Goals from Kirby and Douglas fire Mitchels into the final
IT was a case of gone in 90 seconds for Garrymore, who were chasing for most of this Mayo SFC semi-final replay after Castlebar Mitchels banged in two first-half goals in quick succession.
The first came on 12 minutes, clinically finished by Danny Kirby, and not long after that another defence-splitting move by Castlebar concluded with Kirby setting up Neil Douglas for their second goal, with Mitchels eventually winning on a scoreline of 2-14 to 0-12.
Those early goals shot Castlebar into a 2-4 to 0-1 lead - and that was playing into a strong wind - as Mitchels were clearly up for the physical battle that unfolded on a cold night at Elverys MacHale Park.
However, as those of us who saw Garrymore in the drawn game on Sunday could confirm, the south Mayo men don’t lie down and they battled back gamely, Cathal Slattery coming up with two great scores and Mark Tierney and Gary Golden also hitting the target.
But Mitchels were always able to respond, Kirby rowing in with two points to add to his goal and Barry Moran with a big score just on half-time to leave Garrymore chasing those two goals as they trailed 2-8 to 0-8.
In the end, Castlebar’s ability around the middle, where Danny Kirby and Barry Moran were strong, along with a huge defensive effort, saw them dominate large parts of the second half.
Each time Garrymore closed the gap - and they did battle so hard in that second half - Mitchels were always able to reply, good points from the superb David Stenson, Donie Newcombe and Paddy Durcan ensuring the gap was maintained and eventually stretched to eight.
It could have been more as Castlebar created at least two further goal chances but the final pass went astray.
However, the three-in-a-row seeking county champions will be more than pleased with their best display of the championship at the right time as they set up a repeat of the 2014 final against neighbours Ballintubber on Sunday.
Castlebar Mitchels: R. Byrne, J. Maughan, G. McDonagh, D. Newcombe (0-1), R. O’Malley, P. Durcan (0-1), S. Irwin, D. Kirby (1-3), A. Walsh, E. O’Reilly, J. Durcan, B. Moran (0-1), N. Douglas (1-2, 1f), C. Costello, D. Stenson (0-6, 2f).
Subs used: A. O’Boyle, N. McCarney, C. Kyne, M. Towey, C. Stenson.
Garrymore: B. Lynskey, J. King, J. Oates, P. Hession, T. Nally (0-1), K. Cunningham, M. Connolly, B. Cunningham, S. Nally, G. Golden (0-1), C. Crowe, C. Slattery (0-2), J. Killeen (0-5, 4f), M. Fallon, M. Tierney (0-3, 2f).
Sub used: D. Quinn.
Referee: R. Gurren (Aghamore).