It was always going to be a tough ask for Aghamore to turn over the 2013 champions in this game, they needed to keep things tight and tidy at the back and try and build up a lead they could hold on to going down the home stretch and hope that it would have triggered some doubts in the Mitchels minds.
And for the first ten minutes of the game the plan was working perfectly, they were keeping things tight at the back and were more than holding their own elsewhere not he field and were leading 0-3 to 0-0 thanks to points from Conor Lyons, Fergal Boland and James Lyons. But then things fell apart for them. Richie Feeney and Barry Moran combined to set up Danny Kirby who finished the ball to the net and Mitchels were back level with a single score. Four minutes later Neil Douglas got the county town mens noses in front for the first time and then Aidan Walsh knocked over a free and Castlebar were two to the good. Just after the midway point that gap became five when Richie Feeney intercepted a short kick-out from Niall Walsh and he burried it in the back of the net and that was that. Aghamore had to come out and play and against a side like Castlebar there was only ever going to be one winner, despite the best efforts of the valiant east Mayo men. Walsh tacked on another point from a free before the break and his side went in leading 2-3 to 0-4 at the break. Alan Freeman hit the fourth point for his side five minutes before the turn around and he also had a great goal chance right before the short whistle but he was closed down well by Rory Byrne in the Mitchels goal and a gaggle of defenders
The second half was more of the same and worse for Aghamore, Castlebar’s Shane Hopkins who put in a very impressive display kicked a few early points to go with others from sub Cian Costello, Donie Newcombe and Neil Lydon to stretch out the gap. With 43 minutes gone on the clock, Aghamore did get a glimmer of hope when Robert Lyons found the back of the net to close the gap to six points and quick response free from Alan Freeman had it back to five shortly afterwards. But that was as good as it got for Aghamore with Mitchels really cutting loose in the closing quarter with Hopkins, Paddy Durcan and James Durcan all finding the back of the net as the game wound down to it’s conclusion. Conceding five goals was harsh on an Agahmore side who never gave up, but once Mitchels had their tails up and they smelt blood they went for it. Bigger and tougher tests will await Castlebar in the coming weeks, but as for this game it was a case of a job well done.
Castlebar Mitchels: S Hopkins (1-3 ), P Durcan (1-2 ), R Feeney (1-0 ), D Kirby (1-0 ), J Durcan (1-0 ), A Walsh (0-3, 3f ), C Costello (0-2 ), N Lydon (0-1 ), D Newcombe (0-1 ), N Douglas (0-1 )
Aghamore: R Lyons (1-0 ), A Freeman (0-3, 3f ), C Lyons (0-1 ), F Boland (0-1 ), J Lyons (0-1 ), J Kilkenny (0-1 )
Castlebar Mitchels: R Byrne; S Conlon, R O’Malley, D Newcombe; P Durcan; E O’Reilly, G McDonagh; A Walsh, B Moran; S Hopkins, N Lydon, N Douglas; D Stenson, R Feeney, D Kirby. Subs: F Durkin for D Kirby (BC ), C Costello for D Stenson, T Cunniffe for S Conlon, J Durcan for N Lydon, R Burke for G McDonagh, S Keane for R Feeney.
Aghamore: N Walsh; C Harrision, D Kenny, J Tighe; C Lyons, T Forde, B Harrision; K Feeney, A Freeman; F Boland, R Lyons, D Duffy; C Caulfiled, J Lyons, P Finnigan. Subs: C Freeman for P Finnegan, J Kilkenny for J Tighe, K Cassidy for C Caulfield, I Carty for C Lyons.
Ref: E McAndrew (Claremorris )