Four games played, four wins, and 12 points on the table, it has been business as usual for Westport United since the Super League swung back into action in the past number of weeks. The defending champions were always going to be the team that everybody would have to chase, but even as few as four games in they look like no one will be able to step up to the mark to haul them in this season. There nearest challengers at the moment are Ballina Town, a side who really need to deliver the title or some form of silverware this season to give them something to show for their top of the table battling over the past number of seasons. On Sunday the Beleek Park men will host Iorras Aontaithe and if they fail to see off the Erris men they could see Ballina extend their lead at the top of the table from three to six points with only five games gone in the season.
Last weekend the Ballina men made the potentially tricky trip to Quigley Park in Ballyheane and after 58 minutes of action where both sides had the chance to open the scoring, it was left to the precious Michael Duffy to give his side the lead from the penalty spot. Duffy is one of the top strikers in the game in the county and his side will need him to maintain his form all season long if they are to catch the Covies. Duffy grabbed a second goal for his side, along with another from Brendan Lavelle to seal the deal at 3-0.
While Ballina were getting the job done in Ballyheane, Westport were made to fight all the way by their near neighbours Fahy Rovers to come out on the right side of a five goal encounter. In fact for a time during the second half it looked as though Fahy could be in the process of pulling off a major scalp as they led 2-1. But the dismissal of Edward Carolan and Dessie O’Malley’s leveller from the spot spun the game back in the champions favour. Vinny O’Malley opened the scoring for Westport before the break, and it looked like business as usual for United despite never really moving through the gears. Fahy have not been overawed in the Super League this season and they weren’t fazed by going in one down to the champions. And they came out after the break to bag two quick goals, through Richie Needham and Robert Moore. But alas for the Fahy men, once they went down to 10 men and Westport levelled it up there was only going to be one winner, and O’Malley grabbed his second of the game before limping off injured. Things should be a lot smoother for Westport this weekend with joint bottom of the table fellow newcomers Kilmore making the trip to the Sports Park which by all reasonable thinking should be three more points in the bag for the Covies.
While the top two were winning last weekend, Castlebar Celtic and Manulla shared the points after an improbable draw at the end of an eight goal thriller. Celtic somehow managed to lose a 4-1 lead with only minutes left on the clock. Goals from Terry Maughan (2 ), Gary Price, and Keith Hopkins had Celtic flying with Gary Durkan scoring for the visitors in a game which was level at one apiece at the break. But Manulla never gave up and a Roger Clarke inspired comeback where he scored two goals late on was completed by former Celtic player Michael Jennings two minutes into injury time.
This weekend Celtic will be looking to turn things around against Snugboro United on Saturday evening, in Quigley Park. The ‘Boro have a 50 per cent grade so far for the season with two wins and two defeats to their name. But nothing will get the yellow and blue clad side up for a game more than the sight of the green and white hoops of Castlebar Celtic coming to their home patch. While Celtic were giving up a three goal lead late on last weekend, Snugboro were battling it out with Kilmore to edge out a hard fought win over the north Mayo men. Robert Coyne’s late goal was enough for the ‘Boro, but they know a lot more will be needed to see off Celtic. Last weekend’s other action saw Iorras Aontaithe get held one all by bottom of the table on goal difference with Straide and Foxford in Carnenash. It was the Green Road club’s first point of the season, while Iorras have picked up a win, a draw, and a loss in their three games so far this season.
For a full report on the Snugboro United v Castlebar Celtic game on Saturday, see www.advertiser.ie/mayo from 10pm Saturday.