There may be concerns voiced form players and managers about the length of their season in Mayo soccer circles, but the progress of Mayo sides in national and provincial competitions to the latter stages continues, even though they should be in off season. This weekend Westport United are looking to round off their season, or if you look at it another way, kick start it with victory in the Connacht Senior Cup on Saturday. With the Super League only a couple of weeks away United will take on Athenry in Milebush Park on Saturday evening in the final of the eight strong competition for the best of the best in the province.
It’s a flick of a coin whether you look at it as a beginning or an end according to Westport manager Padraig Burns. “You can either look at this game as either the a great way to start our season or to finish it, but the flip side is if we lose it’s not going to be good either way.” United will be going into the game with a clean bill of health, something that Burns is happy to see. “For the first time in a long time everybody is fit and ready for action, with no doubts about anybody. It has been a while since we had that and we are happy to finally have that situation.”
Westport keep on moving
The whole issue of the never ending season, while not ideal, is something that Burns isn’t overly concerned with as he explained. “You can’t play forever, at some stage you are going to have to stop playing, but until then you keep playing and enjoying it, because some day you are not going to be playing at this level anymore and the lads we have here love playing football. When you are winning and doing well in competitions like this you have to be able to enjoy it.”
Enjoying the game is one thing, but winning trophies is what Westport United is all about. They have claimed the last two Super League titles and will be looking to make it three out of three once the season kicks off for them in Mayo, but Burns knows what they will be up against it when their face the premier side in Galway junior soccer on Saturday evening. “They have won two Galway league titles and two Connacht Junior cups, along with getting to the final of the FAI Junior Cup in the last couple of years, that shows the class they have, but we are not going to be afraid of them at all. We know that we can win this game and we’ll be going out to win, there’ll be respect from both sides in regards to each other’s ability. I’m expecting a tough game where there will be very little in it.”
While the Connacht Senior Cup has only a handful of clubs allowed to enter, Westport United have a lot of respect for this competition. “People might say that it’s not much of a competition because there are only eight sides in it. But those eight sides are the best of the best out there in the province. We’re going out to win it, this is probably the biggest game for the club since the FAI Junior Cup final in 2005 and we are going out to win the cup.”
Celtic pick up second win on the road
Castlebar Celtic shook off their home defeat to Finn Harps at the start of the month in the Newstalk League of Ireland A League last weekend, to pick up their second away win of the season against Tullamore Town. They beat the Offaly side 2-0 thanks to goals from Peter Dravins and Chris Rowland and now look forward to a local derby with Galway United on Saturday, May 16 at 7.30pm in Celtic Park.