Ballina Town left it late on Saturday evening to claim their third win on the bounce in the Elverys Sports Super League, but they were full deserving of their 2-1 win away to Castlebar Celtic in Celtic Park. The game was delayed for just under 45 minutes early in the first half when Ballina Town full-back Dara O’Boyle twisted his leg badly on the clubhouse side of the ground and had to be removed by ambulance from the pitch. The game was further held up when referee Martin Regan wasn’t happy with the pressure in the match balls on a number of occasions in the first half, which ended just 25 seconds shy of an hour and a half after it kicked off.
At the break, it was the home-side who were leading when Paul Fitzpatrick latched on to a long ball up the park from Ger O’Boyle and pulled on the half-volley from the edge of the area to give Mark Duffy no chance in the Ballina Town goal in what was the 71st minute of the half. The first half was a pretty average affair with neither side really creating too much bother for either goalkeeper as the long lay off in the game seemed to effect the teams.
The second half saw Ballina Town really take the game by the scruff of the neck and go for Celtic, six minutes into the half Town winger Darragh Quinn found the back of Mark Benson’s net to level the game up. Dylan McKee whipped the ball in from the wing, Quinn looked certain to score, but Benson pulled off a fine save to deny him. But the rebound fell straight into the path of the Ballina number seven who made no mistake second time around.
Daniel Gorman should have put Ballina Town into a 2-1 lead ten minutes later when he’d a free header but Benson once again stood firm and kept the header out, the rebound feel to Dwyane Helly who heded his effort off the bar from close range with an empty goal begging for the ball to be put in. Celtic played the final 25 minutes for the game with ten men after Eamon Crean was sent off for a second yellow card and it looked like it was there for the taking for Ballina, but the Celtic rearguard held firm in the face of numerous attacks from the visitors. But with three minutes to go the dam finally gave way and Quinn grabbed his second goal of the evening. A long speculative ball was missed by the Celtic defence and Quinn nipped in around the back and slotted the ball to the back of the net to seal the points. Or so it seemed as Celtic went for broke and on two occasions they almost found the back of the net. First up Paul Moran who just pulled his effort past Duffy’s post. Then in injury time the Ballina custodian tried to clear the ball downfield instead over just putting it over the sideline to safety. The ball fell to Ger O’Boyle who let fly a rasper of an effort that just missed the target with Duffy back peddling and out of position to save the ball.
Castlebar Celtic: M Benson; B McLoughlin, E Crean, A Wahab, G O’Boyle, I O’Reilly, C Nevin, J McGurran, P Moran, G Hunt, P Fitzpatrick. Subs: L Irwin, M Roche, M Howley.
Ballina Town: M Duffy; D O’Boyle, D Helly, B Higgins, E Gorman; D Quinn, D Gorman, N Leahy, J Cawley; D McKee, S Moyles. Subs: D McNicholas, A Brennan, M Birrane
Westport United comeback at the death
In a game full of late drama in Pat Quigley Park on Saturday night, Westport United managed to turn a 2-1 defecit into a 4-1 win in injury time. United had gone 1-0 up in the first half, but midway through the second half the homeside pulled level and then pushed in front. But somehow the visitors managed to find the back of the net three times in the closing stages to pick up the win. On Sunday afternoon, Ballyglass picked up their third win on the bounce witha comprehensive 6-0 win away to Conn Rangers, while Charlestown Atheltic also struck six when they saw off Straide and Foxford United 6-1.