Celtic bow out of Connacht Cup as Ballyheane go top in Super League

Soccer: Mayo League

Photo: Sportsfile

Photo: Sportsfile

Castlebar Celtic's hopes of making it to the Connacht Junior Cup Final were dashed by Ballinasloe Town last weekend in a re-fixed game that was abandoned the week before due to horrendous rain making the pitch unplayable, when Celtic were 2-0 up at half-time.

The conditions couldn't have been any different seven days later when the sides played out a hard fought encounter in blistering sunshine in Celtic Park, but it was the visitors who emerged victorious this time, winning 2-1 after extra time.

The Hoops took the lead just after the quarter of an hour mark when Oran Groarke made his way in behind the Ballinasloe defensive line and pulled a low cross back across the pitch into the path of Jordan Loftus who steadied himself before firing it low to the bottom right and corner of the net from 20 yards out.

Celtic did create a few more chances to try and double their lead in the opening half, but were unable to do so and were punished by their guests when Jordan Carr levelled the game up ten minutes into the second half after some good work by Des Hope in the build up play.

There wasn't to be another goal before the end of the prescribed 90 minutes of action and the game headed to extra time where Ballinasloe Town struck early doors when Carr doubled his tally for the day at the back post after Liam Lynch and Gary Egan combined well in the lead-up to the goal.

It will be a bitter loss for Celtic having led the original fixture 2-0 when it was called off, but the Hoops will be ready to roll and try and wrestle back the Super League title at home when they get back to league action in the near future.

The defending Super League champions Ballyhane moved themselves back to the top of the standings after six games, but with Westport United having a game in hand over them and sitting just two points behind them and Castlebar Celtic with two games in hand six back - the battle for the top is still very early in its rounds of action.

Last weekend saw Ballyheane welcome Ballina Town to Quigley Park and they emerged victorious on the right side of a five-goal thriller. The champions were 2-0 up at the break thanks to goals from Dara Sudden and Nathan Reilly-Doyle and when Sen Kilcoyne pushed them three clear after the break it looked like the game was done and dusted as a contest. But the north Mayo men had other ideas with veteran striker Benny Lavelle getting two goals on the spin for Ballina and putting just one between the sides. Ballyheane were able to hold on and pick up three points and their fourth win from six this season to date.

Westport United and Manulla who are occupying second and third place in the table respectively at the moment, had to share the spoils last weekend when they drew 1-1 in Carramore after the end of a tight encounter. There was no score in the first half and the visitors took the lead just before the hour mark through Kevin Kitterick after Dylan Duane played the ball over the top into his path. The hosts though battled back and with 15 minutes left on the clock, Aiden Dunleavy picked the ball up and drove in from the left hand side before hammering a powerful shot past Gary Cunningham to level it up and secure the point for the hosts.

The East Mayo derby in CMS Park between Kiltimagh-Knock United and Ballyhaunis Town finished all square and leaves both sides on seven points from six games after an exciting encounter. The visitors took the lead through Gary Higgins just before the break when he struck the ball home from the penalty spot. The hosts were then reduced to ten men early in the second half and Andy Cunnane doubled the lead for the 'Town and looked to have them heading to victory. But Kiltimagh-Knock United weren't throwing in the towel that easy and they were able to cut the gap back to a single goal midway through the half thanks to a Darragh Hanlon goal before Dan Duffy grabbed a point for his side with an excellent finish from the edge of the area late on.

Having been pointless up to last weekend, things were looking bad for Claremorris, but they gave their season a massive kick-start with a big 5-2 win over Straide and Foxford United in Concannon Park last weekend. Ryan McLoughlin put them in front early doors, then Nathan Ring doubled their lead with a fine finish and Simon Butler made it three, ten minutes before the break, for the homeside. Claremorris added two more goals early in the second half through McLoughlin's second of the day and a Johnny Heneghan header to go 5-0 up. The visitors did pull two goals back before the end through Johnny Cocozza and Paul Fitzpatrick, but it was too little too late as Claremorris picked up their first win of the league season.

 

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