The wait for Kilmaine to claim their first county adult championship title since they last won the Pete McDonnell Cup back in 1992 goes on for another year.
The south Mayo men were warm favourites heading into Saturday night’s junior final after putting in an impressive run over the five previous outings in the championship this year.
Their chances were also given a major boost the weekend before with Castlebar Mitchels first team dragooned Barry Moran into their services as they battled to stay in contention in the senior championship.
But it was not to be for Kilimaine who lost another county final - this time to a ruthlessly efficient Castlebar Mitchels side who claimed their fourth junior title and second in five years with hard working and efficient performance in MacHale Park.
Mitchels lit the touch paper early and were 0-7 to 0-1 up after 20 minutes and had Kilmaine at sixes and sevens all over the field.
Callum Kyne got things going with a sweet effort after good work by Adrian Roche, Conor Stenson then drilled over a fine score and then Kyne landed his second after good build up play by the aforementioned Stenson.
Kilimaine’s response came from a Michael Hession point level up the first score of the day but from then on for the next 20 minutes they missed a number of good chances and failed to make another dent in the scoreboard.
From the 15th to 20th minute Mark Towey had one of those game winning runs where he kicked three points on the spin each one better than the last. That flurry of scores had Mitchels 0-7 to 0-1 up and looking like they wouldn’t be caught.
But Kilmaine didn’t come all this way to give up with out a fight and they punched their way back into contention - Hession slotted over a free on 21 minute mark, he followed that up with a neat score from play and that was quickly followed by a Oisin Mullin effort.
Joe Maloney raised his sides fifth point on 29 minutes and then Mullin tagged on another to leave just one between the teams and the game really in the melting pot and got the healthy Kilmaine crowd in attendance on their feet.
But the last say on the half was left to Mitchels captain Eamon Tiernan who slotted over a point from a free to stem the Kilmaine surge and send his team in leading by to at the break.
The second half burst into life and it looked like Kilmaine were going to carry on their form of the closing ten minutes of the first half and potentially push on to victory.
Mullin drove hard and pointed right from the throw-in then Hession kicked a free one the game was all square and their to be won.
Mitchels responded strongly to the challenge and Tiernan arced one over from play then Conor Stenson drove a point from downtown, Colin Hughes got one back for Kilmaine to have the bare minimum between the teams at the three quarter mark.
Barry Redmond got in on the scoring act with long range pointed free from the Mitchels custodian, Adam Barrett pointed a free in response to leave the south Mayo men trailing 0-11 to 0-10 with just over ten minutes left as the game slipped into the championship minutes.
When it came to the closing round, Mitchels showed their greater experience and Tiernan kicked three frees from points to keep Kilimaine at arms length with all that they could muster not the scoreboard in response was a second Barrett pointed free - despite having a number of chances to pull themselves closer.
It will be hard one for Kilmaine to take, but for Mitchels their second team have bounced straight back up to the intermediate ranks for next season after dropping out of it last term. But the road is still not over for Kilimane as they enter the Connacht championship as Mayo’s representatives and will take on Glenamaddy in the semi-final on November 2 in a Galway venue.
Castlebar Mitchels: Eamon Tiernan (0-5, 4f ), Mark Towey (0-3 ), Conor Stenson (0-2 ), Callum Kyne (0-2 ), Luke Ruddy (0-1 )
Kilmaine: Michael Hession (0-4, 2f ), Oisin Mulin (0-3 ), Adam Barrett (0-2, 2f ), Joe Maloney (0-1 ), Colin Hughes (0-1 )
Castlebar: Barry Redmond; James Gallagher, Richard Sweeney, Padraig Waldron; Adrian Roche, Rory O’Grady, Rory Burke; Matthew McCormick, Ray Loughrean; Luke Ruddy, Conor Stenson, Mark Towey; Callum Kyne, Eamon Tiernan, James Byrne. Subs: David Joyce for Matthew McCormick, Conor Murray for Rory Burke.
Kilmaine: Adam Keady; Matthew Mullin, David Hughes, Padraig McDonagh; Tomas Fahy, Gearoid O’Dea, Oisin Mullin; Matthew Keady, Pat Kelly; Ernan Flannery, Adam Barrett, Gavin Burke; Michael Hession, Joe Maloney, Cathal Murphy. Subs: Jarlath McDonagh for Matthew Mullin, Colin Hughes for Ernan Flannery, Thomas McDonagh for Gavin Burke, Brian Maloney for McDonagh (BC ), Jarlath Mullin for Cathal Murphy.
Ref: Frank Flynn