CASTLEBAR MITCHELS 0-15 BALLINTUBBER 0-13
By Mike Finnerty
History was made in today’s Mayo SFC Final as Castlebar Mitchels retained their title and claimed the Moclair Cup for the third season in a row.
Late points from full-back Ger McDonagh and a free from David Stenson were the match-winning scores, as Ballintubber felt the loss of Mayo captain Cillian O’Connor who was sent off in the 58th minute.
This latest success means that Mitchels become the first team to win three successive Mayo senior titles since the great Garrymore side of 1974-1976.
The achievement was made all the more impressive because it was also the first time that Castlebar had beaten their neighbours Ballintubber in a county senior final after finishing second best in three recent deciders.
With Cillian O’Connor in fine scoring form, landing five points from frees in the opening half, the challengers deservedly led at half-time by 0-9 to 0-7.
And when Jason Gibbons pushed Ballintubber three points up early in the second half, Castlebar looked to be up against it.
However, the champions showed their mettle and landed four points without reply in ten minutes from David Stenson (2), Barry Moran and Ger McDonagh to take the initiative.
Mitchels then kicked on to go two points up before O’Connor was sent to the line, and Ballintubber looked to be out of ideas.
But the Abbeysiders clawed their way back once again with scores from Alan Dillon (free) and Diarmuid O’Connor as injury-time loomed.
A replay looked a distinct possibility at that stage but Mitchels made the extra man count to land the decisive scores.
Castlebar Mitchels: R Byrne; J Maughan, G McDonagh (0-1), 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 (0-4, 3fs), N Douglas (0-1), A Walsh.
Subs used: C Kyne for J Durcan (black card, 29m); N McCarney for Irwin (50m); M Towey for Maughan (53m).
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 Dillon (0-1), D O’Connor (0-1); A Plunkett (0-2), C O’Connor (0-6, 5fs), S O’Malley.
Subs used: S Broderick for O’Malley (41m); J Geraghty for Loftus (45m).
Referee: D Corcoran (Islandeady)