Divisional cups kick-off this weekend

SOCCER: WESTARO CUP

After the first four rounds of action across the different divisions in the Mayo League wrapped up last weekend the attention for all concerned turns towards the divisional cups this weekend with a full round of action in the Westaro, Tonra, Tuohy, and McDonnell cups. In the top division cup the meeting of Castlebar Celtic and Westport United pits the traditional big two together for the first time this season (Charity Shield aside ).

United who won everything on offer last season, have bounced back from their opening round defeat to Ballina Town to pick up three wins on the bounce since. Last weekend they saw off Manulla 4-1 in the Sportspark with Phil Keegan grabbing a brace and Dave Hoban and Darren Browne chipping in with one each. Celtic's local derby against Ballyheane was called off due to a waterlogged pitch last weekend. The Hoops have had a disjointed start to the season, losing on the opening day to the surprise outfit Ballyglass at home, before putting seven past Straide and Foxford United and then going down to Ballina Town at home. Along the way they also lost the services of manager Stevie Gavin who stepped down after their solitary win. The champions also have a new man in charge this season in the shape of John Brennan, and have found their feet again quickly after their opening day defeat and will be deserved favourites to taken the win on Sunday.

Ballyglass, who have taken to the Super League like a duck to water upon their return, will host a struggling Straide and Foxford United on Sunday afternoon in their round one clash. The Candystripes' 2-1 win at home against Iorras Aontaithe last weekend was their fourth win on the bounce since their return to the Super League. Tom Connolly's side have been the really interesting story of this year's Super League in the opening weeks. With wins over Castlebar Celtic, Charlestown Athletic, Conn Rangers, and most recently Iorras Aontaithe they have been in flying form scoring 15 goals and only conceding two. On Sunday, they will face a Straide and Foxford United side that will be kicking themselves after they let a 3-0 lead slip last weekend against Conn Rangers at home. The Green Road side have shipped heavy defeats to Castlebar Celtic and Charlestown Athletic this season, while they picked two draws against Ballyheane and in last weekend's game. It is hard to see this clash going any other way than a win for the home-side.

On Saturday evening, Manulla and Charlestown Athletic will meet in Carramore with both sides coming into the game having lost by three goals in their last outings. Manulla were beaten by Westport United, while Charlestown Athletic were seen off 3-0 by Ballina Town in Belleek Park. The home side have two victories in their win column for the season so far, while the visitors have just the single win so far in the league. When the sides met in a re-fixed round one game a fortnight ago in Charlestown, Manulla put them to the sword running out 5-0 winners in some style and they will be favourites to progress again this weekend.

Conn Rangers will have taken great heart from their Lazarus like performance last weekend when they came from 3-0 to snatch a draw against Straide and Foxford United thanks to Johnny Cocoza's goal five minutes from time. That was their first point of the season and they will hope to use it as a springboard going on. On Saturday evening they will host Ballyheane in Mount Falcon. The visitors are also sitting with just one point on the board in league, but they have had one of the toughest starts to the season. They drew the opening day against Straide and Foxford United, but since then they have had to face both Ballina Town and Westport United. They lost 2-1 to the north Mayo men and then somehow managed to end up losing 4-2 to United despite leading 2-1 with the game heading towards injury time. They would have preferred to have got that game out of their system last weekend, but their game with Celtic was called off and they will see this Sunday's game as the perfect chance to get their first win of the new season.

The final game in this round of the competition is the meeting of the big two north Mayo sides Ballina Town and Iorras Aontaithe in Belleek. The Town have hit the ground running this year under Michael McNicholas, and with wins over Westport United, Ballyheane, Castlebar Celtic, and Charlestown Athletic they have given a serious marker of their intent. Iorras won on the opening day against Conn Rangers but since then have been beaten by Westport United and Ballyglass. If the men from Erris are going to get back to winning ways it will take a serious performance against McNicholas' men.

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