Castlebar Mitchels proved too strong for Dr.Crokes today in a highly entertaining All-Ireland club semi-final that saw Colm Cooper depart early through injury.
At times the action was free-flowing, just one point in the first half came form a free, but it was the Mayo men that ran out comfortable winners in the end on a scoreline of 3-13 to 1-11.
Barry Moran and Aidan Walsh gave Castlebar an early lead but Dr. Crokes rattled off four points in a row as Colm Cooper began to find his feet and caused the Mayo side’s defence plenty to worry about.
Indeed only some scrambling defence prevented Crokes from finding the net, but Castlebar showed their resolve.
Inter-county star Barry Moran was conspicuous at full-forward where he had Eoin Brosnan in close attention.
Castlebar went into the lead after 19 minutes after Patrick Durcan found the net after his initial shot was saved by David Moloney.
The response was swift and equally emphatic from the Kerry men when Kieran O’Leary profited from generous marking to raise the green flag.
It was just the tonic for Crokes who were at this stage without the services of Cooper who was taken off after landing awkwardly after firing over a brilliant point earlier in the half.
The goal spurred on Castlebar and it proved to be the final score for Crokes in the half, with Richie Feeney, Tom King and Donie Newcombe giving Mitchels the slenderest of half-time leads.
It was the Mayo men who were out of the blocks quickest after the break, with King and Feeney adding to their advantage before Daithi Casey and Ambrose O’Donovan replied for Crokes.
King was a constant threat and it was no surprise when he got Castlebar’s second of the day after a high ball into the danger area before coolly wrong-footing Moloney in goals.
Again, the response was impressive as Johnny Buckley and Alan O’Sullivan again made it a one point game with 13 minutes left in the contest.
However Mitchels proved too strong down the final stretch and the second period finished in a similar fashion to the first and a flurry of scores from King, Tom Walsh, Ger McDonagh and Neil Lydon. A third goal courtesy of Durcan ensured that Castlebar finished with eight points to spare over the Kerry champions.
Dr Crokes: David Moloney; Fionn Fitzgerald, Mike Moloney, John Payne; David O’Leary, Eoin Brosnan, Kieran Ward; Ambrose O’Donovan, Johnny Buckley; Alan O’Sullivan, Daithi Casey, Brian Looney; Kieran O’Leary, Colm Cooper, Shane Doolan.
Castlebar Mitchels: Ciarán Naughton; Alan Feeney; Ray O’Malley, Eoghan O’Reilly; Donie Newcombe, Tom Cunniffe, Patrick Durcan; Barry Moran, Ger McDonagh; Neil Lydon, Aidan Walsh, Richie Feeney; Danny Kirby, Tom King, Neil Douglas.