Crunch month coming up in the Super League

Ballyheane soccer club sponsorship prize draw runner up Mulroy’s Bar. Left to right: Tom Burke (manager), Padraic Mulroe (team captain), Toni Bourke (Mulroy’s Bar runner up), Martin Roche, and Noel Tuffy (treasurer).  Photo: Ken Wright Photography 2010.

Ballyheane soccer club sponsorship prize draw runner up Mulroy’s Bar. Left to right: Tom Burke (manager), Padraic Mulroe (team captain), Toni Bourke (Mulroy’s Bar runner up), Martin Roche, and Noel Tuffy (treasurer). Photo: Ken Wright Photography 2010.

The Super League has been firmly split into two camps for most of the season, and now with only four games to go for the vast majority of the sides the next month will shape the winners and losers. At the top of the table, Westport United, Iorras Aontaithe, and Ballina Town are going at it hammer and tongs for the title, while everyone else from fourth placed Manulla down is battling to beat the drop. It is going to be one hell of an exciting end to the season.

Westport are currently sitting pretty at the top of the division with a three point lead over the men from Erris, with Ballina Town a further two points back. However Brendan Kenny’s men do have a game in hand to be played a some stage, which would whittle Barry Kilgannon’s side’s lead back to three points. To throw some more fuel to the fire, already smoking at the top of the league Westport have to make the trip to Belleek in their third last game of the season. August will see Westport United host Fahy Rovers and Ballyheane, with the Ballina game sandwiched in the middle. They will finish off the season with an away game in September against Castlebar Celtic. Ballina have a five game run-in left, but they have the trickiest end of season run of games. Starting off with Ballyheane at home, facing Westport United at home, and then heading to Carnenash to take on Iorras Aontaithe in successive weekends, with the visit of Swinford to Belleek on the last day of the season. Brendan Kenny’s men also have to fit in a game against Castlebar Celtic at home which was postponed earlier. Iorras Aontaithe have performed very well so far under Michael S Togher, winning 11 of their 14 games. Along with the visit of Ballina Town to their patch, they will host Straide and Foxford United and will make trips to Fahy Rovers and Ballyheane.

Battle at the bottom

While it may be tight at the top, it is nowhere near as tight as it will be come the end of the season when the relegation places are decided. Manulla are the closest side to the top three, in fourth place, a massive 13 points behind third placed Ballina Town. In fact they are closer to bottom of the table Snugboro who they are 17 points clear of than leaders Westport United who they trail by 18 points. The bottom spot is currently occupied by Snugboro United who have a mathematical, if not realistic, chance of staying up on two points. There is a big gap then to Straide and Foxford United who are in ninth place in the table on 11 points, from here on nobody is safe. Only eight points separate fourth place from ninth, with Ballyheane and Fahy Rovers currently in the bottom four with the aforementioned sides. Castlebar Celtic, who have a game in hand, could be counting on that game to see them get enough points to secure their status for next season, while Swinford have performed very well in their first season back up in the top flight. If it comes down to the final day of the season to decided the final placing, Celtic, Ballyheane, and Swinford will be facing sides who could still be chasing the title on the last day also, and make their tasks even harder, while Straide and Foxford would fancy their chances of picking up a win against Snugboro United who should be relegated by then. With Fahy and Manulla battling it out in a game that could mean an awful lot.

Connacht Gold cup last eight

While most of the Mayo League have a weekend off this weekend with catch up games being played in the Premier League, and Divisions 2 and 3, the next major action on the Mayo soccer front is the Connacht Gold Cup quarter finals next Thursday, August 5. Snugboro United will be looking to forget their league form when they host Glenhest Rovers in Conway Park, Partry Athletic will entertain local rivals Ballinrobe Town, Fahy Rovers will welcome Claremorris B to Moneen. The final game in the last eight sees the 2008 winners Straide and Foxford United host Ballyglass. With no side from the top six in the Super League still left in the competition, all eight sides still involved will fancy their chances of picking up a trophy this term.

Claremorris clinch it at the death

Last weekend saw high flying Claremorris pick up their first trophy of the season. The south Mayo men who are riding high at the top of the Premier Division and look well on course to gain promotion this term, came back from the dead twice to beat Iorras Aontaithe B in Milebush in the Tuohy cup final. The side, captained by Fergal O’Connor, were 2-0 inside the opening 16 minutes through goals from Thomas McAndrew and Jason Boylan. They managed to pull the game level thanks to goals from Brian Gallagher and a last minute normal time equaliser from Danny Broderick, but just a minute into extra time, the south Mayo men fell behind again when Boylan scored his second of the game. In the second period of overtime Jan Rada netted with seven minutes left, but the drama was not yet complete. With a minute to go Kevin Costello played in Brian Gallagher who went around the keeper before finishing the ball to the net to seal the win.

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