Mayo will make the long trip north this weekend to take on the Inishowen league in their opening game in this season’s Oscar Traynor Trophy. For the second year in a row Castlebar Celtic manager Declan Kilkelly will be taking charge of the side and after narrowly missing out on qualifiying from the group stages last year Kilkelly will be hoping to at least improve on that this season. This year’s competition sees Mayo in a three team group with this weekend’s opponents the Inishowen League and the Galway League and with only one team to qualify for the next round of the competition.
In last year’s competition Mayo looked to have picked up the win over the Ulster men only to conceede a 94th-minute equaliser and scupper their progress to the knock out rounds. This is a must-win game for the Mayo men with the Inishowen League having already played their opening game against the Galway League a few weeks ago and going down 4-2, and a Mayo win in Redcastle on Sunday will set up nicely a winner-takes-all encounter with the Galway League in Milebush next month. Mayo could be without a few players going into the game Snugboro United captain and former League of Ireland player Stevie Gavin will be unavaillable due to prior commitments, while Michael Duffy, Tom O’Connor and Martin Geraghty are all doubtful ahead of the game.
Mayo Squad: Emmet Peyton,Tom O’Connor, Eugene Gorman, Mick Duffy, Stephen Ryan, Ger O’Boyle, Ronan O’Boyle, Andy Neary, Sean McHale, Joe Lawless, Danny Scahill, Dessie O’Malley, Martin Geraghty, Gerry McLoughlin, David Cameron, Paul Walsh, Alan McDonnell, David Reilly,Brendan Nallen, James Jennings.
Westport make open country in FAI Cup
Westport United are back in that old familar surroundings of the nationwide draw for the FAI Cup thanks to a 3-0 win over Ballina Town in the Sportspark last weekend. The home side took the lead around the half hour mark when a Gerry McLoughlin free kick was headed home by Dessie O’Malley in front of a smaller than normal Sportspark crowd. The inclement weather on the day would have put a lot of people off attending this clash of two of Mayo’s big guns. Both sides were slow getting to pace with the procedings after a few weeks without competitve action and five minutes into the second half Westport doubled their lead thanks to Dave Cameron who got on the end of a Dessie O’Malley cross. It was three and easy for Westport United shortly after when Derek Tansey hooked the ball into his own net as he tried to clear a Dessie O’Malley cross.
However, Ballina kept plugging away and with 25 minutes left they had the first of two disallowed goals: Ross Kenny’s goal was disallowed for offiside and shortly after Eugene Gorman’s close-range effort was also disalowed because of the linesman’s flag. Even with time up and the game gone Ballina were offered another chace to get on scoreboard, this time from the penalty spot when Dwayne Helly was taken down. But it just wasn’t Ballina’s day as Eguene Gorman missed not once but twice from the penalty spot. His first effort was saved, but he was allowed to retake it because Westport had encroached on the box and his second effort was blazed over the bar. Westport now head into the open draw of the competition and with plans of repeating their famous triumph of 2005.
Straide and Foxford continue their redemption story
Fresh from their success on the local scene this season, Straide and Foxford made their way into the open draw of the FAI Junior Cup thanks to a comprehensive win over Bangor Hibs at Green Road. The game was marred by an injury to Bangor stalwart Jimmy Flannery who had to be taken away by ambulance. Flannery was injured in an inciednt that led to Straide and Foxford’s opening goal from the penalty spot. Alan McDonnell did the necessary for the home side from 12 yards. Veteran Johnny Jordan made it 2-0 not long after from a Paul Fitzpatrick cross as the home side eased into control in the game. The second half went the same way as the first with Declan Tighe scoring early on to bag the third and Jordan bagged his second to seal the 4-0 win and send Straide and Foxford deep into winter football.
Other local interest this weekend
Apart from the action in the Oscar Traynor Trophy there are a few matters of local interest over the weekend. Mulranny will be looking to make it into the third round of the Connacht Cup when they make the trip to Dunmore Town on Sunday at 2pm. While the last decision to be sorted out in the Mayo League for the 2008 season will take place at the same time in Swinford, when Ballhyeane B and Charlestown Athletic go head to head in a promotion/relegation play-off.