AS THEY face into a defining game against Kildorrery in the concluding series of games in the Bon Secours Intermediate Football Championship, Mitchelstown will be seeking to repeat the level of performance produced against Glanmire last time out.
Consistency, or the lack of it, is the main discussion point when the championship prospects of the North Cork side are being mentioned. They looked hugely impressive in that 4-12 to 1-6 win over Glanmire at Castlelyons just over two weeks ago. It was the sort of display we have seen from them on more than one occasion in recent years.
However, the county final loss to Rockchapel in the deferred 2020 decider and the subsequent defeat by Aghabullogue in their opening game of this year’s championship had raised question marks about the side.
The truth is that without some star names most teams struggle to reach anywhere near top form and Mitchelstown have been down some big names in these setbacks. Take nothing away from either Rockchapel or Aghabollogue in these aforementioned as both gained merited victories, but Mitchelstown with near to a full hand, looked a different outfit when gathering their first brace points in the Glanmire game.
With Mark Keane also now back in training, the men in red and black have been given a boost as they head for Araglen for the local derby showdown on Saturday (4pm).
Mitchelstown coach Martin O’Brien agrees the key to progress will be reproducing form on a consistent basis.
“We have to be consistent. We were poor in the county final against Rockchapel. The right team won that match on the night. We did not show up and they managed the game far better than we did.
“There was great learning in it for us as a group. We know we have to stop the yo-yo effect and just can’t play one good half and then go missing. I think going into our last outing that we were questioned a lot outside of the camp but the lads definitely stood up and showed what they are about.
“Now we have got to go again and manage the transition back from the hurling of the past few weeks. If we are serious we must produce the same levels every week, because that is what the top teams do on a consistent basis.”
Cathail O’Mahony’s return from injury was a key factor against Glanmire. He scored two classy goals and posed a huge threat all through the game. O’Mahony is one of the county’s brightest young stars and when he is fully fit is a real handful at all levels.
He can play the roles of scorer, creator, target man and free-taker to a tee and his availability as an out-ball option is a massive plus for his playing colleagues.
It’s just brilliant to see Cathail back. I think anybody coming to a game wants to see the best footballers in Cork. Some of his attributes are just fantastic, the first five yards he can kill you with that pace.
“The last day he got some great scores against Glanmire. It’s a real joy to be involved with him. Each day as a coach, you are learning off him as well.”
Looking ahead to this weekend, Mitchelstown will certainly start as favourites. Kildorrery go into the game with the worst record of any team in this championship grade, with a scoring difference of - 44, which is 39 points worse off than their nearest rival at the basement of the other groups.
As a consequence of their 23-point loss to Glanmire and subsequent 21-point reversal to Aghabollogue, it appears as if they have a big task ahead. But, in an all Avondhu clash against a team from just 12 kilometres down the road, form can very much go out of the window.
“We played them in one of my very first games and it was really close in a challenge game. We will have to give our best performance. There’s a lot of talk of scoring difference and head to head matches when you come to the last day, but we have just to focus on our game.”
Mitchelstown go into the match in second place with Aghabollogue needing to avoid defeat against Glanmire to ensure group top spot. However, Glanmire can join Aghabollogue on four points with a win, meaning Mitchelstown will need a positive result to be in the mix for the knockout stages.