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“It’s a long way to Tipperary” the song goes and on Sunday, Iorras Aontaithe will find out just how long that trek is when they make their way to Celtic Park in Clonmel to take on Clonmel Town at 1pm. The Tipperary side booked their place in the fifth round of the competition thanks to a 4-0 win over north Tipperary outfit Borrisokane. Aidan McGrath scored their first and fourth goals that day, with David McGrath and Tony Scully both finding the net also. In the third round they saw off Two Mile Borris 5-0, with Rosgreen Rangers beaten 4-1 in the second round. Clonmel Town are currently seven games into their Tipperary Southern and District League Premier Division campaign and they have picked up four wins, two draws, and one defeat so far, scoring 24 goals in the process. Barry Ryan, Tony Scully, and Dwayne Burns have all been finding the back of the net with regularity for Clonmel Town this season.
Six Mayo AC athletes travelled to Nottingham on Saturday to take part in the 27th Annual British & Irish International Masters Cross Country championships. They were selected after last month's trial in the Phoenix Park, and formed part of a 70 strong Irish team competing against England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland as individuals, and in teams in nine age categories ranging from 35 years to 75 years. Mayo AC has a long tradition of successful participation in this event, and this year's representation of six is its biggest so far.
In the end it was easier than expected, but Westport United are in the fifth round of the FAI Junior Cup alongside fellow Mayo teams, Iorras Aontaithe and Ballyhaunis Town, in three weeks’ time.
While some of their local rivals were bowing out of the FAI Junior Cup at the fourth round stage, Westport United were booking their own spot in that round last weekend with a 4-1 win over Claremorris in Concannon Park. The all conquering treble champions did have their supporters sweating for a while though, after they fell behind early on when Paul Burke finished a rebound to the net from close range. Westport United did manage to pull the game level before the break when Pat Fitzgerald rolled the ball to the back of the net after being set up by the veteran Vinny O’Malley. United took the lead early on in the second half when Martin Geraghty found the back of the net before Vinny O’Malley and Dave Cameron rounded off the win and booked their side’s place in the fourth round and their fourth meeting with Ballinasloe Town in the last three seasons.
The Mayo League make the trip to the far edge of Roscommon on Sunday where they will face down against the Roscommon and District League in the first round of the Oscar Traynor Trophy at 2pm.
There are not many superlatives left to describe how good Westport United have been this season in league and cup competitions in Mayo. A second treble in three years of the Elverys Sports Super League, FCS Cup and Connacht Gold Cup was achieved last Sunday, with a 3-0 win over Ballyheane in the Connacht Gold Cup Final, and with that they went through the entire domestic season, league and cup unbeaten. The only minor blemish on their record was a draw at home to Straide and Foxford United in July. But last weekend it was jut about taking care of business and they did that with ruthless efficiency and killing the game off early thanks to goals from Dave Cameron and Pat Fitzgerald inside the opening 20 minutes, with Philip Keegan rounding off the win before the hour mark.
One can only imagine what odds you would have got at the start of the year that Glenhest Rovers would pitch up against Ballina Town on Sunday, in the Connacht Gold Shield Final. Last year’s Super League winners will feel that they should be taking part in the showpiece event a couple of hours later but it has been that sort of season for Ballina. After losing a string of top quality stars it was always going to be tough to repeat the kind of form that parachuted them to glory last season.
No-one can deny that Westport United have been the best team in the Mayo League and they capped a remarkable league season last weekend when they went through the whole campaign unbeaten. Dropping just two points over the whole season is a remarkable achievement, but knowing the hunger there is in that Westport United side their draw against Straide and Foxford in the middle of July will be something they will look back on with a tinge of regret over the winter.
It is all or nothing this weekend for a number of clubs as the final round of action in the Mayo League gets down to action. As it stands, we know that in the Super League Westport United are the champions, Fahy Rovers have been relegated with either Moy Villa or Iorras Aontaithe joining them in the Premier A next year. In the second tier Ballyglass and Conn Rangers have been promoted, but Westport United B could pip them to the title yet. At the bottom Urlar United are gone, with Snugboro United and Killala battling it out to avoid the drop, with the odds very much favouring the north Mayo men. In the Premier B, Kiltimagh/Knock United are the champions, Castlebar Celtic C and Iorras Aontaithe B are relegated, with Glenhest Rovers and Ballyhaunis Town battling it out for the last promotion place. The action in League One will also come down to the last day, with a winner takes all showdown on Sunday, while League Two was finished off a few weeks ago.
There were only two games to go when they finally claimed the Super League title, but the inevitable was officially confirmed in some style in The Sportspark last Sunday when Westport United ran out 8-2 winners over Manulla. With two games to go, United have the title wrapped up and are just 180 minutes away from going the whole league season without defeat. No mean feat at all. In their 16 league games so far Westport United have hit the back of the net 66 times on average, just over four goals a game. They also have the meanest defence in the league conceding only 14 times, less than one a game on their march to the title.