Mayo clubs back in junior cup action

After the cold weather put paid to most football across the county since the middle of December eight Mayo sides will be back in action in round four of the FAI Junior Cup this Sunday. There are four games down for decision between eight Mayo teams. Super League champions Ballina Town, who after claiming to titles in a row will be looking to make a dent on the national stage, will make the trip to Carnenash to take on Iorras Aontaithe in what should be a tight encounter. While Ballina Town were deserving league champions the men from Erris pushed them all the way along with Westport United finishing only four point behind back in third place. When the sides met back in June Ballina won 4-1 in Belleek and the sides played out a seven goal thriller in Sunday’s venue in August with Brendan Kenny’s side coming out 4-3 winners en route to the title.

Another all top division clash is the meeting of league runners up Westport United and Manulla in the latter’s home ground on Sunday. Westport United have had a love affair with this competition for a number of years now, but they will have to work hard on Sunday if their going to take the win back to the Sportsground with them as Manulla are more than capable of taking a big scalp in a one off game. Manulla did finish a long way off Westport in the league table, but they still finished in a comfortable fourth position. When the teams met in the same venue on July 10, Westport ran out 4-0 winners with ease. It was worse for Manulla in the return fixture with Westport who were chasing the title hard, putting five past them only 12 days later.

Castlebar Celtic and Ballyheane will get to grips in a local derby in the third of the four games down for decision. Celtic who struggled for parts of the season, but still managed to produce the goods when needed will go into the game as favourites against their local rivals. Celtic finished the league in fifth position and clear of the relegation zone much to their relief, while Ballyheane got stuck in the relegation quagmire early on and never were able to pull themselves clear of battle and eventually went down, winning only four of their 18 league games. The final game in the FAI Junior Cup pits Mayo League new boys Ballyhaunis Town, who claimed the old division three title by three points in their first season back in the Mayo League last year, and Kiltimagh/Knock United. While Kiltimagh/Knock United were playing two divisions higher than Ballyhaunis, they managed to pick up only four wins all season and finished in third last place. Ballyhaunis Town will be on a high from last season and will not fear their opponents, and a win here for them would not be surprising.

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