The recent Bank Holiday weekend saw time off for the majority of teams across the county, with the exception of Castlebar Celtic’s visit to Ballina Town in the Westaro Cup and the Super League clash of Iorras Aontaithe and Westport United.
In the Westaro Cup quarterfinal clash at Belleek Ballina Town proved too strong for Celtic with a comprehensive 4-1 victory. The visitors took the lead after half an hour, despite losing Jason Hunt to an early red card, when Cathal Coyne put them ahead. The second-half was all Ballina however, as Duane Helly, Dylan McKee, Brendan Lavelle, and Jamie Cawley struck to send Town into the last four.
At Carne Nash, Iorras Aontaithe are still looking for their first win after Westport United earned a 3-0 victory on Saturday evening. Brandon Scahill doubled his tally of goals for the season as he hit his first hat-trick for the senior side in a battling performance from John Russell’s side. The win moved Westport level on points with second place Straide & Foxford United and set them up perfectly for next Sunday’s big derby clash with Castlebar Celtic.
Meanwhile, in the Tuohy Cup Swinford progressed to the final four courtesy of a 2-0 win over east Mayo rivals Ballyhaunis Town thanks to goals from Joe Slevin and Neil Fallon.
The draws for the semifinals of all four league cup competitions also took place last weekend. In the Westaro Cup Ballina Town will play Ballyglass and Straide & Foxford United will host Manulla, those games take place on July 8. Snugboro United will host Conn Rangers and Swinford face Achill Rovers in the last four of the Tuohy Cup on July 1.
In the Tonra Cup Ballina B clash with Manulla B while Crossmolina have a north Mayo derby against Killala on June 24, and in the McDonnell Cup Hollister host Claremorris B and Ballyvary Blue Bombers travel to Ballina United on June 17.
There is a full round of fixtures in the Super League this weekend with the pick of the bunch being Sunday’s local derby between Castlebar Celtic and Westport in Celtic Park. Westport moved into joint-second place in the table with last weekend’s win over Iorras, while Celtic will still be smarting from their recent reversal against S&F in Green Road which has left Michael McNicholas’ side with a mountain to climb in the league. These games can take on a life of their own and do not be surprised if there are plenty of goals, but with Liam Flatley and Jason Hunt both missing for Celtic, the big question will be who leads the line.
Also on Sunday there is a bottom of the table clash when Kiltimagh/Knock United make the long trip to face Iorras Aontaithe. If the north Mayo men are to have any chance of a great escape this season they need to pick up points here, but with their recent form, just one point from their opening eight games, it is hard to see that happening.
The top two clash in Belleek on Saturday evening when Straide & Foxford head to top of the table Ballina Town in a game with huge consequences for the season. If United win they move level with their Northern neighbours but if Mick Duffy can keep his side’s unbeaten run going they will take a huge step towards claiming the title for the first time in four years. United’s recent win over Castlebar Celtic will have them on a high, and Ballina certainly will not be taking them lightly, but with Benny Lavelle in his current form they are favourites for this clash.
Ballyglass face Ballyheane and Claremorris host Manulla in two games which will have far reaching consequences in the battle to avoid a relegation battle later in the season. Whoever picks up three points from these two games will give themselves some breathing room as we head towards the halfway mark in the 2018 season.