Ballina Town took another step towards holding on to their Masters Division One title while Swinford B claimed the Division 2 crown with a game to spare on a wild and wet night in Solar 21 Park on Wednesday last.
Manulla opened the night by keeping the pressure on Ballina with a surprisingly comfortable 7-3 victory against Castlebar Celtic. The 2016 champions took their chances when presented with them and took advantage of a tiring Celtic side to score four unanswered goals in the final 10 minutes. Dermot McNicholas, Barry Cuffe, Roger Clarke, and doubles for James Cunningham and John Kelly secured the win for Manulla. Brian Mannion (two ) and Barry Redmond replied for Celtic.
Ballina were forced to come from behind early on in the night’s second game against Ballyhaunis, as for the second week in a row the east Mayo side gave one of the teams at the top a real scare before succumbing to a 5-2 defeat. Goals from Pat McGee and Ger Slattery had Ballyhaunis in an early 2-0 lead but Ballina’s greater fitness and smart use of their bench ensured they made the comeback before securing the win in the second half. A hat-trick for playmaker Eugene Gorman was the catalyst and Eamon Kenny and Tom O’Connor added to it. The win leaves Ballina six points clear of Manulla but with a game more played.
The night’s final game saw Fahy Rovers overcome their local rivals Westport United on a scoreline of 16-0. It was entirely one way traffic for an overpowered United side who have found this season to be a real struggle at times. Tom Gill hit five goals with Colin Napier grabbing a hat-trick, two each for Guillaume Vaidie, Bobby Durkin, and Larry Joyce, with Barry O’Rourke and Pat Knowles rounding out the scoring.
Swinford B secured the Division 2 title after their eighth win in succession left them five points clear at the top with just a game to play. They secured the title in style too, overcoming five man Mulranny 10-0 in the night’s opening game. Brian Kelleher and Gerry Henry grabbed a goal each with Jakub Gawalkiewicz hitting a hat-trick and five for Patrick McDonnell.
Swinford A kept their own promotion prospects alive with a 7-1 win against Kiltimagh & Knock United. It was a slow start for Swinford as they fell behind to a Ray Hunt goal and took their time to get going before securing the win with a powerful second-half performance. Robert Walsh and Piotr Slabik grabbed doubles, with Gavin Groarke, Paul Halligan, and Eoin Gallagher also finding the net.
The night’s final game was the most competitive as Conn Rangers kept their own very slim promotion hopes alive with a 3-1 win over Manulla B. Goals from Sean Carey, Mark McHale, and John Clark saw the north Mayo side collect a hard fought three points as Manulla B found themselves overpowered in the middle of the park and unable to take their chances when they managed to get past a good defensive effort from Rangers' Alan Rumley with the consolation for Manulla.