The Mayo League announced late last week that they will be scrapping the eight-team divisions from the league, following a three-year experiment with the smaller divisions and moving back to ten-team divisions.
The smaller divisions had caused concern for a number of clubs in the league who felt that a title charge could be halted by a couple of bad results and similarly if a team found themselves in relegation trouble it was very difficult to get out of it as there were only 14 games in the league season. The return to the ten-team divisions will see each team having 18 league games over the season. The decision will also see the number of divisions in the Mayo League being reduced from five to four with the Welcome Inn League Division Two being scrapped. The make up of the divisions will not be finalised until the league has received the club entries for the new season, which are due before Monday, February 10.
Mayo teams make the grade last weekend
On the field last weekend there was a mixed bag of results for the Mayo sides in round four of the Connacht Junior Cup with Ballyheane, Westport United and Castlebar Celtic all making it through to the next round. While Swinford and Iorras Aontaithe both bowed out of the competition while Ballina Town had their game called off and Manulla weren’t due to play until this Sunday.
Westport United made the trip to Ballisodare where they saw off the home-side 3-1 thanks to a brace of goals from the in-form JP O’Gorman, one in either half and a Joe Lawless strike. Westport went into the lead 25 minutes in through O’Gorman’s close range finish. The game was levelled up five minutes later through a Mark McGoldrick strike. But after the break Westport United pushed on and Lawless put his side back in the lead seven minutes into the half with a strong header from a corner. The game was wrapped up eight minutes later when O’Gorman scored after being put through clear on goal.
Castlebar Celtic were made to work a bit harder as they came out on top by the odd goal in five against another Sligo side Mail Coach Road United. The Sligo side took the lead after a looping ball dropped over the reach of Celtic keeper Stephen Cafferkey and Colin Lynch was on hand to apply a simple finish. Ioseph O’Reilly levelled it up a couple of minutes later with a neat finish from a Celtic corner. The same man put Celtic into the lead not long after half time when he headed home a Daire Duffy corner, but Lynch pulled the game level with more than 20 minutes left on the clock. But Celtic ground it out and 13 minutes before time Gerry Hunt grabbed the all important fifth goal in the game.
Ballyheane booked their place in the last 16 of the competition with a single goal victory over Mervue United B in Quigley Park. The Super League runners up were given a stern test by the Galway side and it took a sublime effort from outside of the area by John Kelly in the second half to book their place in the next round.
Iorras Aontaithe almost made it four Mayo teams into the next round of the competition, but they came up just short in the cruellest of ways, losing out to Maree/Oranmore 7-6 on penalties following a 3-3 draw on the day.
Iorras were facing an uphill task as early as the first minute when John Latchford opened the scoring. Michael Togher did pull the game level on the 25 minute mark, but was quickly cancelled out by Alan Barrett. That’s the way it stayed until the very last minute of normal time, when Gareth O’Malley levelled the game up right at the death with a close range finish. The Mayo men then snatched an early extra time lead through Sean Gaughan, however Shane O’Neill then levelled the game up three minutes before the end to send it to penalties. Eamon Carey was the unlucky man to hit the woodwork with his effort and send the Galway side though in the shoot-out.