Manulla crash out while Ballina pull off big win

Soccer: Mayo League/Connacht Cup round-up

Pass the ball: Action from Sunday's Connacht Cup clash between Manulla and Corrib Celtic. Photo: CG

Pass the ball: Action from Sunday's Connacht Cup clash between Manulla and Corrib Celtic. Photo: CG

Manulla exited the Connacht Junior Cup at the fifth round stage on Sunday in Carramore, when they lost 3-1 to visitors Corrib Celtic.

The Galway side raced into an early 3-0 lead and despite the best efforts of a battling Manulla side in the second half they just couldn’t find a second goal that would have given them a fighting chance of sending the game into overtime. Mike O’Malley opened the scoring early on when he finished off a Shane Concannon cross. A well rehearsed set-piece move saw Conor Keady pick out Keith Greaney at the back post and full back slotted the ball past Matthew Flanagan with the Manulla defence all at sixes-and-sevens. With 20 minutes left in the half it was game over when the Corrib Celtic number ten Shane Concannon drove the ball to the back of the net for number three and it looked like it would be long and painful afternoon for Manulla.

But credit to the homeside who at half-time switched to a 3-4-3 formation and brought on Shane Durkan and Enda McGahan uptop. The change worked with Durkan adding a focal point in attack and McGahan buzzing around the place. Gary McHale smashed home a goal just four minutes into the second half, just after Mattie Nolan had come close a minute earlier. Not long after McHale’s goal, McGahan very nearly brought the game back to a single goal contest when his free from the left hand-side of the box hit the bottom of Neil Joyce’s post and away to safety. Manulla kept the foot down for the rest of the half with both Durcan and McGahan coming close but they just couldn’t find the break through they needed.

Iorras Aontaithe are the last Mayo side left in the competition and they will take on Mervue United in the last eight on Sunday, April 26.

Ballina topple champions on day one

After going the entirety of last season unbeaten, Westport United suffered defeat on the opening day this year when a rejuvenated Ballina Town saw them off 2-0 in Heffernan Park in Belleek on Sunday. Dwayne Helly opened the scoring when the centre-half got his head on a corner from Jamie Cawley after just two minutes. Westport came close with Dave Hoban having a goal ruled out a few minutes later and Colm Keane just missing the target. Just before the hour mark Ballina made it 2-0 when Jamie Cawley found the net after some quick thinking play involving Eugene Gorman and Darragh Quinn. It’s not the result that new Westport United supremo John Brennan would have hoped for and there’s still a long, long way to go in the league. But for the league overall the result can only be a good thing as other sides look to challenge the dominance of Westport United in the division.

Iorras Aontaithe who finished last years league in title contention form brought that form with them to the new season on Saturday night. The made the long trek to Mount Falcon in this all north Mayo clash and went home with three points in the bag thanks to a Pete McArthur goal in the second half when he finished form close range to break the heart of the Conn Rangers crowd who had come along to support their men on their return to the Super League. Conn Rangers did have a chance to grab a point deep in injury time when they got a penalty but Owen McNamara saw his spot kick saved by Harry Reilly. Ballyglass pulled off a big win in Celtic Park on Saturday night when they saw off the home side 2-0 to get their season up and running with JP O’Gorman getting in on the scoring act for the Candystripes.

There was just one game that ended in a draw in the Super League at the weekend and that was the meeting of Ballyheane and Straide and Foxford United in Pat Quigley Park. Both sides had a couple of chances in the game, but neither could break the deadlock. Round two of the Super League will take place this coming weekend over both Saturday and Sunday.

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