Home advantage could be key for Mayo trio

Soccer: FAI Junior Cup

Cillian McGlade and his Manulla team will be looking to make home advantage count this weekend. Photo: Michael Donnelly

Cillian McGlade and his Manulla team will be looking to make home advantage count this weekend. Photo: Michael Donnelly

The never ending season for successful junior soccer sides continues this weekend, when three Mayo League outfits go looking for a place in the last 16 of the FAI Junior Cup. Castlebar Celtic, Manulla, and Westport United are all in action in the last 32 of the competition and will be looking to make home advantage count.

The Super League champions Westport United will host Athlone-based outfit St Peter's FC in the Sportspark on Sunday afternoon. Both sides have met on a number of occasions in the cup in recent years, with United winning their last meeting two seasons ago, and Peter's taking a win back in 2009. When United were defending the junior cup in 2006, they were pushed all the way by St Peter's with Westport coming away with a win thanks to the odd goal in three after extra time. In the last round of the competition, Westport United were pushed hard by Sandyhill-Shangan. After racing into a 3-0 lead inside 55 minutes, thanks to goals from Martin Geraghty, Dave Hoban, and David Cameron, they conceded two goals between the 67th and 76th minute and were left sweating in the final 15 minutes, but they held on for the win to set up this Sunday's encounter.

New Castlebar Celtic manager Ciaran Kelly got off to a winning start in the last round when his side ran out 3-0 winners over Slieveardagh United at the start of December. Kelly has had to wait four weeks for his second game in charge of the Hoops and on Sunday they will host Glengad United. The Malin Head-based outfit, who play in the Inishowen League, should offer a very tough examination for the Hoops who booked their last round win thanks to three second half goals, with Paul Moran bagging two and Ger O'Boyle the other one.

After having to make the long haul to Cork in the last round, Manulla will be grateful to have a home game to look forward to in this round of the competition. On Sunday they will welcome visitors from Galway when Salthill Devon come calling. Along with having to make the trip to Cork last time out, Manulla also had to do it the hard way on the field to book their spot in this weekend's round of action. They fell behind against Glenn Celtic just after the break, but a Gary Concannon goal 16 minutes from time saw them level the game up. Extra time failed to separate the sides and it came down to spot kicks which Manulla won 4-2 to book their spot in the last 32.

All of the three games are down for 2pm kick-offs on Sunday.


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