By Colm Gannon
Tooreen 0-18 Castlebar Mitchels 1-13
Tooreen picked up their 30th Mayo senior hurling title in MacHale Park this afternoon, but they were made to work for it by a battling Castlebar Mitchels outfit.
Mitchels hit the only goal of the game deep into injury time to cut the gap on the scoreboard to just two points, but it was just that little bit too late for them to stage a drive for what would have been a shock win.
The Blue Devils from Tooreen led by three points at the break as underdogs Castlebar matched them physically during the opening 30 minutes.
Castlebar took the lead two minutes in with a well taken effort by Andrew Butler. That was canceled out by a Shane Boland free and the same man put his side in front 60 seconds later after being played in by Mayo dual player Fergal Boland.
Castlebar levelled it up through a Corey Scahill point on five minutes and then he exchanged scores with Fergal Boland to leave it 0-03 to 0-03 on six minutes.
The east Mayo men started to exert their control on the game utilising their quick puck out strategy to get things going.
They were 0-5 to 0-4 up just after the 15 minute mark as a Scahill 65' for Castlebar after James Gallagher’s goal chance was well saved by Stephen Leneghan had the game still well in the melting pot.
A Boland 65 after James Gallagher's goal chance was well saved by Stephen Leneghan had the game back still well in the melting pot.
Tooreen found a nice bit of form and pushed 0-08 to 0-05 in front with Sean Kenny and Kenny Feeney getting in on the scoring act.
But Castlebar were not going to be shaken off that easily and they kept in touch going in down by three at the break on a score of 0-10 to 0-07.
The defending champions were the first team out for the resumption and they laid down a serious marker fo intent with Shane Boland and Sean Kenny both firing over a brace of points inside the opening six minutes to put double scores between the sides.
James Gallagher hit one back for the Mitchels men when after he got in for a half goal chance but his effort hit a defender on the way and flew over the bar.
Cathal Freeman, who came on at the break, hit the 15th for Tooreen just after the 40-minute mark to keep seven between the teams.
In the 44th minute Corey Scahill, who was the major threat for Castlebar all day, skipped inside his man and fired an effort goal wards that was well saved by Lenehan - but from the resulting play Mitchels got a free that Scahill put over the bar to put six between the teams with a quarter of the game to go.
Sean Regan pushed the lead back out to seven with a neatly-taken point on the turn from close range as the champions kept the challengers at arms length as the game moved into it's final period.
Schaill hammered over two long rang points either side of a Sean Kenny 65’ to leave two goals still between the sides as the game headed towards it’s final five minutes and for Tooreen it was all about seeing out the game - which they looked to be doing with ease until Padraig O’Flynn rose highest to flick the ball to the back of the net and leave just just between the sides two minutes into injury time.
If they had got that score a few minutes earlier who knows how this game would have finished up - for Castlebar they will have plenty to build on for next season having reached their first county final in 21 years this term, for Torreen they will be looking to go on and make a dent in the Connacht intermediate championship.
Tooreen: Stephen Lenehan; Gary Nolan, Michale Morley, John Cassidy; Conor Henry, Stephen Coyne, David Kenny; Daniel Huane, Conor English; Sean Kenny (0-04, 1f 1 65’) , Fergal Boland (0-03), Sean Regan (0-01); Shane Boland (0-07,5f), Kenny Feeney (0-01), Eoin Delaney.
Subs: Cathal Freeman (0-01) for Conor English, Liam Lavin (0-01) for Eoin Delaney, David Harrison for Kenny Feeney, Ciaran Finn for Daniel Ruane
Castlebar Mitchels: Martin Parson; Seanie Mulroy, James Lowe, Joe Butler; Tony Sweeney, Padraig O’Flynn (1-00), Bernard Kennedy; Shane Nugent, Conor Murray; Andrew Butler (0-03, 1f), Corey Scahill (0-07, 5f, 1 65), Kevin Keena; Darren McTigue, James Gallagher (0-03), Liam Mullins.
Subs: Alan Gavin for Kevin Keena, Art O’Suillebhain for Liam Mullins, Kieran Horan for Joe Butler
Referee: Michael Herr