Mitchels hold their nerve to seal league title

GAA: Mayo SFL Finals

That winning feeling: Castlebar Mitchels celebrate after calming the Mayo GAA SFL Division One title. Photo: Mayo GAA

That winning feeling: Castlebar Mitchels celebrate after calming the Mayo GAA SFL Division One title. Photo: Mayo GAA

It might not have had as much on the line as their meeting in the Mayo GAA Senior Football Championship semi-final last year, but Castlebar Mitchels and Westport gave the culminating game of the Mayo GAA Senior Football League the ending the competition deserved last Saturday evening in Hastings Insurance MacHale Park.

This time it was the Mitchels who took the garlands and with it the league title for a second year in a row after the end of a pulsating encounter that went all the way to fading embers of extra time to decide a winner.

At half time it looked like there was only going to be one winner as an impressive showing from the Mitchels had Barry Moran and Neil Lydon’s men leading deservedly by five points on a score of 0-11 to 0-6, outscoring Westport 0-7 to 0-2 in the second quarter of the game - where Ethan Gibbons was to the fore hitting three impressive points and Paddy Durcan chipped in with two.

Westport did narrow the gap back to three points early in the second half thanks to early scores from Alan Kennedy and Killian Kilkelly - but as quick as they had got Castlebar within their range, Mitchels were six clear again when Ultan O’Reilly rifled the ball to the back of the net after good work by Mark Cunnnigham and Ethan Gibbons in the build up.

Westport showed the steel that saw them become championship winners last term from then on to the end of normal time, when they outscored the county town men 0-8 to 0-2 to send the game to extra time. Colm Moran who was introduced off the bench by Westport early in the second half played a leading role in that scoring surge, kicking three outstanding points in a four minute burst from the 41st to 45th to level the game up after scores from Kennedy, Mark Moran and Kilkelly had brought the distance between the teams back to just three and set up a thrilling conclusion.

Mitchels are made of tough stuff themselves and they also showed they had plenty of fight in them and two points on the spin from Anthony O’Boyle and Bob Tuohy to go a brace of points clear as the game inched towards the end of normal time.

Westport sub Conor McGraynor looked like he was going to steal another late, late winner for Westport when he thundered a shot goalwards from close range - but Mitchels goalkeeper Peter Basquille pulled off a top drawer save to push the ball over the bar and leave just one between the teams. There was still time for Westport to force the game level and that’s exactly what they did when they held onto possession until the right shooting chance arrived and Luke Tunney held his nerve to send the game into extra time.

Extra time looked to be going Westport’s way and with two minutes to go, they led 0-21 1-15 and seemed to be on course to claim the title, but Mitchels had other ideas - a defensive slip up saw the ball fall into the path of Bob Tuohy and he drove the ball to the back of Paddy O’Malley’s net to draw the game level once more and just as it looked like penalties was going to be needed to decide the outcome, Steven Keane tempted Tunny into making a tackle and referee Liam Deviancy had no hesitation in blowing for a free, up stepped Gibbons who kept his cool and slotted it over the bar to seal a memorable win for Mitchels.

O’Donoghue delivers for Belmullet

Ryan O’Donoghue was the main man in the Mayo GAA SFL Division Two final between Belmullet and Bohola Moy Davitts last Sunday afternoon in Crossmolina.

The Mayo star proved to be the difference between the two sides finishing up with 2-5 to his name and last 2-3 of his side's total of 3-10 all came from his boot when the game was in the melting point.

While they will be disappointed to have lost this one the Moysiders can take plenty from it as they head into the intermediate championship, having pushed the beaten senior championship finalists from 2021 all the way in this game only losing by a single point.

Brian Heneghan was the main man on the scoreboard for Bohola Moy Davitts finishing the day with 1-5 and leading the charge all day alongside Cian McHale who scored six points, five from frees. Belmullet led 1-5 to 0-7 at the break with their goal coming just before the ten minute mark when Anthony Barrett palmed home from close range.

The second half remained a nip and tuck affair despite O’Donoghue getting his sides second goal after finding a pocket of space between defence and goalkeeper where he was picked out and fired the ball home. Moy Davitts kept coming back and scores from Heneghan and Liam Byrne saw them pull level, before O’Donoghue got in for his third goal and another point looked to be sending the title to land of the salty sea air - but Henaghan and co had other plans and he managed to his sides solitary goal and a brace of points from McHale had the game levelled up in injury time and extra time loomed. But there was one last twist in the tale when Ronan Murray was fouled and O’Donoghue held his nerve to put the ball between the posts win the game for his side.

Carr drives Ardagh to glory

Another Mayo stalwart was the star of the show in the Mayo GAA SFL Division Three final where Ardagh saw off Ardnaree in Ballina last Saturday evening. James Carr hit 2-4 of Ardagh’s total in their 2-7 to 0-7 win over Ardnaree, with Lee Traynor chipping in with two points and Kevin Moran the other score for the victor on the day. Other top performers for winners were Stephen Rochford, Enda O’Hora and Brendan Carr.

Carr had both of his goals scored before the half time whistle where they led 2-3 to 0-4 at the turn around. Ardnaree battled valiantly with John Timlin hitting five points for the his side, but the concession of the two first half goals proved to much for them to get over.

Tubber claim Division Four title

Ballintubber B claimed the the Mayo GAA SFL Division Four title thanks to a strong first half performance despite the best efforts of Northern Gaels to reel them in during the second half. The west Mayo men led on a score of 3-5 to 0-1 at half time with the goals forming from Dean Loftus, Aaron Lally and Jamsie Finnerty with Cathal Boland getting Northern Gaels solitary score in the opening 30 minutes. However things changed dramatically in the second half when the North Mayo outfit outscored their conquerors 1-8 to 0-2, with Michael Lynott getting their goal and Tommy Clarke converting four frees - but the half time deficit was just too much for them to bridge down the home straight.

In the Division Five final Aghamore B saw off Garrymore B by a two points on a score of 1-9 to 0-10 to claim that title.

 

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