Back to league action for Mayo sides after cup adventures

Rugby: Connacht Junior League

Driving on: Castlebar booked their place in the semi-final of the Connacht Junior Cup last weekend. Photo: Castlebar RFC

Driving on: Castlebar booked their place in the semi-final of the Connacht Junior Cup last weekend. Photo: Castlebar RFC

It's back to the league action this weekend for the two Mayo sides, Castlebar and Ballinrobe, who booked passage to the final four of the Connacht Junior Cup last weekend.

Top flight side, Castlebar, will be looking to continue their winning run in league and junior cup action since early December, which has seen them win four games on the bounce in both competitions. The county town men will be on the road to bottom-of-the-table side Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon and will be expecting to continue their drive towards the top reaches of the table.

In their last two league games, Castelbar beat Monivea 18-13 at home and backed that up with a big 31-15 win on the road to local rivals Westport after Christmas - since then they have seen off Tuam 17-14 in the last 16 of the junior cup and then last weekend had six points to spare over Corrib in the quarter finals, with Gareth Dunne and Mark Staunton touching down for tries, while Damien Togher added a penalty and conversion and Dunne also split the posts from a penalty kick.

When the sides met in the league back in round four in October, Bucaneers ran out 21-15 winners in Cloondeash - a result that Castlebar will be looking to reverse this time around.

The other Mayo side in top division action this weekend is Westport - who will be looking to put a run of three losses in a row in both league and junior cup action behind them, when they travel north to take on Sligo.

In their last two league games they were beaten 18-17 at home by Monivea and again by Castlebar 31-17, while they exited the junior cup at the hands of Creggs, who saw them off on a score of 16-9 in the last 16 round of the cup.

When the sides met last in the league in round four back in October, Westport won 27-14 at home and it is a result they will be hoping to repeat against the seventh placed side in the table.

Fresh from their cup heroics, Ballinrobe will get back to basics this weekend in the league when they welcome near neighbours, Corrib, to The Green on Sunday afternoon. Last weekend an extra-time drop goal from Steven Conroy saw Ballinrobe home against the odds away to Buccaneers in the quarter-final of the junior cup in an 8-11 win. Conroy kicked a first half penalty and Thomas Lynagh touched down for a vital try in that win.

Despite their heroics in the cup, Ballinrobe find themselves at the foot of the table in the J1B division, with just two wins from their eight games so far - but the gap to fifth placed Galwegians is just five points and they will be looking to keep up their recent winning ways this weekend when Corrib come calling. The Galway/Mayo border side currently sit in third place in the table and when the sides met in December, Corrib ran out 13-8 winners in Headford.

Also in action this weekend in the second tier, will be seventh placed Ballina, who will be on the road to Galwegians, just two points and two places separate the sides in the standings. Ballina have won two from nine games so far in the league, when the teams met in the league 'Wegians ran out 28-22 in Heffernan Park.

In the J1C division, Ballyhaunis are involved in a close battle at the top of the table, with seven games played by most sides, just two points separate league leaders Ballinasloe and Ballyhaunis in fourth spot. This weekend, Ballyhaunis will be on the road to sixth place Corinthians, the east Mayo men have won four from seven in the league and in their last two league outings before Christmas, they beat Ballinasloe 13-6 at home before losing 19-14 to Carrick-on-Shannon. In the last 32 of the junior cup they saw off Galwegians 13-3 before they lost 31-14 to Corinthians in the last 16.


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