Win or bust for Ballyhaunis and Straide & Foxford United on Sunday

Soccer: Mayo League

Photo: Sportsfile

Photo: Sportsfile

The meeting of Ballyhaunis Town and Straide & Foxford United on Sunday in this relegation play-off is a cup final that didn't look like it would be needed as the final few frantic minutes of the regulation Super League season ticked down.

Ballyhaunis saw off Ballyheane 1-0 and Straide & Foxford United looked down and out trailing Manulla - but Johnny Jordan showed all his experience to bag the tenth goal of the game deep in injury time to grab his side draw and set up Sunday's play-off, where the loser will drop down to the Premier Division for next season.

Both sides finished up on 11 points at the end of the season with the east Mayo side on paper looking to have the marginally better season, winning twice and drawing five games, while Straide and Foxford United won three times and drew twice losing 13 - two more than Ballyhaunis.

However, crucially, the Green Road men picked up a vital win over Ballyhaunis midway through the season in a period that saw them pick up seven points in four games with a win over Ballyheane and a draw against Ballyglass - that run of points gave them something to fight for after a disastrous start to the season that saw them lose ten in a row.

They were also able to turn it around again near the end of the season, seeing off relegated Snugboro United and drawing on the final day to set up Sunday's showdown. For Ballyhaunis Town after coming up as runners-up in the Premier Division last season, survival was the main goal for them this season and they are still in with a good shout.

They have had a solid enough introduction to top flight football and could have and probably should have taken a few more points than they did over the course of the season if they were more experienced. It has been an education for the Station Rise side and if they manage to keep their necks above the water on Sunday and hold on for a second season in the top flight they will be all the better for it - but it is going to be a tough ask on Sunday against a battle-hardened Straide and Foxford side.

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