Castlebar Mitchels 0-12
KNOCKMORE’S three-in-a-row Mayo SFC title aspirations ended at the quarter-final stage in Hastings Insurance MacHale Park on Sunday when a young Castlebar Mitchels deservedly won out, even if it was closer than they would have wished in the end.
The Mitchels will meet Westport in the semi-final.
Castlebar never trailed in this game but they were nearly caught at the end by the valiant reigning champs.
A lengthy final Knockmore attack culminated with an Aidan Orme shot at an equaliser but it trailed wide.
With it went Knockmore’s title dreams, and it is Castlebar Mitchels who made everyone stand up and take notice with a very assured display from such a relatively inexperienced
Sure, starters like Ger McDonagh, Donie Newcombe, Paddy Durcan and Rory Byrne all have four Mayo SFC titles, but quite a number of Barry Moran and Neil Lydon’s players have none.
It would be foolish to write them off changing that statistic in the coming weeks.
Mitchels controlled the game, defending in numbers and with great purpose.
They were clever and well coached in how they set up and broke frequently at speed.
Crucially, too, they had in Ethan Gibbons the game’s top marksman.
The young forward kicked seven points, five from play, and on a day when scoring chances were limited, each of those scores was precious.
Mitchels started well but Knockmore appeared to have settled when a Kevin McLoughlin intercept and point had the sides level at 0-3 each after 11 minutes.
But Mitchels would kick the next four points in the game’s key move.
Gibbons kicked four first half points, off both feet and the locals took in a 0-7 to 0-4 lead at the break.
Knockmore kept chipping away at that gap after the break but crucially Mitchels were always able to come up with a riposte at the other end.
Aidan Orme was Knockmore’s greatest threat as the likes of Peter Naughton and Darren McHale were kept on a tight leash.
Anthony O’Boyle kicked a great point from 45 metres on 51 minutes to put Mitchels 0-12 to 0-9 in front and they looked home and hosed.
But points from Orme and a Naughton free setup a grandstand finish.
Mitchels held on for a result that will bring them on hugely.
R Byrne (0-1, f); J Tuohy, G McDonagh, S Morahan; M Fahy, D Newcombe, D McHugh; P Durcan (0-1), A O’Boyle (0-1); U O’Reilly (0-1), P Heneghan, C Stenson; E Gibbons (0-7, 2fs), G Durcan (0-1), M Cunningham.
Subs used: B Tuohy for Stenson (47 mins); P Walsh for Heneghan (51 mins); N Douglas for Cunningham (54 mins); E Murphy for O’Boyle (59 mins).
C Reape; S Holmes, A Naughton, David McHale (0-1); A Timlin, K King, M Park; K McLoughlin (0-1), S McHale; P Ruttledge, Darren McHale, C Dempsey (0-2,1 mark); C Burke, A Orme (0-4), P Naughton (0-2,2fs).
Subs used: L Durkan for Park (h/t); K Ruttledge (0-1) for Burke (40 mins); N Armstrong for King (49 mins); C Flynn for P Ruttledge (54 mins).
Referee: J Glavey (Aghamore)