Castlebar Celtic are facing into a their opening game of the Newstalk A League this weekend with a injury crisis on their hands. Celtic will be without the services of Shane Hynes, Gary Price, Stevie Gavin, Ashley Stevenson, and Pat Fitzgerald on Saturday due to injury. But more importantly it looks like they will be without goalkeepers Danny O’Leary who has a groin injury and Robert Hennelly leaving them without a recognised number one between the posts. Castlebar Celtic manager Declan Kilkelly told the Mayo Advertiser this week, “ Danny had a great game last weekend against Carlow, but he played with a groin injury, he’s seeing a specialist, but we don’t know if he’ll be able to play any part in the game.” With no recognised goalkeeper available, Kilkelly could be in line for a place between the sticks himself for Celtic. “At the moment it looks like it could be me or an outfield player, but I’d prefer not to have to play, we just have to wait and see for now.”
Even with the large numbers of players missing, Kilkelly is happy that what ever side he puts out will be up to the task. “It’s a problem, but the lads who are there are more than capable of doing the job for us, we’ve got to go with what we have that’s the nature of football.” As for bringing in players for cover, Kilkelly said he will not be doing that right now. “Whatever players we have signed we’ve signed, we can sign from within the club, but we can’t bring in anyone else untill the transfer window opens in June.”
Celtic’s opponents on Saturday, Sporting Fingal, have seen a rapid rise since they were formed a couple of years ago culminating in winning the FAI Cup last season and Kilkelly knows this will be a big challenge on Saturday afternoon. “We’ve to go up there and play our own game, their first team are playing on Friday night so we don’t know who they’ll have available, it’s a tough start in the league no more than next week we are at home to Bohemians, but that’s why we are in this league, to play teams like this.”
Iorras top table after Ballina and Westport draw blank
Iorras Aontaithe went back to the top of the Super League table last weekend thanks to their 3-0 over Fahy Rovers in Carne, combined with champions Ballina Town’s 0-0 draw away to Westport United. Iorras won their game with goals from Shane Nallen, Colin Stewart, and Michael Togher and were even afforded the luxury of missing a penalty from Henry Gaughan. They will get the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table on Saturday night when they host Snugboro United in Carne. Mick Wallace’s men are rooted to the bottom of the table with just a single point from five games. Last weekend Manulla saw them off with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Dessie Campbell in the first half and the clincher in the second half through Barry Cuffee. On Saturday Manulla will look to leapfrog Swinford in the league tables when they travel to the east Mayo side’s patch. Alan Gough’s side were held to a 2-2 draw last weekend by local rivals Straide and Foxford United. Alan Carter opened the scoring early in the first half, but the visitors equalised before the break when a goalmouth scramble saw the ball go in off a stray leg following Neill McNicholas’s penalty save from Paul Moran. Swinford went ahead again when Trevor McDonnell scored early on in the second half, but they were not able to hold on to the lead and a speculative Gerry Gaughan effort saw the points shared. Straide and Foxford this weekend will make the trip to the Sportspark to take on Westport United. The Covies’ played out a 0-0 draw with champions Ballina Town last weekend in a rain affected game, which saw neither side make a potentially early season break for the title. Ballina Town will hope they can get back on the winning path following two draws in their last two games this weekend, when they head to Celtic Park to take on Castlebar Celtic on Saturday evening. Brendan Kenny’s men cannot afford too many more slip ups early season or they could end up struggling to defend their title come the business end of the season. Last weekend Celtic were held to a 2-2 draw by Ballyheane in a local derby, Ballyheane went into the lead twice in the first half through Chris Maughan, but Celtic pulled the lead back both times through Ronan O’Boyle and then Enda McGahon in the second half.