Westport moved ahead of rivals Ballinasloe in the race for a place in the All Ireland Junior Cup last weekend, thanks to a comprehensive bonus point win over OLBC in Carrowholly. With two games left to go for both sides, the Mayo side edged their noses in front in the race by a point, while fifth place Corinthians cannot be ruled out yet as they still have three games left and are only three points behind Westport in the table.
Westport secured the win thanks to two tries from Kevin Corcoran along with one each from Liam Scahill, Ed Moran, and Kevin Gill. Next up for JP Walsh’s side is a trip away to a struggling Galwegians on Sunday. The Galway outfit were also in action last weekend against Mayo, where they tasted defeat to Ballina.
The meeting of Ballina and Wegians in Heffernan Park was a battle to avoid the relegation play-off. Ballina went into the game two points in front of their visitors in the table. It was not easy but at the end, Ballina came good to pick up the points thanks to a late Conor Mason try, which was converted by Michael Murphy to put Ballina into the lead for the first time during the afternoon. Ballina trailed 7-3 at the break and were seven points down not long after the turnaround. A converted Alex Quinn try levelled it up, but Wegians got their noses in front again from a place kick from Conor Lownes. But with time ticking down Mason crossed the whitewash for his side’s second try, Murphy converted and then added on another three points from a penalty at the death to secure a seven point win. This weekend Ballina are on the road to Galway where they will face a Corinthians side who are trying to work their way back into contention for a third place finish, but equally could see Ballina pull level with them on points if David Newman’s side can secure the win.
Castlebar push into second spot
It was a good weekend for Castlebar in their chase for a place in the promotion-relegation play-off. Not only did they take care of business on their end picking up a win, their challengers for second spot in the table, Loughrea, ended up on the wrong side of a 18-12 result at home to Tuam.
Castlebar faced down local rivals Ballyhaunis in a rain-swept Cloondeash on Saturday night and thanks to tries from Robbie Cusack and Martin Moran along with five points from the boot of Ronan Conway they picked up a vital three point win. The county town men went in leading 10-0 thanks to Cusack’s try along with a conversion and penalty from Conway. Ballyhaunis cut the gap through a John Swannick try followed by a conversion from Gabriel Gallagher. Castlebar though responded and got a vital try from Moran. The east Mayo men did cross the line once more before the end through Martin Patterson, but Castlebar held firm and picked up the win to push themselves into second place in the table.
This weekend it is another Mayo derby for Castlebar when they hit the road south to Ballinrobe. The hosts of this weekend’s Mayo derby are coming into the game off the back of a 42 point defeat to league leaders Buccaneers. That win has more or less wrapped up the division title for the Athlone based outfit, Castlebar will be hoping they will be able to secure a similar size victory over their near neighbours, with a bonus point win going a long way to ensuring they secure second place. In the final round of league games at the end of February after the cup competitions, Castlebar will host Buccaneers in Cloondeash and they will not want to be going into that game needing a win, they will also be hoping that Creggs can do them a favour and take out Loughrea this Sunday when Loughrea visit The Green in Creggs.