This will be Castlebar’s biggest test yet

our county champions Castlebar Mitchels take on the might of Corofin in the Connacht club semi-final. It really is a step into the unknown for Pat Holmes’ team who look set to have to plan without ace midfielder/attacker Danny Kirby who was red carded in the county u21 football final last Friday. There will be arguments all over as to whether Kirby’s suspension should follow through to the senior grade, but the fact that this was his last game as an u21 player meant he had to be suspended for something. He should not have put his team or manager in this predicament and I am sure ‘Holmesy’ was raging, as Kirby is a vital part of the Castlebar game plan. Corofin seem to have their eyes on bigger prizes this year and next, they will see Sunday as a means to an end. They also had the luxury of cantering home in their county final against a very disappointing Salthill/Knocknacarra on a score line of 2-13 to 0-7. Playing two weeks before the Mayo final also gave Crossmolina native and Corofin manager Stephen Rochford the ideal situation of being able to watch Castlebar in full tilt in the county final (as if he did not know enough already ). I myself have been on the wrong end of a pasting from Corofin in the Connacht Club Championship. In 2009 they came to Charlestown and destroyed us on our own patch in the Connacht final. We were literally beaten all over the field. That game was due to go ahead a week previous but was postponed due to a water logged pitch after two weeks intensive rain, however what I ultimately remember from the whole experience is the day before the postponed game was to go ahead, Corofin had three officials in Charlestown for the pitch inspection, checking that matters were conducted correctly. They leave no stone unturned such is their professionalism. Gary Sice was their main man in the county final scoring 1-04, the Galway star seems to have found the form which his talent suggested, but they have match winners all over the field. Kieran Comer is a proven handful for whoever he has come up against and watch out for pocket rocket Joe Canney, (not to be confused with hurler Joe Canning ) he destroyed us in that final in 2009. There is no doubt this will be the best team Castlebar have come up against in the last few years. They will need to be at full tilt to have any hope in this game, the Mitchell’s have some brilliant individuals who are capable of going toe to toe with anyone, but when big team performances are needed I cannot see past the well oiled machine that is Corofin.

It’s never won until the final whistle is blown

Kiltaine survived the fright of their lives last Sunday against Drumcliff/ Rosses Point, after being in such a commanding position and the game in the bag they did their best to give their manager and supporters heart attacks in MacHale Park. It is the wake up call Martin Barrett and his team needed. Lucky for them the game ended when it did or they surely would have lost it. When complacency sets in and your opponents get ahead of steam it is extremely difficult if not impossible to curtail it in the middle of a game. They can thank their lucky blessings for Mikey Sweeney who scored another very impressive 2-04 in another man of the match performance.

Huge credit has to go to Moy Davitts for capturing the county u21 A title against raging hot favourites Castlebar last Friday night. Castlebar, going for four in a row at this level, were left stunned by their much hungrier opponents. It is games like this that make people keep going to matches to see the underdogs prevailing against all the odds and I am sure there were huge celebrations in Bohola and Foxford.

Breaffy were simply unstoppable in the Minor A final cruising to a facile win over Claremorris. Just a thought, how many championship games have Michael Hall and Liam Irwin played this year? They have gone all the way with the county minors, the club minors, the club u21s are in the B semi-final this Sunday, and of course the seniors got to the final. During the spring both men were involved with their schools teams reaching All Ireland semi-finals also. I very much doubt any other players in Ireland played as many championship games. I think they will need a rest very soon. Well done to Charlestown’s Deirdre Doherty who scored a cracking goal for Castlebar Celtic in the Aviva Stadium last weekend. Unfortunately for Doherty and her team mates they were on the wrong end of the result after extra time.

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