REPORT/PHOTOS: Sensational Last Gasp Winner Promotes Mitchels To Division 1

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Gavin O’Connor was in Brosna to see John Mitchels grab an injury-time winner in the Division 1 Promotion Playoff Final Replay against Spa…

James Duggan celebrates at the final whistle with selector, Eoin Kelliher, Photo by Gavin O'Connor

James Duggan celebrates at the final whistle with selector Eoin Kelliher. Photo by Gavin O’Connor

John Mitchels 1-11

Spa 0-13

JOHN MITCHELS ended 13 years outside of Division 1 by overcoming Spa in a thrilling finale in Brosna on Sunday.

It looked as though we were heading to extra-time for the second week in a row only for Alan O’Donoghue to nail the winning point with almost the last kick of the game.

Speaking to a joyous Alan O’Donoghue after the final whistle, despite being five points down at half-time he was never in doubt they would come back.

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“I was never worried for a second. I knew we could come back into it, I’m absolutely delighted,” said O’Donoghue.

“It’s absolutely massive for the club. Only for our manager, Ger Dan Dennehy, the selectors and massive support we wouldn’t have done it.”

As we veered into added time, it had looked like James Duggan had sealed victory when he pointed superbly from 30 yards out on the wing.

But such was the ebb and flow between these two sides over 140 plus minutes of football, Spa came roaring back to level it up with a free from Michael O’Donoghue.

The match was now into the second minute of added time and Spa had a chance to win it themselves, but Evan Cronin’s high shot went tantalisingly wide.

With most of both sides caught up field, from the restart the ball was pinged to Alan O’Donoghue who was the furthest Mitchels man forward.

First to the ball, the impish attacker cut inside his man and stroked the winner over the bar from 30 yards out to send Mitchels into Division 1 for the first time since 2003.

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John Mitchels, Alan O'Donoghue, turns inside Spa's Dan O'Donoghue. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

John Mitchels Alan O’Donoghue, turns inside Spa’s Dan O’Donoghue. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

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Mitchels had found themselves five points down at half time, a slight breeze helping Spa going in with 0-10 to 0-5 double score advantage at the break.

Spa dominated during the first period, with full-forward Michael O’Donoghue’s tally coming to 0-5. But the Killarney side will rue a number of missed opportunities. They kicked seven wides over the course of the first half while Mitchels were far more economical, registering 0-5 from their seven shots at goal.

At the beginning of the second half, Mitchels needed a goal to get back into this and after two missed goal opportunities by Alan O’Donoghue, on seven minutes, defender Cian Sheridan showed the attacker how it was done.

After a mazy run that brought him inside the square, Sheridan shot at goal. The Spa keeper looked to have it covered only for the ball to deflect off his glove and loop into the net.

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James Duggan celebrates at the final whistle. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

James Duggan celebrates at the final whistle. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

In the eighth minute things were all square again after James Duggan kicked a 45.

It was end to end stuff for the remaining 20 minutes, both sides going toe to toe which saw them exchange the lead on four occasions.

Spa put up a tremendous battle, midfielder Andrew Garnett was the engine of the side and the dominant aerial presence throughout.

For Mitchels, over both games, Stevie O’Mahoney was a source of calm for their defence, collecting the ball and more often than not distributing it wisely to the forward line along with chipping in with scores himself.

As we veered towards the exciting finale, Sean Moloney, drew Mitchels level and with 12 minutes left, Alan O’Donoghue, put the Tralee side in front with his first point of the match.

There was no shaking Spa, Michael O’Donoghue, with two minutes left on the clock pulled the game level once more. The feeling at that point was the next score would win it, but there would be three more after that.

After O’Donoghue got the last score, in the end, the clock was on Mitchels side. The final whistle sparked huge celebrations from the John Mitchels players and their vocal travelling support.

Approaching these playoffs, Mitchels were seen as the least likely team out of St Mary’s, Rathmore and Spa to come through. What set the tone for them over both games was how willing they were to get the blocks in and really fight for every ball.

Ger Dan Dennehy and his backroom team have fostered a tremendous resolve and spirit. Also, with James Duggan, they have a star in the making, which suggests the future is bright for the Mitchels.

More photos below…

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Scorers: 

John Mitchels: James Duggan 0-4 (1f 1,45), Cian Sheridan 1-0, Alan O’Donoghue 0-2, Stephen O’Mahony 0-2, Sean Moloney, George Bastible, Niall Sheehy one point apiece.

Spa: Michael O’Donoghue 0-8 (6f), Evan Cronin 0-2, Dara Moynihan, Mike Foley, Shane Cronin one point apiece.

John Mitchels: Dermot Raggett, Daniel Kerins, Brendan O’Mahony, Cian Sheridan, Stephen O’Mahony, Laurence Bastible, Frank O’Donnell, Ciaran Deane, Mike Deane, Sean Moloney, Jonathan O’Halloran, George Bastible, Niall Sheehy, James Duggan, Alan O’Donoghue

Substitutes: Wayne Duggan for Sean Moloney (60)

Spa: James Devane, Dara Moynihan, Michael Finnegan, Eric O’Donoghue, Mike McCarthy, Dan O’Donoghue, Shane Cronin, Matt Moynihan, Andrew Garnett, Alfie Giles, Evan Cronin, Mike Foley, Craig Hickey, Michael O’Donoghue, David Spillane

Substitutes: Aydan Mulvaney for Craig Hickey (38), Jamie Spillane for Mike McCarthy (49)

Referee: Seamus Mulvihill

the John Mitchels team huddle before throw in. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

The John Mitchels team huddle before throw in. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

Spa's, David Spillane is pursued by John Mitchels Stephen O'Mahony. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

Spa’s David Spillane is pursued by John Mitchels Stephen O’Mahony. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

Spa's, Andrew Garnett, is surrounded by John Mitchels players. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

Spa’s Andrew Garnett is surrounded by John Mitchels players. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

John Mitchels, Niall Sheehy, is out ahead of Spa's Michael Finnegan. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

John Mitchels Niall Sheehy is out ahead of Spa’s Michael Finnegan. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

John Mitchels, Lawrence Bastible and Spa's Matt Moynihan rise high for a ball. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

John Mitchels, Lawrence Bastible and Spa’s Matt Moynihan rise high for a ball. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

John Mitchels Ciaran Deane tries to get to grips with Spa's Alfie Giles. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

John Mitchels Ciaran Deane tries to get to grips with Spa’s Alfie Giles. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

John Mitchels, James Duggan, with Spa's Eric O'Donoghue. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

John Mitchels, James Duggan, with Spa’s Eric O’Donoghue. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

John Mitchels, Laurence Bastible and Spa's Evan Cronin, are spoken to by match referee Seamus Mulivihill. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

John Mitchels, Laurence Bastible and Spa’s Evan Cronin, are spoken to by match referee Seamus Mulivihill. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

John Mitchels, Frank O'Donnell, pursues Spa's, Dara Moynihan. Photo by Gavin O'Connor

John Mitchels, Frank O’Donnell, pursues Spa’s Dara Moynihan. Photo by Gavin O’Connor

John Mitchels, Cian Sheridan and Ciaran Deane head off in attack. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

John Mitchels Cian Sheridan and Ciaran Deane head off in attack. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

John Mitchels, Laurence Bastible takes in Spa's Matt Moynihan. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

John Mitchels, Laurence Bastible takes in Spa’s Matt Moynihan. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

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