Connacht Cup takes centre stage this Sunday

Soccer: Connacht Cup

It is back to action after the winter break for most of the teams in the Mayo League with a full round of fixtures in the third round of the Connacht Cup down for decision this Sunday. There are 16 Mayo sides still in contention in the cup proper with five sides in the shield competition.

Westport United are coming in off the back of a terrific win over New Ross Celtic in the FAI Junior Cup, and on Sunday they will be making the trip to Green Road to take on fellow Mayo Super League outfit Straide and Foxford United. When the teams met in the same venue back in May in the fifth round of the league Westport United ran out 4-0 winners, but in mid-July the tangerine clad outfit were the team that threw a spanner in the works of Westport’s efforts to have a perfect league season, when they secured a surprise 1-1 draw in the Sports Park. The two points dropped in that game were the only points dropped by the league champions in their whole league campaign.

Castlebar Celtic managed to make it all the way to the final of the cup last year and they will be hoping to repeat that feat and go one better this year. Stevie Gavin’s side open up their Connacht Cup campaign with a trip to Galway city where they will face Knocknacarra. The teams met in the competition last year with Celtic coming out 3-1 winners, but with the Galway outfit in the throes of their league while Celtic will be coming in cold.

Ballina Town finished in third place in last year’s Super League, but the season was far from ideal. The north Mayo outfit are back this year with a new management team and will be hoping to make a dent in the provincial competition as they get ready for the start of the league in spring. On Sunday, they will be at home to Sligo-Leitrim District League side Boyle Celtic who currently sit in third place in the Sligo-Leitrim Super League. They are undefeated in the league so far, but have six games in hand on table toppers Manor Rangers who they trail by 10 points at the moment. Boyle also eliminated Castlebar Celtic from the FAI Junior Cup before Christmas.

Ballyglass will be making the long trip from their central Mayo home to the tip of the county in the northwest to take on Iorras Aontaithe in an all Mayo tie. Ballyglass who gained promotion to the Super League last season will be facing off against an Iorras Aontaithe side who put together a great end of season run of wins to avoid relegation, when it looked lost with only a handful of games left in the league.

Conn Rangers who claimed the Premier A title have a home time on Sunday when Roscommon and District League side Fohenagh FC come to Mount  Falcon. The visitors have been struggling in the Roscommon and District Premier Division and are currently second bottom in the table with only two points coming from two draws in their opening 12 games. Last weekend they lost out to table toppers Ballinasloe Town 1-0 at home. Other Mayo teams who have home ties on Sunday are Achill Rovers, Glenhest Rovers, Claremorris, Moy Villa, Ballyheane and Charlestown Athletic who have a local derby of sorts against Ballaghaderreen from the Roscommon and District League. The other Mayo sides in the third round who have away trips are Partry Athletic, Fahy Rovers, and Bangor Hibs.

In the Connacht Junior Shield, Crossmolina, Newport Town, and Manulla B will all be on the road, while Ballyvarry Blue Bombers and Urlar United will meet in Ballyvarry in an all Mayo clash.

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