Twenty years after Castlebar Mitchels last made a bid for the AIB All-Ireland Club SFC, there was something sweet about Pat Holmes role in their success.
Holmes was on the panel when Mitchels last graced club football’s highest stage so it’s fitting that his first management role at this level sees him traveling to Croke Park on St. Patrick’s day, this time hoping to go one better.
The rally from Castlebar in the final ten minutes, when many observers expected Dr. Crokes to take the game by the scruff the neck, should fill Holmes and his management team with the utmost confidence.
2. Crokes stumble yet again
To lose one All-Ireland semi-final is unlucky, to lose three in a row and you begin to run out of explanations.
Dr. Crokes dominance of Munster over the past 36 months is unquestioned, but they have fallen at the penultimate hurdle again and they have nobody but themselves to blame. When Alan O’Sullivan brought his side within a single score on 47 minutes, nobody could have predicted that would be the Kerry side’s last score of the game but that’s exactly what happened.
Indeed, they were outscored 1-4 to 0-0 at the death and yet another year goes by without Dr. Crokes making it to the biggest game of the them all.
3. Injury to insult
After a brilliant point, when Colm Cooper used his pace to escape the attention of Castlebar’s defence, many of the Killarney club’s supporters probably feared the worst when their star man hit the deck.
At that stage the Gooch had hit a third of Crokes’ six points and his loss was made all the worse by the fact Castlebar scored their first goal of the game with their very next attack.
There’s no news yet of how long the perennial All-Star is expected to be on the sidelines but it’s difficult to see him appearing in Kerry’s National League campaign any time soon.
4. Ballinderry’s slow starts
When you’ve seen the umpire raise his green flag twice for your opponents in the opening 11 minutes of the first half only for you battle back to trail by just a point at the break, you would imagine that most of Ballinderry’s half-time team talk revolved around setting their stall out early in the second half, and not letting St. Vincent’s build another lead.
But that’s exactly what happened as the Ulster Champions shipped three points at the start of the second period, a deficit from which they never recovered.
Had Martin McKinless’ men been more alert in the early stages of both halves, who knows what they may have achieved.
5. Mossy Quinn’s disco pants
They used to belong to Niall Quinn in another code altogether but Tomás Quinn certainly deserves to wear the disco pants tonight after yet another brilliant display in the AIB All-Ireland club football championship.
Quinn’s 1-8 should be enough to merit inclusion but his pass to Ciaran Dorney for St. Vincent’s second goal was beautiful in it’s simplicity and though there were still 49 minutes to play, it was the kind of blow that would have resulted in a standing count for Ballinderry were they competing under the Marquess of Queensbury rules.
At 32 and with a club title already to his name, most players of Quinn’s vintage would be considering retirement. Instead, he just gets better and better and Dublin fans outside Marino must be wondering just what they’re missing.
The mighty Quinn proves the difference as battling Ballinderry lose to St. Vincent’s
Castlebar Mitchels earn hard-fought victory over Dr Crokes to reach All-Ireland Club SFC final