Monday 18 December 2017

All-Ireland is now or never for Moran and Mitchels

Castlebar's Barry Moran Photo: Sportsfile
Castlebar's Barry Moran Photo: Sportsfile

Now or never. That's the straight-up attitude of Barry Moran as he contemplates this evening's intriguing All-Ireland club SFC collision of Castlebar Mitchels and Crossmaglen Rangers in Cavan.

For the winners, a place in the St Patrick's Day parade beckons. Moran knows all about playing in - and losing - All-Ireland finals, both with Mayo and his club, who were eclipsed by a Diarmuid Connolly masterclass for St Vincent's two years ago.

But now Castlebar are back in the last -four, having toppled All-Ireland holders Corofin in Connacht, to face a club for whom winning All-Irelands (six in the last two decades) is second nature.

"If you ask any club footballer how many opportunities are you going to get to win a provincial club and then go on to win an All-Ireland ... we have already had one and we've missed it," Moran reflects.


"We've an All-Ireland semi-final coming up and we know, if we don't take that opportunity, we might never get it again. Nobody knows what's around the corner: you lose a couple of players or you just go out of form and that's it, it's gone."

Before Christmas, a re-energised Crossmaglen emerged from what they would term a famine to claim their first Ulster title in three years, pulling clear of Scotstown in extra-time.

They're favourites, not surprisingly, but Mitchels carry a potent goal threat.

"The way I'm looking at it," says Moran, "is we are two games away from winning one (All-Ireland) and that's the sole priority ... if we're lucky enough to do that, we'll come back and have a look at the second one (with Mayo) if we can."

Odds: Crossmaglen 4/5 Draw 13/2 Castlebar 6/4
Verdict: Castlebar


Castlebar v Crossmaglen

Kingspan Breffni Park,

Tonight 6.15, live TG4

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