. Meanwhile the likes of Andy and others are labelled as deadwood. For Gods sake support the lads who give their best day in day out for the county team and celebrate Castlebars fantastic achievement of getting to club final and stop using their success as a stick to beat JH with. No doubt if Castlebar lose final there will be people having a pop at Barry and Ritchie.

  54. 45 – Just a quick observation to day about Kirby. He got the ball on the right wing about the half way line and kicked it in towards the forwards. At this stage he was on his own so he just stood there and looked at the ball. He didn’t go back to defend and he could have ran forward, making an extra man. He just stood still !!!

  55. Nice to see my own club Knockmore get a mention there, who by the way will be fifty years a growing this year and were very unlucky to meet an up and coming Crossmaglen in the 97 final.

  56. This revenge thing is completely over played in my opinion. Yes these Croke lads will be hurting this morning and for another week or two as well and even if they are involved with Kerry, they will find it hard to lift themselves for a League match in February.

    Anyway if Mayo are not capable of lifting themselves for the Kerry challenge in MacHale Park I would be very worried for the rest of the season.

  57. You make it out that Castlebar are the undisputed kingpins of Mayo football..This year was the first time in 21 years that they’d won a senior county..Vincents have been far more dominant in recent times in Dublin than Castlebar have been..

    I am delighted they won yesterday as it does show how strong Mayo club football is..After all only a month ago they were beaten at home in a challenge game by an intermediate team..I realise challenge games are just that but the Mitchells had 12 of their starting team playing..

    There are a number of teams in Mayo who could and I think will stop Castlebar going back to back

  58. They won the game and he had a hand in 2 goals, taking Eoin Brosnan away from the middle third for most of the game in the process. Sounds like it worked quite well to me. How many other players carrying a knock will have that effect on a match?

  59. Did anybody here watch the county final in mayo? I assume ye did and what a poor game it was .Dublin club football is streets ahead of mayo club football and i expect this to be shown on AF Day. I would expect vincents to win this game although it will be tight. Crokes were in huge trouble when Gooch went off as any team would when losing one of the greatest players on the island. People screaming at mitchels lads to be bought on to mayo panel …lol the reason guys dont play in champo games is because they dont perform to the standard in TRAINING hence why they dont get picked to play. I didnt think moran or douglas were a scoring threat against crokes atal ( it took the wing back to grab 2 goals). its scoring forwards we need nothing else. rest my case.

  60. ah yes on moran at full forward didnt holmes learn anything over the last 5 years …this move does not work as the player is too laboured for number 14. Tom King although took his goal well wasnt a threat throughout the game either.

  61. Indeed.
    Scored 2 points from play and setup 3 goals with the final assist pass.
    Ya Barry Moran was a complete disaster for Mitchells at FF alright !

  62. Wow – Castlebar Mitchels get to AICF, beating highly fancied Kerry Crokes and we go into a negative tailspin!

    Mitchels score 3-13 into the bargain, and overrun their opponents in the last ten minutes and still are found wanting

    Why can’t we enjoy this for what it is – a terrific achievement to get to a final by a team that plays to the last drop, has a very good manager and a good panel from what I saw, both in the county final and in Portlaoise last Saturday?

    The relevance to the county panel is minimal at the moment. It would be a great achievement to win it and a win will be very difficult against the strength of Dublin football at the moment. But the same points could have been made about every game Mitchels have played to date.

    For my money they are mentally tough, and they take their chances. For quite a bit of the first half and the third quarter, I though Crokes had the edge. The quick build up and runs from defence, where O’Leary was deployed, were difficult to deal with and Crokes had a few goal chances – indeed Cooper should have goaled when he opted for the point before the injury.

    But Michels battled away, and if one guy stuttered, there was another nearby to take up the slack. This happened a lot during the first half, when Barry Moran, who definitely wasn’t fully fit, missed some ball. Immediately a posse featuring Richie, Tom King and Danny Kirby upped it and scores were clawed back.

    Indeed Richie F wasn’t 100% fit either. Yet, when he went off, James Durcan scorched Crokes with his pace and the game opened up for Mitchels, who simply buried the opposition in the last ten minutes. I don’t think Cooper would have mattered at that stage.

    Castlebar have a strong panel and Holmes deployed his men to best advantage on the day. If BM and RF are fully fit on 17th March, this will improve their prospects.

  63. Very well said catcol, wise words indeed! Are us Mayo supporters ever happy! This is exactly what we have been hoping to see a Mayo senior team do, for a very long time. Take the game by the scruff of the neck and just drive on and win the game. Not only just win it but completely finish off the opposition, how many times have we seen other teams do this to a Mayo team, so it was great to be doing all of the scoring at the end of a game! In relation to the final, yes Dublin football is strong but don’t forget that St Brigid’s, the Roscommon champions beat the Dublin champions, Ballymun Kickhams, in last year’s final. Castlebar then beat St. Brigid’s this year. Yes the final will be a very tough game but if Castlebar play to their best, they are in with a great chance. The pressure will be on Mossy Quinn to keep up his scoring exploits in the final, which won’t be easy. Also their will be a lot of talk about Heffo too, in the build-up to the game. These are all things that Castlebar can use to their advantage, been the underdogs has suited them so far. Also Castlebar had nine different scorers on the day, which is a very good sign. While St. Vincents only had five scores with Mossy Quinn scoring 1-8, if Castlebar can curb his threat, they will be in with a great chance. Connacht football is getting stronger, last year Mayo won the minor title, Galway won the U21 title and Roscommon won the club All-Ireland title. Mayo only lost the senior final by one point. Connacht also beat Munster yesterday too in the Inter Pros. So the future is bright!

  64. Yes Hopesprings – should have made that point about the great spread of scorers Mitchels had.

    This included 3 midfielders(!) – BM seemed to be operating between midfield and FF for a while in the first half0 who scored their points from reasonably long distances.

    Not forgetting 2 goals from the left half back.

  65. You realise that they won the game right? Wouldnt that indicate that they dont ‘need’ anything? If goals come from halfbacks, they still count. As long as they are outscoring their opponents then what does it matter who is doing the scoring? What you are saying is like saying tyrone in the 00s ‘needed’ to be less defensive-oriented.

  66. Mayo destroyed gslway and Donegal last year, so it’s not that long ago that Mayo supporters were witnessing a Mayo turn the screw on the opposition.

    On the club final… C’bar did well to beat brigids in the conn final but being at the game, they were lucky enough on the day to do it. Also brigids were going into last years final having won 3 provincial titles on the trot and up against a relatively inexperienced ballymun team. This Castlebar team are new kids in the block in terms of experience and will be up against one if the kingpins of club football, st Vincent’s.

    Can c’bar win? Of course! But it’ll take their best performance yet! They are a fit pacey team who are hard to put away but with no standout forward.

    I dunno what ye all think but if prefer a team with 2/3 lads who get the overwhelming amount of scores over a team that gets scores from ‘all over the field’. A bit like Mayo when cillian ain’t playing.

    Best of luck to Castlebar, hope they do it!!! But it’s relevance to the fortunes of the county team are very minimal.

  67. The great thing about Castlebar Mitchel’s win, was that when the game was in the balance with a few minutes to go, in a 50/50 game at that stage, they drove on and won. To win in those circumstances is a great confidence booster. Mayo senior teams rarely do this in big games against top opposition. The Galway and Donegal games were over at half-time. To win coming into the final straight, with a final flourish, is what the top teams in most sports do. Look at the amount of times Dublin did it last year, especially against Kerry in the semi-final. Truagh did it against Kiltane as well. St. Vincents are a good team but I don’t think that they should be made out to be world beaters or anything. The last time they were in the final was 2008 so I doubt if any of those players are still playing now. There are probably some of the Castlebar lads who have played in Croke Park on more occasions than the Vincents lads and lads who have also played in recent All-Ireland finals, so Croker should hold no fears for them. I think that sometimes Mayo teams are beaten before the game starts due to building the opposition up too much. A few of the Castlebar forwards didn’t have their best game the last day so hopefully the likes of Tom King will have a big game in the final. It would be great to get a win anyway, no matter what relevance it has to the county team. Some silverware for a Mayo team, would be really nice at this time of the year!

  68. No starting to (dislike) Connolly because he is always trying to intimidate his oponent be it phsycally or verbally why doesnt he just stick to playing football hes good enough

  69. 1/3 of the current Vincents team were on the team that won in 2008.
    Savage, Gill, Brennan, Connolly and Mossy Quinn. Throw in inter county midfielder Eamon Fennell and you have someone then from goalkeeper up on every line who has winning experience of Croke Park.

  70. Well maybe the St. Vincent’s team is aging a bit. It’s a good few years since Mossy Quinn and Eamon Fennell were first choice inter-county players. While Cunniffee, Moran and Feeney are still very much in the Mayo panel. Also there are a couple of other players who will come into the reckoning too in the coming months. Castlebar Mitchels should have youth on their side. Hopefully they will be the fitter and fresher team in the closing stages again, as they were in the semi-final, we’ll see how it goes anyway!

  71. Vincents are far from an ageing team. They have experience alright – the five that JPM listed and Tiernan Diamond all started for them in the 2008 final and Brendan Egan, who transferred to them from Tourlestrane a while back, is an intelligent, experienced player too – but aside from that the rest of the team and wider panel are young. Included in the young cohort are Gavin Burke (All-Ireland minor medalist from 2012) and Ciaran Dorney (All-Ireland U21 medalist from 2010) as well as dual player Ruairi Trainor and a load of other good, young club players. It simply isn’t the case that Mitchels will have youth on their side in this one.

  72. Ah to be honest I’m no expert on the St. Vincent’s team but my main point is this, I don’t think that we should be hyping up the opposition too much. This is what happened in the last two All-Ireland finals against Dublin and Donegal. We were told that they were unbelievable and unbeatable teams. Unfortunately it was only after those games that we realised that the Mayo players are every bit as good as the Dublin or the Donegal players. Then we wondered why we lost! Yes off course, St. Vincents are a very good team and Dublin football is very strong as well but we should also remember that the Roscommon champions beat the Dublin champions in last year’s final. I have been reading some of the Kerry forumns lately and its amazing even after the loss of Colm Cooper, after getting over the initial shock, they are starting to believe again and make plans for the summer. They still believe, ah Kerry players are better than Dublin, Mayo or Cork players. They believe it anyway, even if it might not be true, at this moment in time. So I just feel that we should start to believe that Mayo players are as good as any players out there. We shouldn’t be defeating ourselves before the game starts, building up the opposition and then spend six months wondering why we lost, after we realise that our players were actually as good as theirs. Maybe some collective belief between us all, that we are as good as any teams out there, when we play to our best and to our potential, might help our cause as well!

  73. I think that’s true – Vincents shouldn’t be an enormous step-up for Mitchels in the sense that in their last three matches they’ve faced teams that they’ve been told are better than them whereas the opposite isn’t as true – the last really strong side Vincents faced would have been Ballymun in the Dublin final. I’ve said it already that I think this one could go either way and I do believe that Castlebar have as much reason to go into this one with confidence as us ‘foreigners’ do in relation to the opposition!

  74. Someone would want to get a hold of this website and start moderating it properly! The name calling going here is unacceptable. 🙂

  75. I don’t know much about Vincents but what I do know about Mitchels is that in their last 3 games they have powered over the finish line. Against Corofin and Bridgids they were on the rack on 2 occasions in both games, yet they hung in, battled for every ball and eventually found a way to get back into the game and won convincingly in the end. Going into extra time in the Bridgids game it was easy to see that the Mitchels gander was up and the writing was on the wall for Bridgids. The last day they completely dominated the last quarter and got the scores when they presented themselves. It seems that when it is put up to them they have a response and find a way to win. Any team that has the power, pace and stamina to end a game as fast as they start it, and have a real goal threat, will be very hard to put away.
    I think it is only fair that Holmes’ sideline stewardship must come in for credit also as it has not been commented on too widely. His quick reading of the game and decisiveness in making positional switches was really highlighted the last day. Not only putting Moran on the edge of the square but bringing O’Reilly out to the half back line after 20 mins and his use of Ritchie Feeney throughout the championship has been very good. Attacking substitutions also when he knew Mitchels were on top. Very impressed.

  76. I think we should now do the Castlebar players and Pat Holmes a great service and leave them in a mode that they have been very happy in against Corofin, Brigids and Crokes – the role of underdogs!

    My final words on this are that Vincent’s are deserving favourites and Castlebar are up against it!

    Oh incidentally, the bookies have installed Corofin 11/10 favourites to win the 2014 Galway Championship. The second favourite is Milltown at 6/1. Says something about the high standard of senior club football in Mayo.

  77. In fairness St Brigids played most of extra time with 14 men they also lost Karol Mannion through injury. Another ref could have given two penalties in ET. Dr Crokes were over hyped Corofin and Brigids would have beaten them.

    St Vincent are around the same level as St Brigids a big test however Mitchels have what it takes to win it.

  78. HopeSpringsEternal, you are absolutely right. We are always looking for a reason not to believe in our teams. It is a sign of a collective low-self esteem in our football. I dont really understand why we do it. For instance if castlebar were to lose, all the praise about their great defence for example would soon turn around, as it has in the Mayo team. Shock horror, the underdog doesnt actually win every single time. That doesnt mean there is something wrong with us.

    We are an elite footballing county, maybe we should start acting like it?

    Also, the guy comparing fennell and mossy quinn to feeney and cunniffe, you seemed to forget about brennan and connolly!

  79. Pk – I’ve deleted that last comment from you. Can you make the point (which is a reasonable one) without directing insults at the person you’re responding to?

  80. Apologies I was just trying to say posters are obviously not reading what was posted/putting a different spin on comments. Basically what I’m saying is bad calls were made dropping certain players eg regan, kilcoyne etc. while other injured players were left on the panel so there is does seem to be double standards sometimes. Maybe the fact they play better when they’re dropped may have been an error of judgement on managements behalf. As I said jpm and ill say it again the county team should be made up of the best 30 in the county and the starting 15 should be the best of the 30 and I believe maybe our 15/30 falls short of that for some reason. I also don’t expect castlebar/kiltane players to be involved while being involved with club so no point implying that posters expect jh to ring holmes up on a monday after a game. The calls will/should be made in april and let club players have a week or twos break

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