Under 16s get off to good start in the championship
Castlebar Mitchels 3-9 ; Ballyhaunis 2-10
In their opening championship game, played in Ballyhaunis on Friday evening, the Castlebar Mitchels under 16 hurling team had a two point win over Ballyhaunis in a thriller. Ross Flynn opened the scoring with a point and Philip Redmond and David O’Malley added two more but Ballyhaunis came roaring back with a goal and two points to take the lead. Philip Redmond then tagged on a goal to take back the lead and two points from Andrew Butler and another from Christopher Butler left Mitchels ahead by a point at half time 1-6 to 1-5.
Mitchels started the second half on fire with Liam Murphy and Stephen Fitzgerald getting on top in midfield and two quick goals by Ross Flynn seemed to have the game in the bag. Ballyhaunis though came roaring back with a goal of their own and tagged on a couple of points. Points from Andrew Butler and Stephen Fitzgerald seemed to steady the ship, but Ballyhaunis came at them again to leave just three points between the teams entering the last few minutes. With the last play of the game Ballyhaunis had a chance of that elusive goal but the ball just went over the bar and Mithchels hung on for the win.
This was a well played and entertaining game displaying a wide range of skills from good score taking to excellent blocking and hooking. Damien McHale had a wonderful game in goals making some top class saves in the first half to keep Mitchels in the game. In defence, Mitchels struggled early in the game to come to grips with the strength of the Ballyhaunis attack, but come to grips they did as the game progressed and it was the defence that won the game for Mitchels in the end. In the second half with their backs against the wall they gave a very disciplined performance and stood up brave and strong, blocking, hooking, covering and clearing. Niall McCarney and Christy Walsh at centre half and full back led the lines but they were ably assisted by James Lowe and Liam Williams in the corners and Eoin McCarney and Darren McTigue on the wings. All the attackers gave their all and Luke McGrath, while he did not score, was involved in setting up some of them.
On Friday evening next the under 16s take on Belmullet in Castlebar.
Team; Damien McHale, James Lowe, Christy Walsh, Liam Williams, Eoin McCarney, Niall McCarney, Darren McTigue, Liam Murphy, Stephen Fitzgerald, David O’Malley, Andrew Butler, Christy Butler, Luke McGrath, Ross Flynn, Philip Redmaond. Subs; Vincent O’Brien, Michéal Clune, John Cotter, Nicholas Quinn, Padraig Condon, Richard O’Dea.
Seniors fail to follow up opening win
Mitchels senior hurlers failed to follow up on their opening win against Wesport, when they went down to a heavy defeat against Ballina in McHale Park on Saturday last. Ballina played with the wind in the first half and got off to a great start with John Duffy scoring their two goals and they led by 13 points at half time. Mitchels tried hard at the start of the second half to get back in the game but another goal by John Duffy killed off the game. Stephen Burke got a consolation goal and Joe Butler landed two points near the end but Mitchels were well and truly beaten.
This was a very disappointing result after the Westport game and the Mitchels lads will have to go back to the drawing board before next weeks game in Belmullet. They never got going in this game and showed up a lot of inexperience. Best for Mitchels were the Horan brothers David and Kieran.