The Castlebar Mitchels panel before the 2021 All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Club Football Championship Final match between Castlebar Mitchels, Mayo and St Sylvester's, Dublin at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe, Galway. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Mitchels fall just short in All-Ireland final heartbreak

THEY left it all on the field at Duggan Park today, but Castlebar Mitchels were unable to claim a maiden All-Ireland title as St. Sylvester’s of Dublin saw off their brave challenge to win the All-Ireland intermediate club championship on a 1-6 to 0-7 scoreline.

It was a nightmare start for Mitchels as Kate Sullivan won the ball immediately after the throw-in and ran down the field to rattle the net inside the opening 20 seconds.

Mitchels, playing against a strong breeze, struggled to get inside the Sylvester 45’ metre line while Nicole Owens and Sinead Aherne (two frees) put the Malahide-based side 1-3 to 0-0 up after 20 minutes.

It would be Sylvester’s last score of the half as the Mayo and Connaught champions eventually found their feet and finished the half the better side despite playing into the wind. Gráinne Flynn got Mitchels up and running with a fine effort before she tagged on a free after Kathryn Sullivan’s point to make it a three-point game at the break, 1-3 to 0-3.

Mitchels’s Laura Brody and Sylvester’s Sinead Aherne exchanged points early in the second half, but Mitchels would set up a tense final quarter as two efforts from Niamh Hughes (one a free) made it one-point game before the second water break.

Gráinne Flynn drew Mitchels level in the 50th minute, but Sylvester’s drew on all their experience in the final ten minutes to see the game out, with points from Aherne and Niamh Harney securing a first All-Ireland title for Sylvester’s.

A painful defeat for Mitchels, but this team can hold their heads high following a spectacular year.

Castlebar Mitchels: F. McLoughlin; K. Moore, A. Brody, A. Towey; T. Flynn, O. Conlon, D. Caldwell; L. McManamon, K. Sullivan (0-1); G. Flynn (0-3, 2f), A. Tuohy, E. Lyons; N. Hughes (0-2, 1f), L. Brody (0-1), S. Conlon

Subs: S. Prendergast, M. McDonald.

St. Sylvester’s: S. Brennan; C. Fitzpatrick, K. White, L. Harrold; L. Murphy, D. Lawless, E. Lynch; N. Owens (0-1), G. Twomey; K. Sullivan (1-0), E. Sullivan, N. Harney (0-1); S. McGlynn, S. Aherne (0-4, 3f), L. Ryan.

Subs: G. McGinty, K. Slattery.

Ref: S. Curley (Galway).

*You can read our full report and reaction in Tuesday’s print edition.