Connacht Cup final spot up for grabs in local derby

Soccer: Connacht Cup

Key man: Castlebar Celtic's Jordan Loftus has been in good form for the Hoops' recently. Photo: Castlebar Celtic

Key man: Castlebar Celtic's Jordan Loftus has been in good form for the Hoops' recently. Photo: Castlebar Celtic

Just over 11km separates Celtic Park in Castlebar and Manulla FC's home ground in Carramore and this Sunday the Hoops' will make the short hop eastwards, with a spot in the TP Brennan Connacht Cup final up for grabs for the winners.

Celtic have claimed this prestigious title on no less than nine occasions - the last time coming back in the 2002-2003 season, while Manulla have never lifted this title but did make the final of the competition back in the 1987-1988 season. The winners of this Sunday's clash will take on the winners of the the all Galway meeting of Corrib Rangers and Mervue United, who clash in the other semi-final.

Both sides head into the game sitting level on six points in the Mayo League Super League table, but with the caveat that Celtic have only played two league games so far this season, picking up wins over Claremorris and Ballina Town - they also beat last year's Super League champions in the semi-final of this competition in the middle of those two games. They will head into this game a little cold after their meeting with Snugboro United being postponed last weekend, due to a waterlogged pitch.

Manulla warmed up for Sunday's game with a 5-1 win over Claremorris last Sunday, with Jesse Devers grabbing a hat-trick in the win. That win will have been important for them to bounce straight back, after going down 2-1 to Ballyglass the previous weekend, their other league win was a 3-1 victory over Straide and Foxford United in the opening day. Their semi-final was won in extra time against Roscommon outfit Boyle Celtic, with Dan Beya bagging the vital goal in a 2-1 win.

Both sides will be confident of having what it takes to pick up the win - Celtic will be hoping that Jordan Loftus can keep up his impressive run of form, he bagged all four goals in their quarter-final win over Ballina Town and hit two more against the same opponents in a league meeting a week later, while Liam Flatley has also hit the back of the net twice for them in their two league games so far this season.

Devers is Manulla's top scorer in the league, bagging five for his side in three league outings this season with Shea Benson, Chris Maughan, Sean Morrisey and Matthew Nolan all finding the back of the net once each in their three outings.

In the Connacht Shield last four this weekend, Killala are looking to make the final when they host Galway outfit, Glenn Celtic, at 2pm. Kilalla are plying their trade in League One at the moment and currently sit joint top, with two wins from two last weekend they beat Crossmolina 2-1 on the road, to back up their 1-0 win over Partry Athletic on the opening day.

In the Connacht Shield, Killala booked their place at this juncture with wins over Cregmore Claregalway FC, Ballinasloe Town B in penalties and Real Tubber 1-0 after extra time in the quarter-finals. There could still be an all Mayo final in this competition, with Manulla B in the other semi-final against Knocknacarra next weekend.

Connacht Cup fixtures

Sunday, April 21

Connacht Cup Semi-Final at 2pm

Manualla v Castlebar Celtic

Connacht Shield Semi-Final at 2pm

Killala v Glenn Celtic


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