Castlebar Mitchels came up just short in Croke Park last Monday when a Diarmuid Connolly inspired St Vincent's team had too much for them in the AIB All Ireland Senior Club Football Championship final.
The Castlebar men reacted well to losing their “spiritual leader” Richie Feeney to a black card after only five minutes of the contest and pushed St Vincent's as far as they could on Croke Park.
Pat Holmes said after the game, “They’re a quality team and we knew that coming into the game today and we had to play to the best of our ability and everything had to go right for us.
“Unfortunately, we lost our spiritual leader Richie Feeney and that was a huge blow, but in fairness to the guys, they kept plugging away.
“Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say you were beaten by the better team and I think that was the case."
Holmes went on to pay tribute to his players and how far they have come this year.
"Any time you come here and don’t win, you’re gutted, but in saying that this is a team who failed to come out of Mayo for 20 years and won a county title. It’s a team that was intermediate in 2006 or 2007 and all of a sudden they have gone on a voyage, which is absolutely fabulous. They have represented the club with great distinction and honour.”
Barry Moran spoke similarly after the defeat of how far this team has come in the past year. "Twelve months ago, before we won a county, would anyone have said we'd be here on Paddy's Day? I don't think so. Would there be many in the Mitchels? Deep down, I don't think there'd be many. We know ourselves, we are capable of pushing on. It is going to be raw, it is raw, no doubt it is going to take a while, but we'll put our heads down and from there we'll regroup and it's early to be talking about it but we won't find it until the Mayo championship comes around in two or three months’ time.”
Weekend off for Mayo
Mayo have the weekend off following their 4-12 to 2-14 win over Cork last Sunday in the National Football League. James Horan's men picked up their third win on the bounce with the four-point win over the rebels.
The win has pushed them up to fifth in the table with two games remaining, starting off next weekend against Dublin in Croke Park, before they welcome Derry to Elvery's MacHale Park on Sunday, April 6, to round off the group stages of the competition.
Mayo only trail Dublin in the table on scoring difference and a win in GAA headquarters would set them up well for a place in the last four of the competition and extend their league season by a few more weeks.
Last Sunday's win over Cork saw the return to action of Tom Parson's in Mayo colours after he picked up a freak-injury in his first comeback game against Kildare in Newbridge in early February.
It also saw Cillian O'Connor make his first start for the county since their defeat to Dublin in the All Ireland final last September.
The Ballintubber marksman finished up the day with 1-2 to his name, while Jason Doherty also continued his return to form, ending the game with 1-3 in his account.
James Horan will also be able to hopefully, in the near future, call on the services of Chris Barrett and captain Andy Moran, who had to sit out the last two games.
One down side for Mayo last week was the news that Crossmolina's Cathal Carolan has been ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up a cruciate ligament injury in training last Tuesday night week. Carolan had been pushing hard for an permanent starting spot in the team.
Hurlers look for win number two
The Mayo senior hurling team will make the long trek to Armagh on Sunday for their final group game in this year's Allianz National Hurling League. Christy Philips’ side will be expecting to see off the challenge of the bottom placed side in the division. Even if Mayo lost, they would only be dragged into a relegation play-off the following week against the same opposition, if Fingal pulled off a surprise win against a Wicklow team looking to book a place in the league final, or Mayo if got a heavy beating that wiped out their scoring difference advantage on both Fingal and Armagh.
Gearld's claim crown in dramatic style
St Gerald's College, Castlebar, booked their place in the last four of the All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Hogan Cup when they overcame the challenge of St Attracta's, Tubbercurry, in Ballina last Saturday in Connacht Colleges, Post Primary Schools Football Championship final.
The team, managed by Daniel Forde and Tom Prendergast, fought back from the early concession of three goals to the Sligo side to run out four point winners, thanks to a hat-trick from corner-forward Philip Ruddy. The team were driven on to victory by man-of-the-match Paddy Burke at full-back alongside the likes of captain Michael Hall in the number six shirt and Michael Plunkett at centre-half forward, who chipped in with six points. Full forward Garath Dunne shook off some poor misses to become an effective target man and created a number of chances for his team-mates. Gerald's now go on to face Pobalscoil Corca Dhuibhne in the Hogan Cup semi-final.
Big day for Our Lady's
There'll be an invasion from Erris heading to Sligo tomorrow when Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet, take on St. Joseph’s High School, Crossmaglen, in the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools, Br Edmund Ignatius Rice Cup final in Markievicz Park, Sligo, at 2pm.
Rice College in semi-final showdown
Rice College, Westport, will play St Brendan’s College, Killarney (Kerry ), or St Francis College, Rochestown (Cork ), in the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Junior A Football Paul McGirr Cup semi-final on Saturday, March 22, at 2pm in Gurteen, Co Clare.