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Celtic face injury crisis ahead of A league opener

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Castlebar Celtic are facing into a their opening game of the Newstalk A League this weekend with a injury crisis on their hands. Celtic will be without the services of Shane Hynes, Gary Price, Stevie Gavin, Ashley Stevenson, and Pat Fitzgerald on Saturday due to injury. But more importantly it looks like they will be without goalkeepers Danny O’Leary who has a groin injury and Robert Hennelly leaving them without a recognised number one between the posts. Castlebar Celtic manager Declan Kilkelly told the Mayo Advertiser this week, “ Danny had a great game last weekend against Carlow, but he played with a groin injury, he’s seeing a specialist, but we don’t know if he’ll be able to play any part in the game.” With no recognised goalkeeper available, Kilkelly could be in line for a place between the sticks himself for Celtic. “At the moment it looks like it could be me or an outfield player, but I’d prefer not to have to play, we just have to wait and see for now.”

No time to stop for Straide and Foxford

When the Super League kicked off a few weeks ago, Straide and Foxford were still playing out the last throws of their season from last year in the Connacht Cup. Once that dream died there was no rest for the Green Road side, who went straight into league action and they have kept up their good winter form. Wins over Ballyheane last weekend, Castlebar Celtic and a draw with Fahy Rovers see them sitting on seven points from four games in fourth place. Their solitary defeat so far came at the hands of Ballina Town the defending champions, and even then the result on that day didn’t justify the performance, according to Straide and Foxford manager, Aidan Flatley. “The Ballina game was a disappointment, they’re a good side but the scoreline didn’t really reflect the game as a whole.” Also coming out of that game Straide and Foxford lost two players to injury which could start to mount up over the league season as players feel the effects of the long winter cup campaign. “We lost Paul Fitzpatrick with a broken wrist in that game which could have him out from six to eight weeks and Shane Hughes picked up a shoulder injury. We’ll be hoping that the lads are able to keep fit over the season as we haven’t had a break really since the end of the Connacht Cup.”

‘This will tell us a lot about ourselves’ — Togher

Ballina Town are sitting pretty top of the Super League with four wins out of four, but chasing their tales in second place in the league are Iorras Aontaithe who have won their opening three fixtures. But this weekend’s challenge for Iorras will tell them far more about themselves than their three fixtures so far according to their manager Michael S Togher. “Yeah we’ve done well so far in the league, but going to Manulla will be a big test for us and really tell us a lot about ourselves for the season ahead.”

Mayo Soccer Fixtures

Saturday May 8

‘You can’t get too excited early season’ - Hutton

While the Super League continues apace this weekend, from the Premier Division down all the clubs are out in cup action. Claremorris currently sit on top of the Premier Division, with two wins from two, and have a long trek to Kilmore to contend with on Sunday afternoon. Claremorris manager Michael Hutton is not looking forward to the trip. “It’s a long two hour journey from here, so it’s going to be a long day on Sunday to go up there and come back home.” The Claremorris manager has seen his side start the new season with two wins out of two which leaves them top of the table. Last weekend they saw off second placed Ballinrobe Town 6-1 away from home marking them out as early season potential promotion candidates. “One swallow doesn’t make a summer and all that, it’s very early days yet in the season and we’re not getting carried away. Our first aim is to ensure that we don’t end up in relegation trouble and push on from there, it’s a very tough league that will be very tight at both the top and bottom,” was Hutton’s assessment of the league.”

Mayo Soccer Fixtures

Saturday May 1

You can’t afford to get cut adrift - Wallace

“It’s 18 cup finals we have this year not 18 league games, and the lads know that if you get cut a drift early on from the pack you are probably not going to make it back.” That’s how new Snugboro United manager Mick Wallace sees this years Super League campaign for his side and most of the others in the league, it is all about survival. The pragmatic as always Wallace knows that it is going to be a hard fight to stay in the top division with four teams going down this season, but he is ready for the battle. “Being realistic, you’ve got Ballina Town, Westport, Iorras Aontaithe, and maybe Manulla who’ll be scrapping it out at the top. The rest of us are fighting to survive in the top flight.” When he took the job he knew that this is what the season was going to be like and Wallace said he laid it out to his squad on the very first day. “I said it to the players straight off, that we are going to be in the thick of it. But we’ve got great numbers out training and everyone’s working hard. I’m disappointed that we didn’t take the points of Fahy Rovers last week, I thought we did enough to win the game against a very tough physical side, we need to be winning these games.” This weekend Snugboro United will open their home account for the season when they host Ballina Town who have six points from two games in the bag already. Wallace knows it is going to a be a big ask for his side to stop Brendan Kenny’s men. “They’re the league champions, and if someone came along now and said here, you can have a point from this game, I’d take the hand off them. There a quality side, but we’ll go out and give them a game and not let our heads drop.”

Mayo Soccer Results

Elvery's Sports Super League

Duffy back in the international frame

Ballina Town striker Michael Duffy has been called up to the Irish junior side, the north Mayo hit man has already picked up one international cap in 2008 against the USA, during a period when he was in a rich vein of goal scoring form. But over the past two seasons he has suffered from a number of bad injuries which curtailed his playing time. He did come back last season to help Ballina Town finally claim the Super League title. Duffy has been called up for a quadrangular tournament involving the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man which will take place in County Down from next Wednesday April 21 to Saturday April 24.

Avoiding the drop is as big a challenge as the winning the title this season

At the start of every season winning the title is the ultimate goal for most sides, but in this years Elvery’s Sports Super League avoiding the drop is a big a concern for a lot of teams. This year will see four sides dropping out of the top division before it becomes a more compact and competitive eight team league for the 2011 campaign. Last year only one team (Kilmore) dropped out of the top flight with Swinford replacing them this season, after Westport United B won the Premier Division title but were not allowed to come up. But this year if you finish between 10th and seventh place in the league and you are dropping through the trap door.

 

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