Breaffy 2-12 Castlebar Mitchels 2-11
This local derby went right down to the wire with Breaffy just holding off Castlebar Mitchels by the slenderest of margins to claim the points at home. Jim O'Shea's men hit 1-11 from play, scoring 1-6 in each half, with Mitchels putting a poor first half display behind them to hit 2-8 in the second period leaving only the minimum between the sides at full time. There was no quarter given by either side on the field over the 60 minutes with every ball contested whole heartily by both sets of players.
Breaffy dominated the game for long periods and will be disappointed that they couldn't kill off Mitchels easier, and when Eamon Tiernan blasted a goal past Robert Hennelly a minute into injury time to leave only two between the sides, they were living on their nerves. But all Mitchels could muster in the final three minutes of action was a point from Richie Feeney which cut the gap back to one, but it wasn't enough. The Breaffy midfield of Finín Canvan and Seamus O'Shea controlled the area in the opening stages, forcing Peter Ford to bring on Shane Fitzmaurice after only 20 minutes to try and shore up his engine room. Buy the time the former inter-county midfielder was introduced, Breaffy were leading by 1-4 to 0-2, the Breaffy goal coming from Michaél Jennings who took a big hit in the middle of the park before laying the ball off to Aidan O'Shea, Jennings kept moving and was played in behind the cover by O'Shea and slotted the ball neatly under Ciaran Naughton in the Mitchels goal. Matthew Conroy opened the scoring for Breaffy with a effort from out on the left wing, Finín Canavan clipped over his first of the day after a quarter of an hour before Conroy doubled his tally with a nice score following some neat interplay by the Breaffy attack. Mitchels got two points on the board through Neil Douglas, but their cause was given a set back when Ronan Burke had to replace the injured Alan Feeney after the 15 minute mark. Shortly after Finín Canvan doubled his tally and Ronan Conway popped the ball over the bar following a run by Gerry Jennings from deep to keep Breaffy ticking over, with Douglas once again the only man capable of putting the ball between the posts for the guests. The scoring in the first half was completed by Colum Lyons who drove a monster of a score over the bar from out on the left wing just before the break to leave the hosts clear by six points.
At the break, Castlebar introduced Barry Moran in place of veteran Kevin Filan and Moran's presence on the edge of the square proved to be a vital cog in his sides second half come back. Moran and Tom Cunniffe who have both only recently overcome long term injuries were key to a lot of their sides good work in the second half.
Shane Hopkins pointed for Mitchels straight after the turn around after Moran won a high ball in and laid it off to the wing forward, Douglas kicked his fourth score of the game on 35 minutes with a free from the 21 to cut the gap even more. But Breaffy got their act together again and Seamus O'Shea drove the ball over the bar from 35 meters out after a powerful run from midfield. Castlebar started dropping the ball in on top of Moran who was getting the better of Barry Jordan and causing Breaffy plenty danger. Douglas scored his fifth point of the game to bring the gap back to four, with 39 minutes gone, but the hosts hit back through scores from Alan Durcan and another huge Finín Canvan score from way out the park. But back came Mitchels once again and Barry Moran bagged a goal when he was quickest to react after a Neil Douglas effort came back off the post after 46 minutes and a minute later he landed another point to bring the game back into the melting pot.
Pete Dravins had come in for Breaffy at this stage and with nine minutes to go he won Breaffy a penalty which was cooly dispatched to the net by Jennings to put Breaffy six clear again. However this game was far form done, Douglas and Moran chipped over points, then Dravins and Moran exchanged scores as the clock began to count down, Moran hit another point for Castlebar before Eddie Conroy burst up the park to land Breaffy's last score. Tiernan's goal made sure that everyone stayed on tender hooks until the final whistle, and Breaffy just held on to claim the points.
Breaffy. R Hennelly; K Scahill, B Jordan, D Gavin; G Jennings, M Jennings, E Conroy; S O'Shea, F Canavan; M Conroy, A O'Shea, R Marty; R Conway, C Lyons, A Durcan. Subs: P Dravins, D Jennings.
Castlebar: C Naughton; R Feeney, A Feeney, B Hennelly; A Roache, E O'Reilly, D Newcombe; D Sloyan, G McDonnagh; S Hopkins, T Cunniffe, N Lydon; K Filan, A Walsh, N Douglas. Subs: S Fitzmaurice, R Burke, B Moran, E Tiernan.