Mayo sides look set for winning starts in Junior Cup

Rugby: Connacht Junior Cup

The first round proper of the Connacht Junior Cup kicks off this weekend, following action in the preliminary round of the competition last weekend.

In the preliminary round Ballyhaunis bowed out, going down 36-3 at home to Corrib in Doctors Road, while Ballina's second string were awarded a victory over OLBC and progressed to this weekend's round of 16. Ballina will face top flight opposition on Sunday at home when they welcome Galwegians to Heffernan Park, but the visitors haven't exactly been ripping up trees this season and sit bottom of the table with just three wins from their nine league outings.

There is an all-Mayo clash in Cloondeash where Castlebar host Ballinrobe on Sunday at 2pm. Castlebar are plying their trade in the top flight this season, having gained promotion last time out, while Ballinrobe are trying to pull themselves out of the J1B league to join them for next year.

The homeside were given a 48-0 pasting by Creggs on their own patch last weekend - their seventh defeat of the season. Staying in the top flight will have been their ambition at the start of the year and they are currently sitting in fifth place, well clear of the bottom two at the moment.

Ballinrobe are currently sitting in third place in the J1B standings, but find themselves 14 points off second placed NUIG in the table. Last weekend in the league they lost 40-6 on the road to Tuam in a refixed game.

Castlebar will go into this one as the favourites to win, but Ballinrobe will fancy their chances of causing an upset against their neighbours.

Westport will be on the road to Galway where they will take on fellow J1A side Monivea on Sunday afternoon. The Covies head into this one on the back of a 24-17 win over Buccaneers last weekend in the league - their fourth league win this season. When these sides met in the league in round four, Monivea won 21-20 and the sides are due to meet again in the league the following weekend in Carrowholly. Westport will expect to pick up the win in this one and make it to the quarter-finals.

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