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Mitchels make history with three in a row

Story by John Melvin

Sunday, 22nd October, 2017 7:17pm

Mitchels make history with three in a row

Castlebar captain Rory Byrne lifting the Moclair Cup. Photo: Sportsfile

CASTLEBAR joined the famous Garrymore team of the '70s to become the last team to land three county titles in a row after a two-point win over neighbours Ballintubber in a tough but absorbing senior final at Elverys MacHale Park, Castlebar.

Similar to the 2014 final, when they last met, this will not go down as a classic but it was tough, with both teams leaving it all on the pitch.

In the end, Mitchels hung tough and just about deserved to get over the winning line thanks to a late point from Ger McDonagh and an injury-time free from David Stenson who finished a good day’s work with 0-5.

But at one stage in the second half the champions of 2014 looked to be on course for victory when they kicked three points clear - 0-10 to 0-7 - thanks to a fine score from Jason Gibbons.

But Castlebar rattled off the next four points, Stenson from a free and from play, Barry Moran and McDonagh coming up with some big scores to go 0 -11 to 0-10 clear.

Cillian O’Connor nailed his only point from play to level it again but Danny Kirby and Eoghan O’Reilly fired Castlebar two ahead, Rory Byrne called into action to deny Diarmuid O’Connor a certain goal.

Alan Dillon, who took over the freetaking duties following the dismissal of Cillian O’Connor on a second yellow card, pared one back for Ballintubber before that Diarmuid O’Connor wonder point squared matters, but it was the Mitchels who toughed it out to land the spoils as team captain Rory Byrne goes into the history books as the last club captain to lift the Moclair Cup for the third year on the bounce.

Five points - all from frees - from the boot of Cillian O’Connor were crucial in giving Ballintubber a two-point interval lead - 0-9 to 0-7 - and the margin between the sides was never greater than two, Barry Moran landing two big scores in that half, but it was two late frees from Cillian O’Connor that pushed his side two clear at the break.

A black card on James Durcan coming up to the close of the half for a body-check on Cillian O’Connor was something the champions could have done without but when questions were asked of the champions they responded, none more so than big Barry Moran who rowed in with three big points.

Final score: Castlebar Mitchels 0-15, Ballintubber 0-13.

 

Castlebar Mitchels: R. Byrne, J. Maughan, G. McDonagh (0-2), D. Newcombe, R. O’Malley, P. Durcan, S. Irwin, D. Kirby (0-1), E. O’Reilly (0-1), J. Durcan (0-2), B. Moran (0-3), C. Costello, D. Stenson (0-5, 4f), N. Douglas (0-1), A. Walsh.

Sub used: C. Kyne. for J. Durcan (BC, 28) N. McCarney for Irwin (44).

Ballintubber: B. Walsh, G. Loftus, B. Murphy, M. Kelly, D. Clarke, M. Plunkett (0-1), D. Coleman (0-1), J. Gibbons (0-1), D. Geraghty, P. O’Connor, A. Plunkett (0-2), A. Dillon (0-1, 1f), D. O’Connor (0-1), C. O’Connor (0-6, 5f), S. O’Malley.

Subs used: S. Broderick for O Malley (40), J. Geraghty for Loftus (47).

Referee: D. Corcoran (Islandeady).

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