New season ready to ruck and maul

Rugby: Connacht Junior League

Junior 1A

Westport v Ballina

Sunday, September 20

In Westport at 2.30pm

The only two Mayo sides in the top tier of the junior league will meet on Sunday when they kick off their league seasons. Westport finished off last term with a historic win in the Connacht Junior Cup final and they'll hope to bring that form with them into the new league season and try to press on and challenge for the title. Ballina had a crazy end to last season with points deductions and then reinstatement seeing them tip towards relegation then away from it, and then they almost tore up the script and pushed Connemara all the way in their last game, almost taking the title out of the Galway side's grasp. A exciting afternoon in Carrowholly is in store.

Junior 1B

Castlebar v Creggs

Saturday, September 19

In Castlebar at 7.30pm

Castlebar will go looking to make it back to the big time once again this season after they fell at the final hurdle last term. The Cloondesh based outfit finished in second place in the table last year and had to go into a promotion/relegation play-off against fellow Mayo men Ballina, where they were beaten by four points. They open their season tomorrow night at home to a Creggs side who finished last year 18 points behind them in the table, and a win would get things moving in the right direction for the county town men in their quest for promotion.

Junior 1B

Ballyhaunis v Sligo

Sunday, September 20

In Ballyhaunis at 1.30pm

Ballyhaunis had a very decent league season last year, finishing in fourth place in the table, and the east Mayo men will be looking to make progress on that this time around and push for a promotion place. They finished last year with a 50/50 record, winning seven and losing seven of their league games, and they'll have to push the win ratio a bit further north if they are going to be in with a promotion push. On Sunday they'll welcome Sligo to Doctors Road as the season kicks off and they'll fancy their chances to pick up a win against last year's 1C table toppers, who were promoted to this division after winning their league and then overcoming Ballinrobe in a promotion-relegation play-off.

Junior 1C

Galwegians v Claremorris

Sunday, September 20

In Galwegians at 2.30pm

Claremorris will take their first steps in the junior ranks proper on Sunday when they head south to take on Galwegians in their first ever game in the Junior 1C. The south Mayo outfit only formed in recent years and have done some great work at underage level and more recently at adult level. Last year Claremorris plied their trade at the J2 level and this will be a big step up for them. But it's a massive positive for rugby in Mayo to have another adult side competing at this level.

Ballinrobe's first round game against Dunmore in Junior 1C has been refixed for Sunday, October 4.

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