Final push kicks off this weekend

RUGBY: CONNACHT JUNIOR LEAGUE

It has been four weeks since the Mayo sides were in action in the Connacht Junior Leagues, this weekend sees the final leg of the league season kick off as the season hits crunch time and enters its final rounds.

The last round of action in Division 1A before the Christmas break saw Westport do the double over Ballina in the Mayo derbies this year thanks to a 16-3 win in Carrowholly. That win had put Westport into fourth place in the table, just one spot off a place in next year’s All Ireland junior cup. However after a catch up game last weekend Corinthians managed to pull a point ahead of Westport in the table thanks to a 20-18 win over Galwegians. On Sunday Westport will welcome OLBC to Carrowholly in what on paper looks like a banker for the Bulls and a game that could see them pick up a bonus point along with the win against the basement boys who have not managed to win a game all season long. When the sides met in October last year in Galway Westport were 12-6 winners. Westport coach JP Walsh will be hoping to see his side cross the line a few more times on Sunday to get their quest for an All Ireland Cup place back in full tilt.

Ballina face into a real tough battle on Sunday when Galwegians come to Heffernan Park. The north Mayo outfit have found themselves slipping down the table after a decent start and now find themselves just two points in front of seventh place Wegians who are second from bottom in the table. A win is a must for Ballina if they are to keep their noses in front of their opponents on Sunday in the race to avoid a relegation/promotion play-off against the second placed team in Division 1B at season’s end. It is not going to be easy for them with Connemara and Corinthians their last two league fixtures.

Looking to step up

Castlebar will hope that they are the team who will be in that promotion/relegation play-off coming from Division 1B. The Cloondeash side currently sit in third place in the Division 1B table just a solitary point behind Loughrea in second place. Peter Bracken’s side lost out to Creggs by five points last time around, they will be hoping to get back on winning ways on Saturday evening.

Next up for Bracken’s charges is a local derby against Ballyhaunis on Saturday night at home. The last meeting of the sides saw Castlebar come out winners after a titanic encounter by a single point on a score of 22-21 in Ballyhaunis. Castlebar will be hoping to get a bigger win this time around and maybe pick up a bonus point to get themselves ahead of second placed Loughrea in the table. Castlebar’s last two games sees them in another local derby when they taken on Ballinrobe in the next round, before they finish up with current leaders and presumptive division winners Buccaneers coming to town in the last round of games.

The other Mayo side in the division, Ballinrobe, are sitting in fifth place in the table with four wins and seven loss in their column so far this season. On Sunday they are away to table toppers Buccaneers and will welcome Castlebar the following round before they wrap up the league season away to Corrib in their final league game.

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