But population size and success in the GAA aren’t easy bedfellows.
Last year, on their quest to make it to intermediate level, they were pipped in the Avondhu JAFC final by Ballyclough. Yesterday they proved too strong for a gallant Buttevant side at Killavullen.
The opening half was close, with the winners helped by two late frees holding a four-point interval lead. On the restart Buttevant were expected to mount a serious challenge but it never really materialised as an experienced Mitchelstown outfit dominated the third quarter.
Buttevant in their first ever final gradually found their feet but their final pass often went astray with the Mitchelstown backline clearing their lines well with Pat Molloy, Eoin Burke and man of the match Stephen Fox commanding figures.
A period of sustained pressure saw Shane Beston and James Sheehan points move Mitchelstown into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the 18th minute. Buttevant stayed firmly in the hunt when Tadgh O’Sullivan kicked over from long range. In the run up to the break Shane Cahill was effective in the full-forward line as the Buttevant backs were forced to concede a number of frees punished by James Sheehan and Michael Walsh to take a 0-6 to 0-2 half-time lead.
For the second half Buttevant, with Aidan O’Connor, Tadgh Healy, Sean Madigan and Tadgh O’Sullivan to the fore, were quick to get proceedings underway when Paul Mannix pointed an early free. However, they were unable to narrow the deficit further as Mitchelstown dictated matters. They carried the ball to great effect out of defence. Up front, Shane Beston, Shane Cahill, James Sheehan and Michael Walsh were heavily involved in a lot of their side’s movement and entering the midway stage they moved well ahead, 0-12 to 0-4.
Sean Madigan replied with three more points but there was no denying Mitchelstown their merited victory with Cahill (two) and Walsh reeling off late points before the final whistle.
Scorers for Mitchelstown: M Walsh (0-5, 3fs, 1 45), S Beston, S Cahill 0-3 each, J Sheehan (0-3, 0-2f), A O’Brien 0-1.
Scorers for Buttevant: P Mannix (frees), S Madigan (0-2f) (0-3 each), T O’Sullivan 0-1.
MITCHELSTOWN: L Hanna; S Coughlan, S Fox, D Lynch; E Burke, P Molloy, G Carroll; D Dineen, L O’Flynn; M Walsh, P Donegan, J Cott; J Sheehan, S Cahill, S Beston.
Subs: A O’Brien for P Donegan, F Herlihy for J Cott, P Conroy for J Sheehan, J Finn for E Burke.
BUTTEVANT: J Ellard; A O’Sullivan, A O’Connor, S O’Flynn; S Madigan, M Broe, JD Murphy; T Healy, A O’Neill; D O’Keeffe, T O’Sullivan, K Lawless; P Mannix, K O’Keeffe, D O’Connell.
Subs: J O’Keeffe for K Lawless, B Jones for M Broe, B Kelleher for A O’Neill, W Fitzgibbon for D O’Keeffe, G Stack for K O’Keeffe.
Referee: Eoin Walsh (Dromina).