When the crunch came and Ballina had to see off the champions to retake the top spot in the Super League last weekend, Brendan Kenny’s men didn’t come up short. They had the game wrapped up and the points in the bag with half an hour to go when Eugene Gorman put the ball into the back of the net after a Michael Duffy effort had come back off the post. That goal put the home side into a 3 - 0 lead and Westport were consigned to defeat. The visitors did pull one goal back right at the death through Vinny O’Malley. Westport’s goal ensured that, while Ballina went back to the top of the table, both sides are still level on points, but it is a very slender one goal in the plus column for Ballina Town that keeps them at the summit.
Kenny’s side do have a game in hand and can extend that lead to three points, but taking those points from the game against Snugboro United is no forgone conclusion. So there promises to be a few more twists and turns in the league before it comes to an end. Ballina bagged their first two goals last weekend through Brendan Lavelle, who’s been having a fine season so far for the Belleek Park side.
Iorras keep up the chase
Third place side Iorras Aontaithe also made sure everyone knew that they are still alive and kicking in the league with a 2-0 win against Manulla in Carne Nash. Goals in either half from Chris Barrett and Mick Togher has them five points behind the leaders and, with a game in hand over Westport United, that lead could be cut back to two, when they play their game in hand and see a third horse joining the sprint towards the title.
Castlebar Celtic picked up their third win of the season with a 4-2 win over Kilmore in Celtic Park and in the process pushed Ballyheane back into the bottom three in the table. The sides were level at the break with goals from Russell Gibbons and Cian Costello the decisive factor in the game.
Celtic’s win combined with Ballyheane’s 2-2 draw with second bottom Straide and Foxford United sees the boys from Quigley Park drop into the bottom three. S and F took the lead as early as the third minute through a goal from Ashley Atkinson, but they couldn’t hold on to their lead long after the break when David Sheridan struck back for the home side. The Green Road side, though, weren’t giving up without a fight and with 25 minutes left they retook the lead thanks to a goal from Shane Burke, which looked as though it could really drag the home team into relegation bother, but Alan McHugh rescued a point for Ballyheane a couple of minutes later after he was set free by Chris Maughan.
Celtic go down in five-goal encounter
In the League of Ireland A Championship, Castlebar Celtic went down to Drogheda United in a five-goal thriller despite taking the lead twice in the contest. Ger O’Boyle opened the scoring for Celtic after 10 minutes, before Drogheda hit back on half an hour through Ronan McEntaggart. Peter Dravins had Celtic back in the lead before the break, but that was as good as it got for the Hoops as goals in the 76th minute from Ciaran Hoey and Ryan Brennan in the 84th minute took the points for the wee county men. Celtic now have three games left in their maiden season in the A championship, the first of which is at home to Finn Harps on Saturday week.