Ballina kicked off the new year with a seven-point win over fellow Mayo side Westport in the top division of the Connacht Junior League last weekend. The north Mayo's 10-3 win at home saw them do the double over the Bulls this season, following their opening day win in Carrowholly. Ballina's win came thanks to a closing quarter performance where they put their total tally on the scoreboard.
Westport had led 3-0 for most of the game thanks to a Sean Tobin penalty midway though the first half. Darragh Whyte, who came on as a sub, leveled the game up 15 minutes from the end; this was followed by a try from Conor Mason and Whyte added the extras to seal a memorable win for the Heffernan Park-based side. That win was Ballina's fourth from six games so far this season and on Sunday they will host Ballinasloe, with the visitors sitting just three points in front of them in the league table in third place, but Ballina have played two games fewer than their guests at this stage of the season.
The Bulls will face a very tough test themselves this Sunday if they are to get back to winning ways when they welcome league leaders Galwegians to Carrowholly. The Galway-based outfit are currently one point in front of Westport in the table, having won four of their six games and picking up five bonus points in the process. When the sides met previously this season Westport edged out 'Wegians by a single point on a scoreline of 11-10 in Crowley Park.
Mayo derby in Junior 1B
Both of the Mayo sides in the second tier of Connacht Junior Rugby will come face to face this Sunday, when Castlebar and Ballyhaunis meet in Cloondeash. Both sides are locked in the middle of the table at present with Castlebar sitting in fourth place on 19 points after seven games, 10 points behind league leaders Creggs, while Ballyhaunis are six points further back in sixth place after the same number of of games. Ballyhaunis come into the game off the back of a 22-0 win over OLBC last weekend, while Castlebar were last in league action at the tail end of November when they saw off Sligo 8-0 at home.