It would be a brave man who would predict the outcome of the Tonra Cup on Sunday afternoon in Milebush Park. Both Achill Rovers and Ballyhaunis Town have only picked up one defeat all season and they remain in the hunt for promotion to Premier A. Off the field Achill Rovers have been creating headlines as they captured the prestigious FAI Club of the Year on Friday at the awards ceremony in the Clarion Hotel in Sligo.
On the field they have been consistent all season in what has been a hugely competitive league thus far. “We played Ballyhaunis many times and we’ve been in the same division for the last four or five years. There is nothing in it when Achill play Ballyhaunis Town and it’s just what happens on the day. It’s always a club we look forward to playing” according to Seán Molloy of Achill Rovers. Ballyhaunis Town will present a huge challenge on Sunday and Achill will have to have to their game face on from the start. “They’ve been the form team in the division and in Aiden McTigue they had the player of the month [June], so it’s up to us now to challenge them. Looking at recent cup finals it is going to be entertaining because they score goals, we score goals, and both teams are set up to attack,” added Molloy. The addition of Joseph N’Do to the Achill Rovers backroom team has given the islanders something different this season and it is clearly evident that his vast experience is rubbing off on the players. “He made a huge difference to the team. He put a spirit of belief in the team and he made a few changes and put people in different positions.”
The east Mayo outfit will be hoping to disrupt Achill on Sunday and cut out the supply line to Kryzsztof Jablonski, and Tommy Page knows they will face a stiff test in Milebush Park. “Achill are a fine side and the last three years it has been nip and tuck with them and they are a very strong side. It will be tight on the day and we’re just looking forward to being there and hopefully get a performance out of the players.” The late win over Ballinrobe Town has instilled a steely belief into this Ballyhaunis Town outfit but it could easily have been the south Mayo side taking their place on Sunday. “It was a really tough game against Ballinrobe Town and they pushed us to the pin of our collar and for long parts of that game they were the better side,” added Page. It has been a successful season thus far for Ballyhaunis Town and they have put themselves into the frame for promotion. “We’re hitting form at the right time, but early on in the season we just weren’t doing it, but the lads kept working on the training ground and it seems to be coming together nicely just at the right time hopefully. There is a good spread of scorers from different players all over the pitch.”
Both sides will be prepared to go all out and make a statement of intent and going on the evidence to date do not rule out extra-time and the dreaded penalties to decide this one. The game kicks off on Sunday at 2.30pm in Milebush Park.