Connacht Gold semi-finals take centre stage this weekend

With the Super League title wrapped up a couple of weeks ago and the FCS Cup also in the bag following a tight win over Ballina Town a couple of weeks ago, Westport United look to further cement their dominance in the game in Mayo by booking their place in the final of the Connacht Gold Cup on Saturday evening. Tomorrow evening’s meeting of the two sides separated by only a few miles, should have a real cup tie feel to it. Westport United will be the hot favourites, while the Clew Bay neighbours will be coming in as complete underdogs looking to upset the apple-cart. Clew Bay United this year have failed to challenge for the top spots in the Premier A (the division below Westport United ) and are instead currently tied in on 10 points with three games left with Bangor Hibs and find themselves only two places off the bottom. However, bottom placed Swinford are only two points behind them and both sides have to meet again on the final day in the league. Tomorrow evening’s clash should be a forgone conclusion, but Clew Bay United will be relishing the chance to put their league problems behind them and go out and have a go at the best in the county.

The other semi-final is a meeting of Castlebar Celtic B and Straide and Foxford United in Celtic Park at 6pm on Saturday. In their last cup outing Celtic B managed to pick up the Westaro Cup, seeing off local rivals Snugboro United in the final 6-5 on penalties after the game finished 1-1 after extra time. Straide and Foxford United may be a division ahead of Celtic B, but they are rooted the bottom of the Super League with only three games to go. They have only picked up one league win all season and this cup run will come as much needed respite for them. The men from Green Road will go into the game with the memory of their last cup win in this competition, only a couple of years ago.

In the Connacht Gold Shield semi-finals, the meeting of Manulla and Iorras Aontaithe will ensure that at least one Super League side will make it to the finals. When both sides met in the league way back in round one in April it finished as 2-2 draw up in Carnenash. Since then it was the men from north Mayo who have had the better run in the league and sit in fourth place in the table, while Manulla are third from bottom. The second semi-final in the shield sees the meeting of Premier A’s top side Conn Ranges and Premier B’s third place team Westport United B. While Conn Rangers will be eyeing the silverware their main objective this year must be promotion to the Super League, and with only three games left they are only one point in front of Ballyheane and Snugboro United who are locked together behind them in the chase for the title. Rangers will be favourites in this game which will form part of a double header with Westport United’s A team cup semi-final in the Sportspark. But even if they lose out to the home side, they will still have plenty to occupy themselves over the coming weeks.

July awards announced

This week has also seen the announcement of the July award winners from the Mayo League. Moy Villa picked up the club of the month award with Hugh Langan picking up the manager of the month. The Super League player award went to JP O’Gorman, Westport United; with Snugboro United’s Kenneth Guthrie the Premier A; Michael Gibbons, Westport United B the Premier B. Partry Athletic’s Ciaran Hennelly won the League One award and Conor Groarke from Kiltimagh/Knock United won the League Two award.

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