Four Mayo sides will be battling it out for a spot in the last eight of the Connacht Junior Cup this weekend. The defending champions and Junior 1A league leaders Ballina will be facing into the game of the weekend when they host the Connemara All Blacks in Heffernan Park on Sunday at 2pm.
The north Mayo men are currently sitting at the peak of the top division of junior rugby in the province three points ahead of the side they are hosting this weekend. The sides have met twice already this season, with Connemara inflicting the only defeat that Ballina have suffered in the league this season when they ran out 17-13 winners in Heffernan Park in November. But in these sides last meeting in the Cawley Cup final in December, Ballina gained revenge winning 23-13 in the Sportsground. Ballina have not had a proper outing since that game, while Connemara warmed up for this meeting with a 32-0 win over NUIG a fortnight ago.
There is an all Mayo derby in The Green in Ballinrobe on Sunday lunchtime when Ballinrobe host Westport for a spot in the final eight of the competition. Last year's league winners Westport reached the final of this competition again last year having won it the previous year. The Bulls are playing a division above their hosts and are currently sitting in fifth place in that division with four wins and six losses in the league so far this season. In those games they have run in 25 tries, but have also conceded 25 tries over those 10 games. In their last outing Westport lost 28-21 to NUIG on the road. Ballinrobe are also sitting in fifth place in the table in the division below their guests at present with four wins, one draw, and five losses to their name so far in the league. The south Mayo men were Connacht Junior Plate champions last year and also gained promotion from the third tier of rugby along the way. They warmed up for this clash with a 33-14 win over Ballyhaunis in their last game.
Castlebar were already in action in the junior cup, having faced Claremorris in the previous round of the competition last Sunday where they recorded a 50-5 win over the south Mayo men, running in six tries in the process and being awarded a penalty try to boot in that game. Castlebar are currently sitting in third place in a tough four way battle for promotion to the top division of the game in Connacht. On Sunday, they will face a very tough test when they make the trek to Monivea to face a side who are currently sitting in third place in the division above Castlebar where they have six wins and four losses to date in the league. In their last game, Monivea ran out 29-5 winners against Buccaneers earlier this month. It will be a big test for Castlebar on Sunday.