Thursday 18 January 2018

Douglas hat-trick a treat for rampant Castlebar

Castlebar 4-10 Breaffy0-9

Castlebar's Neil Douglas celebrates after scoring his side's third goal in the Mayo County Senior Football Championship Final against Breaffy
Castlebar's Neil Douglas celebrates after scoring his side's third goal in the Mayo County Senior Football Championship Final against Breaffy
The Castlebar team celebrate after retaining the Mayo SFC title
Breaffy’s Aidan O’Shea sits dejected after the Mayo SFC final
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

The lights were on early in the 2015 Mayo final but the life in it died pretty quickly.

At half-time the job looked almost done for Castlebar Mitchels who had plundered two goals in the first half while playing against a significant breeze.

It was well and truly completed long before the final whistle. Mitchels had a number of heroes on the day. Richie Feeney played an intelligent game. Ger McDonagh did well to handle Aidan O'Shea and Danny Kirby was a constant threat.

However, no one could grab the headlines from Neil Douglas who grabbed a hat-trick to steer his club to a second county title in three years.

Conditions made things difficult for both sides.

In the first half, Breaffy played with the aid of the wind but they struggled for traction early on. They actually opened up a 0-2 to no score lead after 12 minutes through two frees but there was little fluidity to their attack.

Aidan O'Shea operated out around the middle for the early part of the half but wandered closer to goal as the half wore on but that coincided with Castlebar finding their groove.

Eoghan O'Reilly - who was in action against his brother, Breaffy forward Tommy - raced forward to tie the game at 0-3 each and it was a sign that the town side were starting to find their feet.

It was an unusual day for the O'Reilly clan as the boys' father Tom was part of the Breaffy management team.

Breaffy, who were looking to collect their first senior crown, didn't help themselves at times in the first half. Hopeful ball into their full-forward line was mopped up by an impressive Castlebar full-back line.

At the other end, Breaffy coughed up the first goal in the scrappiest of circumstances. A loose ball bobbled around the area and some hesitancy in their defence resulted in a goalmouth scramble.

Somehow the ball fell to the feet of Kirby who lashed to the roof of the net. Given the conditions, and Breaffy's difficulties in front of goal, it looked a big score.

Douglas tagged on another point before Castlebar netted for the second time, just six minutes after their first. This time Richie Feeney started the move and his powerful burst put Douglas in the clear. He finished low past Robbie Hennelly to put them in complete control.

Castlebar tagged on another point and while Breaffy landed the last two scores of the half - their first efforts from play - they left themselves with a mountain to climb at half-time as they trailed by 2-6 to 0-5.

It had been a messy half, as witnessed by the 27 frees awarded, but Castlebar looked comfortable.

Breaffy needed a quick start and they almost got it.


First, Tommy O'Reilly cracked a shot off the post that might have breathed new life into their challenge. They weren't dissuaded however and through the promptings of Aidan O'Shea, they came looking again.

Once more they had Castlebar stretched. Matthew Ruane got through on goal and his shot beat Mitchels goalkeeper Rory Byrne. However, the recovering Alan Feeney was on hand to clear off the line.

Castlebar temporarily lost their way in this period. They kicked three wides and saw another drop into Rob Hennelly's hands. And their cause wasn't aided when Barry Moran, who had been in control at midfield, also picked up a black card for a trip on Aidan O'Shea.

However, Breaffy couldn't turn their possession into scores and it was the excellent Kirby who fired over the first score of the half.

Things already looked to be going away from them when Douglas grabbed his second goal after good work from Richie Feeney and Niall Lydon.

There was still almost 20 minutes to play at that stage but Castlebar were as good as home.

Peter Dravins came close to getting a goal for Breaffy but he could only find the woodwork. There was time for Douglas to complete his hat-trick with a clever punched finish past Hennelly as they secured their 29th Moclair Cup.

"The goals won the game for us," Barry Moran reflected afterwards.

"We got four goals and we got them at the right time. Breaffy played with the breeze in the first half and they probably didn't get as much as they wanted going in at half-time but we knew we were still going to have to be at the top of our game.

"They beat Ballintubber two weeks ago who were the reigning champions and beat them very well. Aidan O'Shea and a couple of lads were outstanding that day but all credit to our fellas. We had the work done and thankfully we got the result.

"We were in control (at half-time) but at the same time it is dangerous and we knew the first ten minutes of the second half were crucial so we looked to get control, get a couple of scores and pull away.

"We made hard work of it with a lot of wides and we probably could have got more scores but we're just happy to get the win."

Castlebar head to Dr Hyde Park to face Roscommon champions Clann na nGael on November 8.

"It's going to be a very hard one," Moran warned.

"Paul Curran is their manager, they beat Brigid's there and won Roscommon so it will be another big challenge.

"We're looking forward to it but we'll enjoy this and get back to work tomorrow."

Scorers - Castlebar Mitchels: N Douglas 3-1 (1f), D Kirby 1-3, A Walsh 0-3 (3f), R Feeney, E O'Reilly, J Durcan 0-1 each.

Breaffy: C O'Shea 0-4 (2f), G Walsh, S O'Shea, P Dravins, R Hennelly (1f), T O'Reilly (1f) 0-1 each.

Castlebar - R Byrne; A Feeney, R O'Malley, D Newcombe; P Durcan, E O'Reilly, G McDonagh; A Walsh, B Moran; S Hopkins, N Lydon, N Douglas; T Cunniffe, R Feeney, D Kirby. Subs: J Durcan for Moran (BC 36), C Costello for Hopkins (43), F Durcan for Lydon (44), R Burke for O'Malley (49), S Conlon for Newcombe (56), M Towey for R Feeney (60).

Breaffy - R Hennelly; C Jordan, M Jennings, M Hall; R Martyn, C Kelly, D Gavin; R Fadden, S O'Shea; C O'Shea, A O'Shea, K Mulchrone; G Dunne, G Walsh, T Reilly. Subs: M Ruane for Dunne (26), D Cannon for Kelly (38), L Irwin for Walsh, G Jennings for Mulchrone (both 43), P Dravins for Fadden (50), D Morrin for Martyn (56).

Ref - L Devenney (Mayo)

Mayo SFC final

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