Three-in-a-row for mighty Mitchels

Photo: @MayoGAA

Castlebar Mitchels had to battle all the way in today’s county senior football championship decider against Ballintubber at MacHale Park. But battle they did, finally edging home by two points on a 0-15 to 0-13 scoreline.

I must admit I fancied Ballintubber – who’d beaten Mitchels in each of their three previous final clashes in recent years – to win today and when they led by three points shortly after half-time they looked well set to do it. Castlebar are champions for a reason, though, and they dug deep to level the game up and then, with Cillian O’Connor gone on two yellows (for the second time this month), to make the decisive late push for victory.

Today’s win completes a three-in-a-row of Moclair Cup win for Mitchels. It’s the club’s 30th senior county title – they’re now starting to close in with intent on Ballina’s haul of 36 – and it’s the first time they’ve won three on the spin since the glory days of the Fifties when they were unbeaten for five years within the county, between 1950 and 1954.

It’s also the first Moclair Cup three-in-a-row since Garrymore completed the same feat back in 1976. I’m not even sure the trophy was called that back then.

Earlier in the day at MacHale Park Kiltimagh and Bohola Moy Davitts played out a draw in the Intermediate decider. Kiltimagh looked to be on their way to victory – and, with it, senior status for next year – when they led by two goals. A determined fightback by Moy Davitts, however, turned the contest on its head and in the end it took a superb late equaliser by Kiltimagh’s Tomas Keegan to claim a second bite at the cherry.

It ended 1-14 to 2-11 and the replay has since been confirmed for next Saturday evening under the lights at MacHale Park, where throw-in is set for 7.30pm.

Yesterday Ballinrobe lost their battle to retain senior status for 2018 when they were well beaten in the SFC relegation final by Davitts. The final score in that one was 3-13 to 1-6.

Photo: @TooreenHurlers

The main attraction yesterday was, however, the senior hurling decider featuring yet another derby encounter between Ballyhaunis and Tooreen. The townie lads were chasing a four-in-a-row victory in this one, played in wet and very windy conditions at Adrian Freeman Park in Tooreen, but it was the home side – aided in no small part by two Fergal Boland goals – who claimed the TJ Tyrell Cup on this occasion. They won it by 2-10 to 0-6.

I wasn’t at any of these games and as I was at an underage final involving one of my daughters this afternoon I wasn’t able to avail of the excellent Mayo GAA TV service to follow the action from MacHale Park today either. Colm Gannon of the Mayo Advertiser was, however, and his report on the SFC final is here, his report on the IFC final is here and his take on yesterday’s SHC decider is here.

56 thoughts on “Three-in-a-row for mighty Mitchels

  1. Well done Castlebar. Cillian sent off again, he really needs to learn to keep the head, usual suspects left, Castlebar, Brigids, and Corofin..

  2. Barry Moran had some game today – – showed real class & fetching ability & kicked 3 great points. Looks well capable of playing a role for Mayo next year !!

  3. What about last year????? Too late now, at least the last 10 mins against Dublin. Aiden in ff and Barry at midfield or visa versa and Dublin would not have had it so handy. But that’s only my opinion. Those who know better have the say. ???????

  4. Well done to Castlebar …great achievement … Yes agree Barry did very well .The mark suits his game .. Not being negative but if Castlebar have a long run at the all Ireland , there will be alot of their players who won’t really get a look in at FBD or league

  5. I think regardless of opportunities in the FBD, in terms of marking physical big forwards there is no one better in the county than Ger McDonagh.

  6. What ever about the FBD, can McDonagh get some league action at full back. No more than goalkeepers, it is a position that needs consistency

  7. Yep …but after the All Ireland ,think you will all agree its forwards and good mobile midfielder we need to strengthen Mayo panel .

  8. @my ball, Our forwards were excellent this year I thought. We definitely do need options at full back considering Aidan had to play there against Kerry. We also need our bench to step up.

    Congrats to Mitchels. Just had enough to get over a valiant Tubber side. McDonagh, Barry Moran and Paddy Durcan had big games. James Durcan was flying before getting black carded. Gibbons and Michael Plunkett were impressive for Tubber. Cillian was very good throughout but needs to improve his discipline. It’s one thing getting the line for taking one for the team, but getting involved in a melee when you’re on a yellow already? Madness for someone so experienced.

    The overall standard was very high I thought with some great scores from both teams.

    The intermediate final was really entertaining. Kiltimagh dominated much of the general play but were wasteful. Brian Reape looked dangerous throughout for Moy Davitts.

  9. Congrats castlebar.
    I would agree jp mcdonagh looks the part.
    Cillian tried to lose him a few times out the field also but mcdonagh stuck to him.
    Paddy durcan won the battle on diarmuid but like the mayo team is diarmuid asked to do to much in games.
    He seems to play every position on the pitch bar goals and looks jaded.
    Super point off his left today.

  10. Congrats Castlebar and winning three on the spin is some achievement given the strength of club football in Mayo at the present.
    Mitchels got their defensive match-ups spot on I believe and used their 2 speedy wing forwards to good effect early in the game to stretch the Ballintubber defense. Newcombe on Dillon, Paddy on Diarmuid and Ger on Cillian went a long way to curbing Ballintubber. However, I felt Gibbons and Geraghty shaded things in the middle of the field with Gibbons’ use of the ball particularly impressive. His point was well taken and he moved the ball accurately and early.
    Rory Byrne must surely be ahead of Hennelly in the goal keeping stakes for the Mayo senior team at this stage and his performance yesterday was yet further proof of his ability. Leadership, calmness under pressure, excellent shot stopping ability, accurate and varied kick outs and a safe pair of hands under a high ball are strengths that Hennelly just does not have. Kirby showed for ball all day, tackled very well and scored a beaut of a point and Conor Stensons ability to drift into space, between the lines, and use the ball smartly and efficiently is pleasing to see.
    However, at the risk of being lacerated for speaking out against the county captain, I thought Cillians performance yesterday was very, very disappointing. I felt if he had concentrated as much on playing football as he did on taking out Mitchels defenders, off the ball, with his very clever “blocking runs” then Ballintubber might have benefited more. He was at it all game and at various times he took Maughan, O’Malley and Irwin out of the game with this tactic. I know a few refs and they are all wise to him and this tactic at this stage. There is no doubt that he is now a marked man by refs. I think Ger McDonagh got under Cillians skin because, although Cillian was able to lose Ger on his runs, these runs were 30m to 40m out the field, and when it came to close contact and the pulling and dragging side of things, Cillian was not able to bully Ger in the same way he bullies almost every other full back that comes up against him.
    Anyway, it was nice to get out watching football again and seeing the FBD schedule on the match program has got the gander up again. I see we have the Rossies away on January 14th. Kiltoom here we come 🙂

  11. David Stenson is a nice footballer when you watch him close. Nothing flashy, but then the final whistle blows and he hasn’t had a single error in the game. A bit like Michael Plunkett in that sense. Just a very tidy consistent footballer.

  12. Congrats to Castlebar on winning 3 in a row. The first to do so since the great Garrymore team of the 70’s.
    Cillian really needs to work on his discipline. Agree that Ger McDonagh is worth a look for Mayo…what age is he?

  13. Ger McDonagh was final year minor 2008 and now U27, an U28 next year. Same as Aidan OShea and Shane Nally.

  14. Thought Newcombe did a very good job on Dillon. Alan makes that Ballintubber team tick. Paddy Durkan and Diarmuid kinda cancelled each other out and with Ger able to compete with Cillian it gave mitchels the upper hand . B Moran kicked 3 points and Kirby 2 (I think). Thought Mitchells goalkeeper was superb , first time I seen him kick long distance off both feet , makes a big difference and very hard to read the run up. Mitchells short kicks are now 30-35 yards.

  15. @wideball . agree our forwards were excellent this year but still believe we need to strengthen our bench …Dublin’s strong bench is getting them over the line .. Wasn’t trying to criticize our current forwards ..looking for natural forwards who’s first instinct is to have a shot at goal ie cormac Costello , Con o Callaghan ..that type of player as opposed to say Drake or Kirby ..both good footballers but not ‘ natural’ forwards ..

  16. Great win for Castlebar in what I thought was a very good match with some excellent play from both sides. Tubber really needed to win more breaking ball as the game wore on..

    Barry was supreme in all aspects – masterclass really. Anytime I’ve seen Barry given some freedom in McHale Park he racks up the scores.

    Alan Plunkett really caught my eye, especially in the first half. James Durcan (of whom I always talk about) was flying until he got the black card.

    Something like 5600 there yesterday. Great crowd in what was essentially an all Castlebar catchment area.

  17. Well done Mitchells. The O’Connor brothers look exhausted..such a long season and on the back of other long seasons. I think Cillian must have played in every League and Championship match in 2017. Then the Club ( replays ) . And he the Captain of club and county. I think he works in Dublin. Savage commitment. He has to perform every day he goes out-the mental and physical pressure must be huge. Diarmuid will be playing with DCU for the winter. I just admire them so much for what they(and the other mayo players too of course) have given in the search of the dream.

  18. Goagain2018 – Cillian is a school teacher in south Mayo. But yes, any county player deserves huge credit for the commitment they put in. Pressure on Mayo players in recent years is as intense as you get.

  19. Thanks for that yewtree. Just think that burnout must be a huge worry. Hope as many as possible of the Seniors get a good break now over the winter.

  20. Ger McDonagh has to given a chance at full back.. For Mayo, Ideal marker for Damien Commer, but then again so is Kevin Keane,… Not that I expect Ger Cafferkey to leave the Mayo scene…. But we desperately need to give some others a right try out… We might need to risk losing our Div 1,status so as we can be as good as possible late Summer next year… With player’s like, Clarke, Boyle, Higgins, Barrett, Seamus O Shea, Cafferkey, Barry Moran and Andy Moran all stalwart of many campaigns.. It’s important that we don’t over work these player’s and find some possible replacements for the hard yards of the league… In terms of constant football played for Mayo for years now,..although age is not as much as a factor, certainly football miles are on the clock Keegan, Vaughan, Mcloughin Jason Doherty and Aiden O Shea….. It’s basically a small number of players who have kept us in Div 1, and no doubt the best team never to win an All Ireland for the best part of a decade now…. But it’s also hard to expect the bulk of these experienced players playing to the highest standard for another long year.. We cannot expect that if we replace maybe 3 or 4 of those players, on a given day with new players that they will be as good as who they replaced immediately… But definitely we cannot keep going to the same well either …. Some younger players are there and might be used more consistently in the league…. Fergal Boland should be given another chance to impress, he was quite good in the league but should be better next year… Connor Louftus is a hugely exciting player… Mathew Ruane is a highly mobile player who can score on the run, has to be given a chance…. Brian Reape also has to get his shot, as does Akram!… Can Liam Irwin get to the fitness levels required for intecounty football, he certainly has the talent, and a left foot of the highest quality… By January, Kevin Keane should be back in the fold…. and good to go.. Personally, I would welcome back Jason Gibbons into the panel, highly mobile midfielder, who can score, he definitely has more to do to deserve a starting place but he’s still young enough and has huge potential… The player that would welcome back the most if it were to happen is Alan Freeman…. A very simple and straight forward reason, when Mayo ran their bench in the All Ireland final, the only sub who really gave us something decisive was Diarmuid O’Connor who is a regular starter,.When Andy came off, wouldn’t it have been great if we had a proven scorer in the full forward line, and we could have played Freeman as a target man.

  21. Diarmuid O’Connor’s last minute point off the left foot was absolutely outrageous. One of the scores of the year.

  22. Badly needed rest for the O Connors. Hope they take advantage of it. Disappointed to hear Cillian got sent off but he is living more and more on the edge. See some of the great dub supporters on other forums thriving on his sending off. They really do have it in for him. Saddos

  23. Well done to Castlebar. Just looking at the Connaught Club Championship Castlebar have to play Mohill of Leitrim in a Q/final.If they win that they play Sligo champions in Semi Final and then the Final.If they are successful in that they would have to play the British Champions in December. Thats 4 more games this year.When are these players going to get a rest?.

  24. Greedy gaa cashing in on season tix again. Barely any saving now compared to buying normal tickets bar the obvious benefit of a guaranteed AI final ticket. Used to be 75 or 80 euro for a season ticket a few years ago. Gaa inflation rates are a joke to have risen by 50% in space of a few years. Without a season ticket, You can buy tickets for the seven league games and championship 1st round for 100 euro. Then you have to pay for every other game. Where’s the saving in that?? Starting to agree more with joe brolly by the day. Gaa obsessed with money and Mayo fans are a cash cow in particular at the moment.

  25. Gibbons surely would be a welcome sight. Can run and score too. Freeman will hardly be back, its time we brought reape and co in and let them push the deal through for once and for all. A bit of time watching the likes of Boyler and Andy showing courage near goal can only improve them. If we rest the right players til late spring its likely that the team can be stronger for the summer 2018, and thats saying something.
    I see the dubs are not travelling to oz, not too surprised, o gara and co are only tough when its westmeath or the like , not so much against someone not afraid to stick into them. It would have been interesting to see how they reacted to getting a few belts from tough lads that like to fight. Was unlikely to happen though, even if their sponsor, AER LINGUS, would have given them free passage on the plane.

  26. Some good news being reported this morning in the press by Colm Keys:

    Stephen Rochford is likely to be confirmed as Mayo manager in 2018 at a county board meeting expected to take place tomorrow. There is no firm indication yet that Donie Buckley and Tony McEntee will be part of the backroom team but the expectation is that, despite the extensive travel involved for them, they will rejoin Rochford in seeing out the term.

    Best wishes to all involved in 2018 and a big thanks for all of the hard work being put in.

  27. If anyone is not renewing season ticket , just change address details to my address snd ill snap it off ya .

  28. Just heard that Mayomann Re:Joe Corcoran has passing away. very sad. Surely one of the all time greats.
    Its sad to think another legend has passed on without seeing the county lift Sam

  29. Willie Joe . how good was Joe Corcoran . who would he remind you of as a player in the current day ??

  30. The increase in the season ticket is riduculous. As other contributors have posted, the GAA are yet again taking advantage of the counties supporters.

    They are claiming the price increase is down to (and i quote):
    “the season ticket does include the League games, First round of the Championship”. Their email goes onto say
    “The season Ticket for 2018 will also provide you with access to a ticket for your counties group stage matches”

    Did you ever read such rubbish? This is no different from last year. We always had access to all your countys games.

    Pure and downright extortion.

    They should be ashamed of themselves.

    Who will buy season tickets now outside of Dublin & Mayo supporters? Possibly a few hundred from Kerry & Tyrone.

  31. MayoMark – Your pulling the devil by the tail with those celebrations now three days on:) Whats the story from the inside – any new comers or untested old comers who might step up to it from the county champions?

  32. Jinkin Joe has left and gone away ! One of Mayo’s greatest and classiest forwards. RIP

  33. Do we know who Mitchell’s meet in the next round or has that to be decided upon? Apologies if it’s already been answered elsewhere.

  34. ATT MAYO MAGIC. under 16 tickets are now 30 2012,13,14,15,16,i think i paid 95 euro for the season tickets for myself and my son.for 2017 i paid 119 euro. this year it will be 150 euro if i want the season ticket for myself and my son.I THINK THE GAA wants mayo supporters and the dubs to discontinue the season ticket.the value is now gone from the season ticket scheme as my son gets free entry into league games .I shall be emailing the gaa letting them know i am not happy with the increase and demanding they do a uturn and not implement any increase on the season ticket.I WOULD encourage other season ticket holders to do the same. P.S. RIP JOE CORCORAN. a mayo great.

  35. Just did a short piece on him there, Mayomafia. Although I remember seeing him playing, I was too young to appreciate the finer details and my memories of him are too imprecise at this remove. One of the greats, though, for sure.

  36. Was at the game sunday and thought mitchels gave an all round better team performance and always looked more threatening going forward than rubber. They had more clear cut goal chances but Walsh did well on a number of occasions in the goals. Bar the frees in the 1st half ballintubber looked Ltd. Going forward.
    I thought the ref was very poor. How Jason gibbons didn’t get a black card in the ens is behond me although it would not have made a difference and even the ballintubber fans started to leave then. There was another black card offence up the other end which a castlebar man should have got and cillian could have walked way before he did.

    Mitchels dominated the middle and were cooler on the ball. Barry moran mcdonagh kirby and eoghan o reillys (the big men) were all the clear winners of their duals and mitchels pushing up on the kickouts helped. I believe it’s the winners of leitrim (mohill) next.

    Also I understand Rochford is to be offered another year which I welcome but I think after 6 years there its time to get a new face in and thank donie Buckley for his service I think we need a new face there assisting.

  37. Pk,I totally disagree with you re Domie Buckley. think it would be a disaster if he left.God,I think he’s the main reason that we are as physical and as sharp in the tackle as we are.

  38. Pk..Heard someone refer to Barretts tackling in the All Ireland final as having “Buckleys influence all over it”..He brings alot to the table ..Are you looking for change just to freshen things up???

  39. We’ve had plenty of management upheaval over the last few years. A bit of continuity would be welcome. I hope everyone in the back room team remains.

  40. Will be interesting to see what changes are made to the panel next year. In my opinion Brian Reape, James Durcan, Ger McDonagh and possibly one or two more deserve a shot. Kevin Keane will also be back in contention but for every player brought in, someone needs to drop out…

  41. Definitley want Donie Buckley to stay. Players all speak so highly of him. No more upheavel please. Sure other counties would only be delighted to have his services. hopefully all goes well at County Board Meeting and an announcement is made re Stephen R.

  42. I think it’s vital that Donie Buckley is kept on board. If he was let go he would be snapped up by one of the top counties straight away. Imagine the job he would do back in Kerry again. I hope he has been utilised by the county board over the last few years to train our trainers. If not it has been a lost opportunity. Coaches of the calabire of Donie should be taking sessions with the u21 and minor squads also. Must say from the ROS replay on our execution of the basic skills – foot and handpassing, tackling etc- was the best I have ever seen from a Mayo team.

  43. After 6 years I wonder what more can he bring? Maybe a new visionary is needed. Regina saying someone said doesnt make it gospel…was it McEntee maybe we’ll never know?
    I think as a county the biggest lose was when cian o neill was snapped up by kildare and I often wonder what could have been had he stayed. He was snapped up pretty promptly and maybe we could have done more to keep him

  44. Buckley arrived in 2013 so he’s here 4 years. If you look back on some of the games from 2012/2013 I think it’s quite clear how much each player has improved different aspects of their game. E.g. Leeroy has become the best man-marker in the country, our forward movement and general attacking play has improved massively. Buckley has no doubt contributed to some of that so I wouldn’t go changing him!

  45. Sorry to hear the news about the death of Joe Corcoran. He was one of the great forwards with skill to burn. He was Mayos highest scorer until Conor Mortimer overtook his record. This was at a time when there were fewer games, shorter playing times and different standards with regard to pitches and indeed the football itself.
    I also remember him bursting the shoulder of the famous Red Collier of Meath (the Red was one of the toughest hardest gents ever to put on a pair of boots).
    And he got badly treated by officialdom but sin scéal eile.

  46. @wide ball apologies he’s going into his sixth year after doing 5 years-13 14 15 16 and 17 seasons

  47. Can’t for the life of me see why we would let Donie Buckley go. It was one of the smartest moves we ever made to acquire his services. There’s give and take too in that he winters in Florida, but that in itself is a plus as he comes back brimful of new routines.

    Am hopeful all 3 will be there next year and feel Donie and Tony would have walked by now if they weren’t really interested.

    BTW the new Sligo manager Corey had an impressive CV. CONNAUGHT 2018 will be very competitive.

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