The future is bright for Castlebar Mitchels and it could be very bright going on the performance of their minors in MacHale Park on Sunday lunchtime.
They took the game to Ballina Stephenites from the get-go and didn’t keep going right until the final whistle long after the game had been put to bed.
Mitchels picked up their 19th minor championship title with a performance of free flowing football, that was backboned by a ferocious hard work from defence to attack.
The county town men were three points to the good inside the opening five minutes with Mark Cunningham, Paddy Heneghan and Eoghan Hughes all raising the white flag - before Ballina got their first day of the afternoon through a Niall Feeney point.
The north Mayo men were the first side to hit the back of the net on a day that saw eight goals scored and seven of them in the first half.
Same Callinan hooked the ball home from close range on eight minutes to put Ballina into the lead for the only time in the game.
Mitchels went straight down he field and lashed home their own goal through the lightning quick Paul Walsh after a flowing move involving Heneghan and Mark Cunningham.
Thomas Leonard pointed for Balina to cut the gap back to a single point, but quickly after that score Heneghan pointed and just before the water break was fouled on his way to goal and a penalty was awarded.
Eoghan Hughes stepped up and drove his effort low to the right - Joseph O’Malley got down with a strong arm to push the ball away, unfortunately for him the rest of his defence weren’t as quick and Hughes collected the rebound and fired it home for goal number two.
The second quarter of the game was all Mitchels who reeled off three goals in quick succession with Mark Cunningham grabbing two and Hughes slotting home his second, Ballina did get a second goal of the day just before the break when Dylan Thornton palmed it home - but his side went in trailing on a score of 5-6 to 2-3 at the turnaround.
Ballina needed to get a good start to the second half to get the game going for them - but it wasn’t to be as Mitchels kept their foot to the floor with Heneghan, James Cunningham, Donnacha McHugh, Eoghan Hughes and Mark Cunnigham all slotting over points before the second water break with just a solitary score from Daniel Winters coming in response.
It was all about seeing out the final 15 minutes for Mitchels and they did that at their ease with a late, late goal from Niall Feeney for Ballina coming right at the death.
It was top class team performance from the county town men and they have a number of players who look like they will be ready to step up to the senior ranks in the coming years.
Castlebar Mitchels: E Hughes (2-3 ), M Cunningham (2-2 ),P Walsh (1-1 ), P Heneghan (0-4 ), D McHugh (0-1 ), T Waldron (0-1 ), J Cunningham (0-1, 1 45 )
Ballina Stephenites: N Feeney (1-2 ), S Calinan (1-0 ), N Treacy (1-0 ), F Irwin (0-1 ), T Leonard (0-1 ), D Winters (0-1 )
Castlebar Mitchels: P Basquille; E Murphy, J Tuohy, M Waldron; T Waldron, J Cunningham, T Fahy; B Touhy, D McHugh; E Hughes, J Kennedy, P Walsh; C Lavelle, P Heneaghan, M Cunningham. Subs: S Morahan, D Maher, J Balaski, D Grealis, O Cresham
Ballina Stephenites: J O’Mahony; O Farell, M McHale, A McCann; H West, L Golden, D Thornton; F Irwin, C Boland; T Leonard, S Calinan, F Gill; D Winters, N Feeney, R Morrin. Subs: M Barrett, D Murray, D Feeney, N Tracey, L Holmes