Having overcome Bohola Moy Davitts in a playoff five days previously, Kilmeena had created their own opportunity to challenge Castlebar Mitchells, for a place in the A-final. This would be Kilmeena’s biggest test of 2018, made no less challenging by having to contest this match at the home of Castlebar Mitchells (Pairc Josie Munnelly).
The match was fixed for 12 noon.
Weather conditions were excellent for this game of football – it was dry, sunny and pleasantly warm with little or no breeze.
The ball was thrown in 12.05pm and from the off, Kilmeena took the challenge to Castlebar Mitchells. Although the Mitchells’ lads always looked dangerous on the attack, the Kilmeena defence stood firm during this opening period, depriving the Castlebar attack of any easy scoring chances. Proof of the Kilmeena resistance was evident on the scoreboard - after 10 minutes of play, the men in black & white had three points to show (all from play), whilst Castlebar Mitchells had registered just 2 points (both from frees).
As the first half developed, the Mitchells lads were awarded a third free (converted) and on the 20 minute mark Castlebar Mitchells took the lead for the first time, with their first score from open play. During the final period of the first half, Castlebar Mitchells pressed on scoring three further points to Kilmeena’s one additional point, that from a converted free.
Half time score of 7 points to 4 in favour of the home side.
At just 3 points down by the small whistle, Kilmeena were in a decent position and but for some excellent shot-stopping by the Mitchells goalkeeper, Kilmeena should have been at least level at half time.
Castlebar Mitchells made one change for the second half; bringing in their influential midfielder, Paddy Heneghan (who also plays Mayo minor). This change became one of two turning points in the game; as it allowed Castlebar Mitchells to gain a stronger foothold in the midfield area throughout the second half, yielding 3 points from play in the first five minutes for the hosts. Kilmeena continued to work hard and were awarded a free which Ronan O’Donnell duly converted. Then came the most productive move of the day for the men in black & white – a diagonal ball from Ian Murphy to Cillian O’Grady, who turned and kicked a further diagonal ball into the square to the right man in the right place at the right time....... Chris McGlynn made no mistake; beating his man to obtain possession and bury the ball in the back of the Castlebar Mitchells’ net. Seven minutes of the second half were gone but Kilmeena were not and the scoreline stood at 1 – 5 to 10 points in favour of the home side.
However, in the following few minutes, all would change in favour of the men from Castlebar – a ball into the Kilmeena goalline area initially defended broke to a Mitchells man and a goal for Castlebar Mitchells. Within two minutes, the Mitchells were awarded a somewhat soft penalty which they duly converted and suddenly there was an eight point gap – too much for a tiring Kilmeena side to close, in the 15+ minutes that remained.
Kilmeena continued to plough on, scoring one additional point from the boot of Sean Prenty after a nice layoff from Ben Lennon (who came on in the second half). But that was as good as it got and Castlebar Mitchells added four more points by the final whistle.
Although Castlebar Mitchells were worthy winners on the day, the eleven point winning margin was somewhat flattering to the hosts, as Kilmeena spurned three separate goal scoring chances; any one or two of which if converted would have given a tighter winning margin for the hosts. Some great individual performances on the day but the Kilmeena defence must be commended for their trojan efforts at keeping the Mitchells men at bay for the vast majority of this contest.
This was a fantastic display by the men from Kilmeena whose courageous efforts have delivered a performance far beyond the player resources of a junior club, pitted against the vast player resources of a senior club (Castlebar Mitchells).
The panel present this evening comprised of the following:
Cathal Cawley, Harry Sheridan, Adam Sheridan, Tom Smythe, Oisin Grimley, Ronan O’Donnell, Chris McGlynn, Mikey Hastings, Kian Moore, Robbie Staunton, Jason McGynn, Ian Murphy, Chris McNally, Cillian O’Grady, Sean Prenty, Ben Lennon, Daniel O’Malley, Jack Walsh, Rory Nolan & Liam Moore.
Well done to the lads.
Next up West Mayo Championship.
Final Score: Kilmeena 1 - 6 2 - 14 Castlebar Mitchells