Home advantage for Mayo sides in FAI Junior Cup

Pat Quigley, chairman, Mayo League, presents the

Pat Quigley, chairman, Mayo League, presents the "Golden Boot" award in the Super League to Dessie O’Malley of Westport United at the Mayo League Dinner in the Welcome Inn Hotel Castlebar. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

Both Iorras Aontaithe and Westport United will be hoping that home advantage can give them a little bit extra on Sunday when they enter the FAI Junior Cup sixth round. Iorras Aontaithe will be hoping that they won’t be suffering any post Connacht Cup hangover from their elimination from the provincial cup at the hands of City United by a score of 3-1 last weekend.

Iorras will be entertaining Pike Rovers from Limerick, while Westport will be renewing an old rivalry with St Peter’s from Athlone. Both Mayo sides will face tough tasks on Sunday if they are to make it into the next round of the competition. Westport made the long trip to Dillon’s Cross in Cork for the last round of the cup and came away on the right side of a five goal encounter, while their midland opponents saw off Donegal side Culdaff by four goals in round five. When both these sides met earlier in St Mel’s Park it was a game to remember, Westport, the then defending Junior Cup champions, went a goal down early on before Kevin Joyce nipped in to level it up and Vinny O’Malley bagged a second just before the end, only for St Peter’s to be awarded a penalty in injury time and the chance to level the contest. But it was not to be as Martin McGreal pulled off a fine save to out the ball over the bar and send Westport through to the next round.

Westport have a number of talented players from their historic cup winning side of 2005, with McGreal still minding the nets, while Joe Lawless, Martin Geraghty, Danny Scahill, Dave Cameron, Vinny O’Malley, and Dessie O’Malley are still at the top of their game. Their opponents come with a number of players who have had League of Ireland experience in the past. Adrian Carberry, Tom Silke, and Mark Sherlock have all played in the professional ranks in Ireland and can provide a serious test for their direct opponents in red and black. Westport United’s joint manager Padraig Burns knows it’s going to be a tough ask on Sunday. “It’s not going to be easy and we’d take the same result as we got against them a couple of years ago. They are a side who have played a lot of Leinster Senior League football and have a number of players who have played League of Ireland football, so they know what they are about.”

Westport have a number of injury concerns with Dessie O’Malley definitely out joining Austin O’Malley who is a long term doubt, and there are doubts over Vinny O’Malley and Danny Scahill. “It’s a shame we are going to miss Dessie because he has goals written all over him, hopefully the other lads make it through for the game, but we have a number of strong players in the squad who are capable of doing a good job. But I’m confident we have the ability to win the game,” said Burns.

Iorras ready for Pike Rovers

While Westport have been there and done it all before this will be a new one for Iorras Aontaithe, the Erris men of course have tasted success of their own in FAI competitions winning the FAI Youth Cup in 2004. This weekend they have a chance to see off the winners of the very first FAI Junior Cup way back in 1948, Pike Rovers from Limerick. The men from Carnenash will welcome the Munster men to their own patch and even the most hardened team find it hard to come away with anything if Iorras are in the right mood. Eric Reilly will have his side well prepared for this contest, and the men from north Mayo are more than capable of mixing it up physically with any side while still applying a delicate touch on the ball and playing football with the best of them. Reilly and Garath O’Malley are more than capable of bagging a couple of goals, while Shane Nallen is as competent a keeper as there is, and with players like Paul Reilly and Brendan Nallen also in the side, Erris will be no pushovers for their esteemed visitors on Sunday.

 

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