Mitchels look to take first steps to winning back provincial crown

Connacht calling: Danny Kirby and Castlebar Mitchels will be looking to book their place in the Connacht semifinal tomorrow. Photo: Sportsfile

Connacht calling: Danny Kirby and Castlebar Mitchels will be looking to book their place in the Connacht semifinal tomorrow. Photo: Sportsfile

There has been little time for rest for Castlebar Mitchels since the club scene swung back into action in recent weeks, they had last weekend off after their win over Ballintubber in the county final - but come tomorrow afternoon it is back to business as they welcome Leitrim champions Mohill to MacHale Park with a place in the semi-final of the Connacht championship up for grabs.

Declan O'Reilly and Declan Shaw's men know what it takes to keep up the pace after a county final victory and claiming provincial honours, and they will be keyed up to have a right good crack at it again this year - as they look for their fifth provincial title to follow on from successes in 1969, 1993, and most recently in 2013 and 2015.

While Mitchels will not be taking anything for granted it is very hard to look past the county town men getting over the Leitrim champions, they are off the back of three Mayo senior titles in a row, have been to two All Ireland finals in the past four years, have a team packed full of talent, and a self belief, and workrate that has driven them to success after success in recent years.

That being said this is a different Mitchels' team in many ways from the one that went to two All Ireland finals in three years, Richie and Alan Feeney are no longer there, or Tom Cunniffe, Neil Lydon, and Fergal Durcan among others, but Mitchels have regenerated with Johnny Maughan and David Stenson who have grown into real quality players over the summer and become key men in this team.

Of course there is still plenty of top class experience in the team with Paddy Durcan, Barry Moran, Neil Dougals, Ger McDonagh, Donie Newcombe, and Danny Kirby all top class players at club level and well able to mix it with the best at inter-county too as we have seen in recent years.

As for the county town sides opponents they claimed their seventh Leitrim senior title in early October thanks to a 0-14 to 0-11 win over Glencar/Manorhamilton. Mohill trailed by two points at the break in that game, but put in a big second half showing to condemn their opponents to their third successive defeat in the Leitrim final. All six of Mohill's starting forwards scored in that win with with full forward Kevin Beirne kicking seven points and corner forward Ronan Kennedy chipping in with three points - while the other four starting attackers all raised the white flag once each in their win.

All that being said, it is very hard to look past Castlebar Mitchels booking their place in the semifinal - where the Sligo champions Tourlestrane will be waiting for them in a few weeks' time.

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