Castlebar Mitchels had to battle all the way in today’s county senior football championship decider against Ballintubber at MacHale Park. But battle they did, finally edging home by two points on a 0-15 to 0-13 scoreline.
I must admit I fancied Ballintubber – who’d beaten Mitchels in each of their three previous final clashes in recent years – to win today and when they led by three points shortly after half-time they looked well set to do it. Castlebar are champions for a reason, though, and they dug deep to level the game up and then, with Cillian O’Connor gone on two yellows (for the second time this month), to make the decisive late push for victory.
Today’s win completes a three-in-a-row of Moclair Cup win for Mitchels. It’s the club’s 30th senior county title – they’re now starting to close in with intent on Ballina’s haul of 36 – and it’s the first time they’ve won three on the spin since the glory days of the Fifties when they were unbeaten for five years within the county, between 1950 and 1954.
It’s also the first Moclair Cup three-in-a-row since Garrymore completed the same feat back in 1976. I’m not even sure the trophy was called that back then.
Earlier in the day at MacHale Park Kiltimagh and Bohola Moy Davitts played out a draw in the Intermediate decider. Kiltimagh looked to be on their way to victory – and, with it, senior status for next year – when they led by two goals. A determined fightback by Moy Davitts, however, turned the contest on its head and in the end it took a superb late equaliser by Kiltimagh’s Tomas Keegan to claim a second bite at the cherry.
It ended 1-14 to 2-11 and the replay has since been confirmed for next Saturday evening under the lights at MacHale Park, where throw-in is set for 7.30pm.
Yesterday Ballinrobe lost their battle to retain senior status for 2018 when they were well beaten in the SFC relegation final by Davitts. The final score in that one was 3-13 to 1-6.
The main attraction yesterday was, however, the senior hurling decider featuring yet another derby encounter between Ballyhaunis and Tooreen. The townie lads were chasing a four-in-a-row victory in this one, played in wet and very windy conditions at Adrian Freeman Park in Tooreen, but it was the home side – aided in no small part by two Fergal Boland goals – who claimed the TJ Tyrell Cup on this occasion. They won it by 2-10 to 0-6.
I wasn’t at any of these games and as I was at an underage final involving one of my daughters this afternoon I wasn’t able to avail of the excellent Mayo GAA TV service to follow the action from MacHale Park today either. Colm Gannon of the Mayo Advertiser was, however, and his report on the SFC final is here, his report on the IFC final is here and his take on yesterday’s SHC decider is here.