Fifteen years ago Manchester United bagged the famous treble after a last minute Ole Gunnar Solskjær winner against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou. On Sunday Westport Utd will be hoping to emulate that feat by taking home the Connacht Gold Cup, after an unbeaten season in all competitions.
Ballyheane lie in wait and will relish the prospect of taking down the untouchables. However, player/manager Peter Bourke knows the huge task that faces his side just down the road in Milebush. “It’s going to be a huge challenge. They’re unbeaten all season and are an experienced outfit.”
Ballyheane themselves were last year’s unbeaten outfit in the league, and came into everybody’s line of focus a couple of months back when amazingly they grabbed an astonishing 17-0 win over Hollister. Goals were not a problem back then and they hope for more of the same on Sunday. “We know on our day we’re capable of scoring goals. Hopefully we’ll give a good account of ourselves.”
After a mixed season in the league, attention quickly turned to the cup run. They accounted for Fahy Rovers, Hollister, and Partry Athletic on their path into the quarter-finals, where things started to get hot and heavy. Next up on the target list was high-flying Kiltimagh/Knock Utd, which set up a mouth-watering clash with fellow Super League big-hitters Manulla. Now at the final hurdle the seemingly unbeatable Westport Utd lie in the long grass.
A Connacht Gold Cup title on Sunday will take the gloomy look off their season that never really got going. “We’ve a small squad really. We had 14 or 15 players all season. We conceded an awful lot of goals and probably defended poorly at times.”
As Peter Bourke and his charges were hatching a plan to take down Westport, the joint ticket of Kieran Mulchrone and James Fahy were taking charge of both the Mayo and Connacht sides. The treble is still alive but it could disappear in an instant.
Kieran Mulchrone believes that Sunday is another monumental task. “It’s a massive game coming up. Ballyheane are a great side, we couldn’t beat them at all last season. Anyone that finishes fourth in the Super League and are in the Connacht Gold Cup final and also in the semi-final of the FCS Cup is a solid team”
The thought of the much lauded treble does cross his mind. “It’s our game going for three-in-a-row, going unbeaten the whole season in all competitions. Celtic have done it before and obviously Ballyheane last season.”
Like Ballyheane goals have not been a problem in their path to the final two. When Ballyheane were breaking records against Hollister, Westport garnered a 12-0 win away to Straide & Foxford B in round one. They were not finished there as they romped home to a comprehensive 11-3 victory against Conn Rangers. They needed extra-time to see off promoted Ballyglass, but the prospect of another battle with Castlebar Celtic was etched into their minds. With everything on the line Westport found that extra edge with the superb Dave Cameron sinking the winner to break Castlebar Celtic hearts.
More of the same on Sunday will do for James Fahy and Kieran Mulchrone, but they know that Ballyheane will bring something to the table and hope to spoil the party.