Connacht club SFC: Mitchels finish strongly to reach another final

November 12, 2017

Castlebar Mitchels' Danny Kirby.
©INPHO/James Crombie.

Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) 1-13 

Tourlestrane (Sligo) 0-9

A late Danny Kirby goal settled Castlebar Mitchels' nerves as they came through a tough test against Tourlestrane in Elvery's MacHale Park to qualify for their third Connacht club SFC final in five years.

An upset looked to be on the cards when the Sligo champions - who lost to the same opposition by eight points 12 months ago - led early in the second half, but they then went 27 minutes without scoring and finished the game with 14 men after Liam Gaughan received a straight red card in stoppage-time following an incident involving Donie Newcombe.

Co-managed by former Sligo stars Eamonn O'Hara and Gerry McGowan, wind-assisted Tourlestrane took an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead through scores from Gaughan, John Kelly and Brian Egan with Danny Kirby replying for the three-in-a-row Moclair Cup winners. David Stenson then took centre stage by kicking three unanswered points for the hosts before an Egan free made it 0-4 apiece after 18 minutes.

Points from James Durcan and Stenson (two) had Mitchels 0-7 to 0-5 up before Egan (free) and Gaughan restored parity for Tourlestrane just before the interval.

Another Egan free edged the underdogs 0-8 to 0-7 ahead after the restart, but Castlebar then gradually took control with scores from Stenson (free), Neil Douglas, Kirby and Paddy Durcan before Kirby collected a pass from James Durcan and fired home the only goal with eight minutes remaining.

Castlebar will now have the chance to avenge last year's semi-final defeat to Corofin, who needed extra-time to see off St. Brigid's at Tuam Stadium, in the provincial final in two weeks' time.

Castlebar Mitchels - R Byrne; J Maughan, G McDonagh, D Newcombe; N McCarney, E O'Reilly, P Durcan (0-1); A Walsh, B Moran; J Durcan (0-1), D Kirby (1-2), C Costello; D Stenson (0-6, 5f), N Douglas (0-3, 2f, 1'45), R O'Malley. Subs: S Irwin for J Maughan (BC), S Hopkins for N McCarney, A O'Boyle for B Moran, M Towey for P Durcan, C Stenson for C Costello.

Tourlestrane - A Bowens; C Neary, B Walsh, N Gaughan; G Gaughan (0-1), S Dunne, J Leonard (0-1); S Henry, A McIntyre; A Dunne (0-1), B Egan (0-4f), C Henry; J Kelly (0-1), P Harte, L Gaughan (0-1). Subs: JF Carr for S Henry, J Quinn for P Harte, C Marren for S Dunne, J Marren for J Kelly.

Referee - J Molloy.

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