Division one title race goes down to the wire

Soccer: Masters League

Des Campbell, Manulla is presented with the January Player of the Month in Masters Division One by James Larkin from the  Mayo League at the Mayo Football League Annual presentation Dinner and Awards Night in the Castlecourt Hotel Westport. Photo: Michael Donnelly

Des Campbell, Manulla is presented with the January Player of the Month in Masters Division One by James Larkin from the Mayo League at the Mayo Football League Annual presentation Dinner and Awards Night in the Castlecourt Hotel Westport. Photo: Michael Donnelly

The race for the Masters division one title is going right down to the wire next week as Manulla and Ballina Town sit joint top of the table with just one game to go after Castlebar Celtic shocked the defending champions on Wednesday night.

Ballyhaunis Town started the night off with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Straide & Foxford United. A strong first-half from Ballyhaunis saw them take a 3-1 lead in to the break but United pushed to get back in the game during the second period before running out of time. Both John Browne and Tom Colleran pulled off some great saves throughout. AP Kelly, Ger Slattery, and Karl Lyons hit the goals for Ballyhaunis, who now look safe in the top division for another year, while Michael Costello and Micheal Smyth scored for S&F who are now heading for division two.

In the night’s second game Manulla caught up with Ballina Town following a straightforward 6-2 victory against relegation threatened Westport United. Roger Clarke scored a hat-trick, John Kelly grabbed two, and James Cunningham also hit the net for Manulla. Ger Corrigan and Martin Geraghty delivered goals for a much improved Westport United who now have to win their final two games if they are to escape relegation.

The big surprise came in the night’s final game as Ballina Town, knowing a win would effectively seal a second title in a row, were thrashed 5-1 by a very impressive Castlebar Celtic. Celtic put in an excellent defensive shift and were clearly not willing to let Ballina stroll towards the title. Brian Mannion hit the net three times in a virtuoso performance while Russell Gibbons, playing as a defensive midfielder, and Barry Redmond added the extras. Eugene Gorman, who also missed a first-half penalty, hit Ballina’s only goal of the game.

Division Two was a dead rubber this week with no team having anything to play for other than pride as Swinford ‘B’ secured the title with a round of games to spare.

In the night’s first game Swinford A and Manulla B warmed up for their upcoming cup clash in a highly entertaining game which Swinford won 10-7. The east Mayo side looked comfortable heading for the three points at half-time before Manulla came thundering back into the game during the second period. Late goals secured the win, and second place, for Swinford. Paul Halligan with four, a Piotr Slabik hat-trick, Gavin Groarke double, and a goal for Robert Walsh saw Swinford collect the win. Tom Brett, Tom Cunnane, Darragh Lyons, and doubles for Keith Bourke and Alan Rumley with the goals for Manulla B.

Swinford B collected their trophy and finished off the season with yet another win, this time 7-5 against Conn Rangers. The impressive east Mayo side were good value for their latest win and now have many tipping them for success in the cup competition. The winners goals came from Karol Rushe, John Duffy, Tim Moriarty, and two each for Patrick McDonnell and Jakub Gawalkiewicz, while John Clarke, Eanna McHale, and a Sean Carey hat-trick were the scorers for Conn.

Kiltimagh/Knock United finished their season with a 4-2 win against Mulranny in another cup warm up. Three first-half goals secured the win for United. The goals came from James Carty, Chris Jennings, and two for Colm Kelly, with Conan Dyar grabbing double for Mulranny.

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