In the battle of the Mayo sides in division 1a of the Connacht Junior League it was the Bulls from Westport who came out on top for the second time this season, when they faced Ballina in Carrowholly last Sunday. JP Walsh’s side ran out comfortable 16-3 winners over their north Mayo rivals thanks to a try from David Keane, with Seán Tobin kicking the other 11 points from three penalties and converting Keane’s try. Westport put themselves in front early on and went in leading 10-3 at the break thanks to Keane’s five pointer and two kicks from Tobin, Ballina responded with a penalty from James Coppens but it was the only score they would register on the day. The win sees Westport push six points in front of Ballina with three games left for each side before the end of the league season. The win also puts Westport just three points behind third placed Ballinasloe in the race for place in the Irish junior cup next year.
Castlebar and Ballinrobe both go down
In the second tier of junior rugby in Connacht last weekend, both Castlebar and Ballinrobe went down to defeats, while Ballyhaunis eked out a one point win.
Castlebar’s loss to Creggs is the far most serious defeat of the weekend as it put a serious dent in their chase for a promotion play-off place. Their five point defeat combined with Loughrea’s 29-0 win over Corrib, has seen the Galway outfit jump one point in front of Castlebar and into second place in the table with only three games to go. Simon O’Malley crossed for a try for Castlebar while Ronan Conway kicked a penalty, but Creggs had too much for Castlebar with Ger Heneghan kicking a drop-goal, penalty, and conversion to go with a David Brandon try to seal the win.
When they get back to league action in the new year, Castlebar have winnable games at home to Ballyhaunis and away to Ballinrobe, before they face table-toppers Buccaneers in Cloondeash on the last day of the season that could decide their fate for next year.
Ballinrobe were well beaten by Tuam last weekend in north Galway, as the home side ran in four tries, while Ballinrobe managed to cross the line only once in a 26-5 win for Tuam.
Ballyhaunis caused a bit of a surprise last weekend when they inflicted just the second loss of the season on table toppers Buccaneers, when they edged out the midlands outfit 9-8 in east Mayo. Kieran McDermott was the main man as he kicked three penalties to take the win.
Castlebar are Connacht’s scrum queens
The Castlebar Women’s side retained their Connacht Women’s League title thanks to an impressive 19-8 win over Buccaneers in Ballyhaunis last Sunday. Castlebar built their win on a strong defence and the ability to take their chances when they came, as the ran in two tries before the break to go in leading 12-0. Emma Doyle was the first to cross the line to score an intercept try, with Kayleigh Hopkins going over in the corner a short time later to make it 12-0, Darwyn O’Halloran had converted the earlier try. Castlebar wrapped things up in the second half when Ursula Sammon touched down for their third try after a great break from her own half.
Connacht junior cup draw made
The draw for the first and second round of the Heineken Junior Cup was made last week, with the division 1a sides not entering the competition until the second round, there were three Mayo teams in the hat for round one. Ballyhaunis and Castlebar received byes into round two, while Ballinrobe were paired at home to Tuam in a game due to take place on Sunday January 25. In the second round the following week, Westport will be away to OBLC, Castlebar at home to Ballyhaunis, Ballina at home to Galwegians, and if they see off Tuam, Ballinrobe will be away to Creggs.