Mitchels eyeing return to HQ

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Photo: RTÉ

Two years on from their last run all the way to Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day, Castlebar Mitchels are once again on the march. Tomorrow evening up in Breffni Park they square off against Crossmaglen Rangers of Armagh for a place in this year’s All-Ireland senior club championship final.

This semi-final tie throws in at the Cavan venue at 6.15pm tomorrow. For those who can’t make it to the match, it’s being shown live on TG4 with full commentary also being provided on the radio by Midwest.

I haven’t yet fully ruled out making a late dash up the M3 tomorrow to get to the game but my extensive mileage last weekend coupled with a busy enough day tomorrow and hopes for an early morning cycle on Sunday mean I’m far more likely to be catching this one on the bosca.

The bookies have Crossmaglen as the narrow 5/6 favourites tomorrow evening, with Mitchels on offer at 11/8. Those odds notwithstanding, however, I have to say I fancy the Moclair Cup holders strongly in this one: the team is sprinkled with experience, it has a number of county players in its ranks and the group has a cussed kind of battle-hardened air about them at this stage. The Armagh lads do, of course, represent the toughest of challenges but I doubt they’ll be looking on Castlebar as some kind of easy prey.

Mitchels by three or four, I reckon. Here’s hoping they do the business tomorrow evening – the best of luck to them in their endeavours.

39 thoughts on “Mitchels eyeing return to HQ

  1. Best of luck to the Mitchels tomorrow. A massive test awaits against one of the toughest and most battle hardened teams around, but I’ve no doubt the lads will have their homework done and will have fully prepared for this dogfight.

  2. Hitting the road tomorrow with high hopes for another day out in March. .after reading piece on neil douglas during week I would love to see him have a cracker of a game..

  3. Two lads to watch for tomorrow are Neil Douglas and Aidan Walsh. I think they are coming into their peak years and are fit and in form.

  4. Best of luck to Mitchel’s. They don’t come much tougher than Crossmaglen but if Mitchel’s hit form they should take it. It won’t be easy, I saw Cross in the Ulster final, mainly because I knew the winners would be Mitchel’s opponents. They were put to the pin of their collar but refused to go down. I don’t want to give hostages to fortune but Mirchel’s have a few trump cards in their pack which should get them over the line if everybody else measures up.

  5. Also looking forward to the match. Great chance in everyway for everyone.

    Has Ciaran (1) taken a vow of silence? Used to contrast his posting with mine. Maybe he has a ‘Nom de Plume’ or whatever you call it. Hope he is in good form.
    Ciaran 2

  6. Mitchels have a general strength from back to front with much experience overall and some knowing heads.They also have players who are evolving and what’s a better time than this for them.
    They ll be fighting for every ball and cherishing every score chance and I wish them all the best this afternoon!

  7. The most important thing castlebar do today is stay calm and whatever they do they can’t get involved in off the ball stuff cross are the supreme masters of the dark arts.be tough but stay within the rules,they’re a bit like Tyrone in that they will make things look worse than they are trying to get players sent off.
    Come on castlebar Mitchel’s

  8. About to head off.

    Home match, no won’t rant on about this any further.

    Mitchels may need a plan B, if the short passing game runs aground.

    Hon the Bar.

  9. It’s half time but I think Castlebar are suffering Mayo syndrome. Lacking confidence in the final third of the pitch – playing second fiddle again!! I hope they prove me wring in second half – come on now!!

  10. Oh yes they did….Greta fight and determination shown by Castlebar. Indicpline let cross down there in last quarter.

  11. Well done Castlebar! Dominated the 2nd half, ground out the win. Durcan showed his intercounty quality.

    The ref was pretty poor I thought. He was losing control by the end.

  12. Great win. What a performance from Patrick Durcan. 3 pts from play!!
    Danny Kirby did well. Barry had a good second half. Nice lift of pace with Cian Costelloe n Fergal Durcan from the bench. Neil Douglas battled hard.
    Great to see them using their heads to retain posession n see the game out.

  13. Great stuff, well done to castlebar. Won’t take no for an answer and hopefully more in a months time. I’d say “mayo syndrome” is failing to perform properly when the business end is in progress. How many finals have mayo teams and clubs lost? Start with last week and go back twenty years, staggering is one word for it.
    Though you would get the feeling that things are about to change for the better.

  14. I know Dave but this wasn’t a final, if anything Mayo teams are masters of semi final victories! The stats certainly don’t lie when it comes to finals. That’s unfortunately the reality.

  15. Mayo maze, I am just happy that our bucks could beat a tough team from the north. Rochford will have something new to chew on after he gets a few Mitchell’s lads in for training. We might see Keegan getting pushed out to midfield? Or even Higgins, anyway, it’s only going to strengthen Mayo for the league and summer, having such hardened fellas coming on board.

  16. Mayonaze I think he means the frustration of watching a Mayo team miss 14 yard frees and sloppy passing trying to Force it leaving Tom Cunliffe isolated 1 on 1 with Jamie Clarke etc. THAT WAS THE FIRST HALF. Second half coming out in true Mayo style and blowing the opposition away with sheer guts and skill and class. And then haning on at the finish and giving us all heart attacks. I don’t know how they won that match but hats off to Mitchels and looking forward to the final . Also looking forward to seeing the lads back in the Mayo fold later in the year.

  17. Very good indeed. Although they will rue it if they sleepwalk through the first half again

    the next day. And they can`t be relying as much on St. Patrick (Durkin) either.

  18. Great second half from Mitchels. Came out firing after a very flat first half and dug in for the win. Paddy Durcan has serious potential. We may need the Castlebar cavalry to rescue us in Division 1 after Patricks Day. High time an All Ireland title came west. Surely Mayo cant lost all 3 club finals in the same year. For all the anoraks out there here is the sobering stat. Since 1989 Mayo teams (club and county) have played in 37 All Ireland/ NFL finals excluding replays and only won 5 times. NFL- 2001, U-21- 2006, Minor-2013, Crossmolina- 2001, Ballina- 2005 are our only victories. Lets hope Mitchels are added to that list next month.

  19. Don’t demean this great victory with the usual Mayo syndrome stereotype. This Castlebar team deserves better. Mayo teams continue to prove their quality and yet another group of players get to play in Croke Park on All Ireland Final day. Best of luck to Barry Danny Tom Patrick Neil and the others. You did Mayo proud today

  20. Delighted that Castlebar showed up in second half. They will draw a lot of confidence from today as Cross brought a huge physical edge to the game and the leaders of Castlebar stood up and matched the intensity. Thought Tom Cunniffe brought all his experiences to bear on the match especially as he was marking Cross dangerman Jamie Clarke. The little guy in the corner also did well holding up the play and making a fee frees in the last quarter. Hopefully they now finish the job off on Paddys day!

  21. Now, lads and lassies. Today, I see a new star in the making. You can bring up size, etc, etc but young Costello was a revelation. He was a little dynamo, as they say, ” a pocket rocket”. The enthusiasm and fearlessness he displayed was a breath of fresh air.
    He was up against very tough defenders and his attitude was “fuck ye, stop me if ye can”.. He ducked under them, and weaved his way through two and three of them and to stop him, he had to be fouled.. Brilliant!!!

  22. Great stuff from Castlebar to pull that win out of the bag when getting well beaten all over the field 1st half. They didn’t fold however fought their way back into game and were much the better side second half. Barry Moran paddy Durcan outstanding two players that must start for Mayo this summer.

    I think Castlebar win now win the All Ireland as Ballyboden are not as strong as previous Dublin winners.

  23. One thing we do well in Mayo is attacking half backs, Paddy Durcan was a trailblazer tonight. No mean feat keeping Kernan quiet while putting 3 points on the board. Castlebar’s third quarter was a strong response to a slow start, Crossmaglen looked like they would run away with it at one stage. As others have said it’s very encouraging to have a Mayo team dig out a win against a tough northern team, Rochford will have been pleased tonight. Castlebar can beat Ballyboden but I think they will have to improve their kick out strategy, too many 50/50 balls were sent into midfield and the players seemed to constantly have to race towards the ball. Crossmaglen were quiet wasteful in the second half also. If Castlebar can get a better start than tonight and show the same second half spirit they will win it out.

  24. Joe Mc, Costello was impressive when he came on. How old is he? I’m not living in the county so not as up to speed with the club scene as many here but has he played intercounty underage? Putting on a devils advocate cap, if he’s really good, surely he’d be starting??

  25. Patrick Durcan fearless in the tackle yet again today as was Ger McDonagh who had a brilliant game – true leaders and warriors who stood up a fought to the death for their club. Danny Kirby’s chip up on the end line to regain possession while being double marked and fouled was sheer class in the first half. These lads never gave up and it was great to see them rewarded for their heroic efforts this evening. Best of luck to them in the final. I’m sure the battling qualities of so many of these lads were not lost on Stevie Rochford & Tony McEntee today either.

  26. Mayonaze, I haven’t a clue about him. he looks very young to me. The sheer enthusiasm and drive, coupled with the fearlessness he displayed, to me anyway, was a joy to watch. You cannot teach the drive that he has, like a terrier.. I would bet there were, and are, many footballers who have slipped through the net in mayo. They were never given a real chance to develop, look at Diarmuid O’Connor, he has improved 100% from his beginnings..

  27. I was helping to try and stop young Costelloe I think in 2010. Pretty sure he was minor that year and playing with Castlebar B. That would make him 24. He comes off the bench because he is smaller so he needs the game loosened up to have a bit of space.

  28. I dont think he will make the squad. He may have 20 years ago but its a game for well built players these days. But I think he plays a very valuable role for Castlebar. He’s very skillful, fast over first five yards and can change direction quickly.

  29. JP… You know what struck me was the problems his small, light frame gave to defenders. He even ducked under one of them. I feel he would have to be fouled, giving good opportunities for close in frees. Just a thought. 😉

  30. From experience I can tell you he is as tricky as a bag of ferrets. He’s very hard to bottle up as he is very quick footed and can turn so quick.
    I’m sure he’s probably even a bit quicker now.
    Useful to have such speed late in games.

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