Wednesday 20 September 2017

Douglas continues his fine form in Castlebar victory

Connacht SFC Quarter-final: Castlebar 1-10 Tourlestrane 0-5

Neil Douglas of Castlebar Mitchels wheels away in delight after scoring his goal. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Neil Douglas of Castlebar Mitchels wheels away in delight after scoring his goal. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Castlebar Mitchels manager Declan O'Reilly praised the efforts of star frontman Neil Douglas who continues to terrorise defences in the Connacht club championship.

Despite getting a black card against Tourlestrane on Saturday, the former Mayo forward still scored 1-5 and was a constant threat at Markievicz Park.

He scored the only goal of the game in the 19th minute and four more points as the reigning Connacht champions took a 1-6 to 0-1 lead into half-time.

The four-time provincial winners have set up a mouth-watering semi-final against 2015 All-Ireland champions Corofin next weekend.

And once again Douglas will be the main man up front for Castlebar, but O'Reilly believes his side have other threats too.

"Neil Douglas is a top class footballer, he is on form for us all year," said O'Reilly.

Fergal Durkan of Castlebar Mitchels in action against Brian Egan of Tourlestrane. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Fergal Durkan of Castlebar Mitchels in action against Brian Egan of Tourlestrane. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

"He is our go-to man when we get ball, but he is not our only forward and scorer, he didn't play in the last 20 minutes.

"We were still fine without him but he is in good form, he is a good footballer."

Referee Eamonn O'Grady gave out four black cards in the second half, as Castlebar had Douglas and Aidan Walsh sent to the line, while Cathal Henry and Liam Gaughan saw black for the Sligo champions.

Tourlestrane were playing their first competitive match since they beat St Mary's in the county final on October 2.

Fergal Durkan of Castlebar Mitchels in action against Barry Walsh of Tourlestrane. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Fergal Durkan of Castlebar Mitchels in action against Barry Walsh of Tourlestrane. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

But Castlebar were battle-hardened following a tough Mayo championship and they head to MacHale Park next weekend with plenty of game-time under their belts.

"It's going to be our sixth game in six weeks, so it's tough going," O'Reilly added.

"The bodies are beginning to get sore now, there are a few bumps and bruises.

"Corofin are going to be a bit more offensive next weekend, the defensive approach was just a bit exaggerated by Tourlestrane today."

Castlebar began the game without Mayo wing-back and All Star nominee Paddy Durcan who had a hamstring injury.

It was his twin, James Durcan, that began the onslaught in the eighth minute and once Walsh set up Douglas for the goal in the 19th minute, Castlebar never looked back.

They will now face the Galway champions in a re-run of last year's final, where Castlebar shocked Corofin on a 2-10 to 0-11 scoreline.

Castlebar went on to contest the All-Ireland final on St Patrick's Day in Croke Park, but they came up short against Ballyboden St Enda's.

But following impressive victories over Knockmore and Tourlestrane they will be prepared for the challenge of Corofin.

And O'Reilly says defensive linchpin Paddy Durcan will be fit for the final four clash.

"Paddy had a slight hamstring twinge but we rested him today and he'll be fine for next week.

"It's a massive match, we took Corofin on last year and we beat them in the Connacht final.

"They are second favourites to win the All-Ireland so they are a serious, serious outfit, I would suggest our performance today won't be enough to win that match," he said.

Scorers - Castlebar Mitchels: N Douglas 1-5 (3f), J Durcan 0-2, D Stenson (f), C Costello (f), F Durkin 0-1 each. Tourlestrane: B Egan (f), G Gaughan, L Gaughan (f), P Harte (f), N Egan 0-1 each .

Castlebar Mitchels - R Byrne; D Newcombe, G McDonagh, S Irwin; R Collins, E O'Reilly, R O'Malley; A Walsh, B Moran; D Stenson, F Durkin, J Durcan; N Douglas, D Kirby, S Hopkins. Subs: C Kyne for Douglas (42, b/c), N Lydon for Kirby (46), A O'Boyle for Walsh (51, b/c), C Costello for Durcan (54), R Burke for Collins (60), D Joyce for Stenson (60).

Tourlestrane - P McVeigh; C Neary, B Kennedy, J F Carr; G Gaughan, A McIntyre, J Leonard; S Henry, J Quinn; P Harte, C Henry, A Dunne; J Kelly, J Marren, B Egan. Subs: B Walsh for Leonard (16), L Gaughan for Dunne (half-time), N Egan for Henry (39, b/ c), S Dunne for Kelly (51), Kelly for L Gaughan (53, b/c)

REF - Eamonn O'Grady (Leitrim).

Irish Independent

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