Manulla closed the gap at the top of the division one table in the Masters league last Wednesday with a big win over Swinford, taking advantage of Westport United’s slip up against Ballyvary Blue Bombers earlier in the night. Kiltimagh Knock United also took advantage to close the gap with a win over Ballina Town, while Straide and Foxford eased their own relegation worries with a win over Snugboro.
Westport and Ballyvary kicked the night off with an entertaining 5-5 draw. The Bombers fought back from 5-2 down inside the last 10 minutes to grab three late goals and a share of the spoils. Four goals from Vinnie O’Malley and another from Brian Fahy looked to have Westport on their way to yet another win, but injuries to two goalkeepers for United meant they finished the game with six men and Fahy between the posts. Colm Carney, Des Cogan, John Loftus, Brendan Clarke, and Pat Clarke scored for Ballyvary as they took advantage of the extra man to earn a massive point.
Straide and Foxford United eased their relegation worries with a 6-2 win over fellow basement side Snugboro. It was a relatively tight game for much of the first-half but Striade pulled away in the second period to seal the win. United could arguably have won by more but for some wayward shooting in front of goal. Stephen Lennon, Brian Joyce, and doubles from Micheal Smyth and Pat Reid handed the Moysiders all three points. Des Walsh and Pat Conway scored the goals for Snugboro.
Manulla took advantage of Westport’s earlier slip up with a big 11-4 win over Swinford in the 8.30pm kick-off. Manulla always controlled the game and never looked like slipping up as Gerry Jennings, a Barry Cuffe double, a hat-trick from Roger Clarke, and five goals for Des Campbell eased them to the three points. Walter Barrett in goal put in a good shift as well as he kept the goals conceded down to a minimum, with only Brian Kelleher, Brian Regan, Tim Moriarty, and Karol Rushe hitting goals for Swinford. The Manulla-Westport game later in the season now takes on much bigger importance.
Just like Manulla before them, Kiltimagh Knock United took advantage of Westport’s earlier draw to close the gap at the top of the table. Unlike Manulla, it was not at all comfortable for Kiltimagh Knock as they needed four late goals to seal the win. A much improved Ballina Town on recent weeks brought the game to Kiltimagh who were leading 3-2 midway through the second-half with goals from George Armstrong, Keith Conroy, and Eugene Gorman. Defensively they were excellent, repelling wave after wave of Kiltimagh attack. But a penalty from Adrian Forkan with 10 minutes left to level the game sucked the life out of Ballina’s challenge and Kiltimagh Knock went on to comfortably win in the end. Two goals from Forkan and Danny Higgins along with one each from Andy Leadbetter and David Forkan put Kiltimagh right into title contention.
Manulla B open a gap
Manulla B took advantage of yet another Castlebar Celtic defeat to open up a sizeable lead at the top of the division two table with a 4-2 win over Crossmolina. Charlestown Athletic kept their recent good form in tow with a hard fought win over rivals Swinford while Conn Rangers and Fahy Rovers got back to winning ways.
Fahy Rovers knocked Kiltimagh Knock United B for nine goals in the early kick-off as the east Mayo side were unable to build on last week’s good win over Crossmolina. Hat-tricks from Bobby Durkan and Paul Knowles, two from Guillem Vadie, and one for Robert Coady sealed a comfortable win for Fahy.
Conn Rangers blew the division two race even wider open with a good win over Castlebar Celtic in the night’s second game. Never falling behind, Rangers always looked comfortable in possession and took their chances well when presented with them to get a 4-3 win over their more illustrious opponents. No matter what Celtic did they just could not catch Rangers on the night and will no doubt feel their season possibly slipping away after two defeats in a row. Goals from Liam and Eanna McHale, Noel Hopkins, and Shane Sweeney sealed Rangers' win. Stephen Gavin, Wayne Holmes, and David Cusack hit the net for Celtic.
At the same time the Swinford A team were being well beaten in division one, Swinford B were fighting to gain at least a point against east Mayo rivals Charlestown Athletic in division two. By the final whistle of a very fiery affair the fight was for nought as Charlestown held on to an early 1-0 lead to claim all three points. After beating Celtic last week it was important for Charlestown to keep their season on track and pick up back to back wins. They duly did and it propels them into promotion contention. Swinford had their chances but just could not get the ball into the Charlestown net.
It was Kevin Deignan’s first-half goal, which somehow squeezed under the Swinford keeper and crept over the line which handed his side the win. Crossmolina’s poor recent form continued in the final game of the night as they were beaten 4-2 by title chasing Manulla B. Manulla always looked on top but made things somewhat nervy for themselves with some stray passing, poor decision making, and poor shot taking throughout the hour. A Ray Clarke double along with goals for Keith Burke and John Flannery opened a five point lead for Manulla B at the top of the division two table. Billy Loftus and Brian Hanrahan got the goals for a Crossmolina side who must be wondering where the next win is coming from.