Castlebar Mitchels motor on after tough test from tenacious Mohill

Connacht Club SFC quarter-final: Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) 0-16 - Mohill (Leitrim) 0-11 - Seven points without reply in the final quarter propelled Mayo champions Castlebar Mitchels into a provincial semi-final against Sligo’s Tourlestrane next weekend.

Neil Douglas, Castlebar Mitchels, under pressure from Mohill's Alan McLoughlin. Pictures: Brendan Moran

Seven points without reply in the final quarter propelled Mayo champions Castlebar Mitchels into a provincial semi-final against Sligo’s Tourlestrane next weekend.

But Leitrim representatives Mohill made Mitchels sweat for 45 minutes of this absorbing Connacht club quarter-final at MacHale Park, Castlebar on Saturday.

The sides were level (0-9 apiece) swinging into the home straight before Castlebar Mitchels found the extra gears and kicked on to put the game to bed.

Man of the match Neil Douglas came alive and landed three points from play to give Mitchels some momentum with Cian Costello (2), Ger McDonagh and Aidan Walsh also on target.

This blitz left the hot favourites ahead by seven points before Mohill picked off a couple of late consolation scores from ace marksman, Keith Beirne (two frees).

Castlebar left plenty of room for improvement ahead of Sunday’s semi-final as, despite having plenty of possession, they were unable to hit too many high notes.

However, the hosts did enough to lead at half-time by 0-7 to 0-5 thanks to two frees from David Stenson and a long-range effort from Eoghan O’Reilly.

Mohill, who were employing an effective blanket defence, engineered scores in that opening period from Keith Beirne (3, two frees), Ronan Kennedy and Keith Keegan. Castlebar looked like they might pull away after the restart when quickfire points from Mayo duo Barry Moran and Danny Kirby doubled their advantage by the 36th minute. But Mohill stuck rigidly to their counter-attacking game-plan and reeled off scores from Keith Beirne (two frees), Oisin Madden, and Ronan Kennedy to leave the sides deadlocked again.

At that stage Castlebar needed somebody to take the initiative and, just like in the recent Mayo SFC Final, full-back Ger McDonagh stepped forward to land an inspirational point that settled the nerves. From there to the finish there was only going to be one winner, and Mitchels will hope to make home advantage count again on Sunday when Tourlestrane visit Castlebar.

CASTLEBAR MITCHELS:

R Byrne; N McCarney, G McDonagh (0-1), D Newcombe; P Durcan, E O’Reilly (0-1), R O’Malley (0-1); A Walsh (0-1), B Moran (0-2); C Costello (0-3), D Kirby (0-1), J Durcan; D Stenson (0-3, 3fs), N Douglas (0-3), C Kyne.

Subs:

S Irwin for McCarney (51), A O’Boyle for Walsh (56mins), M Towey for O’Malley (58), M McCormack for Moran (61).

MOHILL:

P Tighe; S McGowan, R Gallagher, J Mitchell; D Gordon, C Canning, C Kennedy; D McLoughlin, S Quinn; D Beck, O Madden (0-1), K Keegan (0-1); R Kennedy (0-2), K Beirne (0-7, 6fs), A McLoughlin.

Sub:

D Mitchell for D Gordon (inj. 28), R Gordon for Beck (53), E Harkin for Madden (57).

Referee:

Marty Duffy (Sligo)


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