With the Connacht Junior League taking a break this weekend after the first couple of rounds of games got the paddocks across the province muddied up for the rest of the season, it will give the Mayo sides involved a chance to regroup and get their game plans down for the remainder of the year. With five rounds of the league gone so far Westport are the best placed Mayo side and sit in sixth position in the league tables on 12 points with two wins from five. They sit a point ahead of Castlebar thanks to the four bonus points they have picked up. Castlebar, despite having won the same number of games and picking up a draw, trail their near neighbours because they have only managed to pick up a solitary bonus point in their five outings.
Ballina are picking up the rear of the Mayo pack in ninth place with one win and four defeats, but they have picked up three bonus points from their outings. The league looks well out of reach of all the Mayo sides at this stage with Sligo streaking ahead at the top of the table with 21 points and a 100 per cent winning record. The Sligo men picked up their fifth win of the season last weekend away to Castlebar in Cloondeash with a hard fought 20-16 win over the county town side. On a far from ideal day for rugby, Castlebar were looking to pick up the points after going down to Our Lady’s Boys Club last weekend, but it was not to be. Robbie Cusack opened the scoring early on from a penalty for the home side, but a quick response from the visitors saw Billy Leahy touch down in the corner. But Castlebar were up for a fight and Cusack put them back in the lead with his third penalty attempt of the game shortly after. Things seemed to have swung their way when Nigel Byrne was able to break the tackle and touch down under the posts, which Cusack converted to put them 13-5 up. Sligo, though got a vital score before the break when Paddy Pearson converted a penalty to cut the gap to five at the break.
Cusack extended the lead again from a placed ball after a severe amount of pressure on the Sligo line failed to yield a five-pointer that would have firmly pushed the contest in Castlebar direction. But Sligo, weren’t going to give up their 100 per cent record easy and Pearson got over for a try to put the game back in the melting pot and the pressure on Castlebar. The pressure became too much as the game ticked into it’s final quarter and Cathal Culhne got in to touch down a push over by the Sligo pack and with that the game was up for the home men.
Ballina crushed by resurgent Corrib
Corrib put their midweek misery behind them in Headford last weekend when they ran riot against Ballina running out 25-point winners over the visitors. They managed to cross the try line five times and outscored their opponents by more than 20 unanswered points in the second half. The game looked to be nicely balanced at the median whistle with the Mayo/Galway border side leading by 10-7 thanks to tries from Thomas Lee and Darragh Hughes, with the Ballina scores coming from an Andy Moynihan conversion of a Aidan McNulty try. However, the balanced second half that was expected and hoped for never materialised as Corrib cut loose with ferocious intensity with Alan Bane, Ronan Casey and Mike Monahan all touching down with tries, while Eric Flynn did the business from the placed balls. Ballina will have to work on their defence over the break as they have conceded 11 tries in their five games so far while only crossing the line five times themselves.
Westport falter again
Three out of three for Westport, but the three is in the wrong column for the Bulls. For the third week in a row they went down by less than seven, but that will be of cold comfort to the Bulls. The lack of cutting edge when crossing the line cost them dear against a second place Corinthians side in Carrowholly last weekend. Eddie Walsh hit five placed kicks with Lee Keegan adding another three pointer but the Galway side ran in three tries from Kenny Diffenthal, Mick Flemming and Kieran Dunne, and tries win games as the Corinthians’ trio of five-pointers was the basis of their win.