Defending Super League champions Westport United’s attempts to keep in touch at the top of the Super League table with Ballina Town suffered a serious blow last weekend, when Castlebar Celtic turned them over in Celtic Park. The Hoops’ 3-2 win combined with Ballina Town’s 8-1 win over Manulla in the last round of games, has left Ballina Town seven points clear of both Westport United and Ballyheane with six rounds left to go.
In last weekend’s Mayo ‘Clásico’ United led twice through goals from Pat Fitzgerald and Martin Geraghty, but they were hauled back first by a Ronan O’Boyle goal and then by Shane Moran to leave things all square with just over 20 minutes left. O’Boyle snatched the points 15 minutes before time after a through ball by Mark Rowland. While the game saw five goals, it also had red cards for Phil Keegan, Stevie Ryan, Andrew Shally, and Dave Hoban over the 90 minutes.
This weekend’s big game is the meeting of Ballyheane and Ballina Town in a repeat of the league cup final from a few weeks ago, where Ballyheane came out on top in tough battle. Sunday’s meeting in Quigley Park should be a cracker, Ballina Town are out for revenge and looking to spoil Ballyheane’s unbeaten run in the league so far this season. Ballina Town worked that league cup final defeat out of their system with an 8-1 hammering of Manulla last time out and will be gunning for Ballyheane on Sunday. But there is one thing last year’s Premier A champions have not been afraid of and it is putting it up to all comers, they may have only won four league games this season, but they have still not been beaten in the other six and will be confident they can hold Ballina Town at bay. Westport United will host Manulla in the Sportspark, when the sides met in Carramore in June, Manulla managed to hold out for a 2-2 draw. They will surely be reeling following their seven goal loss to Ballina last time out, but a win would actually pull them level with Westport United, so compressed is the middle of the table.
Iorras Aontaithe came to Conway Park last week and a battling Snugboro United side sent them home without any of the spoils following a 4-2 win. This weekend Iorras will face a bottom of the table Claremorris side and will be confident of adding three more points to their total of 15 so far this season.
The early kick off on Sunday is the Castlebar derby between Celtic and Snugboro United in Celtic Park. The visitors’ battle to beat the drop was boosted with their win over Iorras last time, but they know that games are running out and they need to keep up the momentum. However facing into a derby game against a Celtic side that have been given a massive bounce following last weekend’s win over Westport could be a challenge they might fall a bit short on come Sunday.
Baba and Hoban in international duty
Castlebar’s Noa Baba was picked for Paul Doolin’s u19 Republic of Ireland squad for a friendly double header next week. The Fulham player will link up with the squad for two games against Slovenia on Tuesday and Thursday next in the RSC in Waterford.
Westport United’s Dave Hoban has been picked as part of the initial Irish junior squad for a quadrangular trophy that will be played in Limerick in October.