A win is the only result that will do for Mayo

Best of the best: St Muredach’s Ballina celebrate winning the FAI Schools All-Ireland Post Primary Futsal competition this week. A girls’ team from Davitt College, Castlebar, also reached the finals of the competition. Photo: Sportsfile.

Best of the best: St Muredach’s Ballina celebrate winning the FAI Schools All-Ireland Post Primary Futsal competition this week. A girls’ team from Davitt College, Castlebar, also reached the finals of the competition. Photo: Sportsfile.

The Mayo League Oscar Traynor side will go to McSharry Park in Sligo on Sunday afternoon knowing that only a win will do if they want to progress in the competition this season. A fortnight ago Brendan Kenny’s side played their first game in the competition at home to the Roscommon League and were only able to come away from the game with a draw. However Kenny was happy overall with the performance of his players. “It was a tough game and the lads hadn’t played for a long time,” he said. “We were going into the game soft, having only a few training sessions under our belts. We went behind three times and pulled it back each time which was a positive itself. You can’t doubt the commitment of the lads, you can have the best players in the world but if you don’t have the commitment you won’t win anything. Everyone of them showed pride in the jersey which is something you can’t buy.”

While the result was a disappointment for the Mayo League they still have their destiny in their own hands. “When we go up to McSharry Park they will go in as favourites, that’s for sure, but it’s cup football and if we win we’re through, it’s that simple.”

Kenny is sweating on the availability of a number of key players for Sunday’s showdown. “We’re not at 100 per cent going into it, we have to wait and see on a few players like Danny Scahill, Martin Geraghty, Brendan Lavelle, and Dave Hoban who are all quality players. We’ll be waiting until we see everyone on Sunday to see how we are. But we have a number of good players waiting in the wings who are more than capable of coming in and filling those places if we need to.”

Celtic drop out of A League

The competition to claim the Super League in the forthcoming season was given a jolt in the arm this week with the news that Castlebar Celtic would not be partaking in the League of Ireland A League in the new season. Declan Kilkelly’s side had been in the competition for the past two seasons and their senior side will now drop back down to compete in the Super League. The newly reformed division will have only eight sides in it this term and four of those — current champions Ballina Town, Westport United, Iorras Aontaithe, and now Castlebar Celtic — will all go into the start of the season with the realistic goal of claiming the title. The likes of Manulla, who came fourth last season, and Swinford, who performed very well in staying up last year, won’t be easily beaten. Newcomers to the league this term Claremorris and Ballinrobe Town will be in for a very tough season it seems. “It’s unfortunate, but in the long term interests of the club it was the right decision,” Celtic manager Declan Kilkelly said this week. “In the times that we are in we couldn’t get 20 lads of the quality you need at that level to be able to give a commitment week in week out. We also got wind that the A League will be replaced with an u19 league next season which would have left us in a hard position.”

According to Mayo League and Ballina Town manager Brendan Kenny it’s going to be a very tough competition and probably one of the tightest races in the league in years. “It’s good for the league that Celtic are back in it, it’s going to make things very interesting this year,” he said. “With only eight teams in the league you’re not going to be able to drop many points at all. We won’t be giving the title up without a serious fight. But Celtic, with the experience they’ve had playing at a higher level, will probably start off as favourites. “

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