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The divisions and rivalries were put aside across Mayo this week as the tragic news of the death of former Swinford and Castlebar Celtic player Gary Price filtered through the county. Price rose through the youths ranks at Swinford, before moving to Castlebar Celtic where he was part of the 2007 FAI Youth Cup winning side. Tributes and condolences were paid from all involved in soccer in Mayo to Price and his family during this trying time. As a mark of respect the Mayo FA has postponed all games involving his former clubs Swinford and Castlebar Celtic in the Mayo league this weekend, and have asked for a minutes silence to be observed before all games this weekend in tribute to Gary.
Westport Untied kept up their 100 per cent start to the Super League last weekend with a 2-0 win over a winless Straide and Foxford United. The tangerine clad side were condemned to their third defeat on the trot and will have to turn things around soon or they could be sinking back down to the Premier A before they know it. JP O’Gorman put Westport on their way with a goal inside a quarter of a hour and Pat Fitzgerald made sure with a strike from the penalty spot midway through the second half. The champions Castlebar Celtic were made to work hard by Michael Hutton’s Claremorris side in Celtic Park to pick up their second win of the season. Stevie Gavin was the man who broke the deadlock in what was very tough battle between a Claremorris side who are looking to make improvements on last year’s very competitive run in the league. Both sides are locked together on six points from their opening three games, alongside Ballina Town. Ballina who went down to Westport United in the previous week bounced back with style with a 4-1 win over Manulla at home last weekend. The final game in last weekend’s Super League saw Fahy Rovers come home from Erris with a point after a 0-0 draw with Iorras Aontaithe.
Much like last season, Claremorris have hit the ground running early in the Elverys Sports Super League. Maximum points from their opening brace of games, have the south Mayo side sitting on top of the league table, albeit ahead only ahead of Westport United on goal difference. On Sunday, Claremorris will have to make their first away trip of the season when they travel to the home of the champions Castlebar Celtic.
The Mayo League and clubs have been in the headlines of late over off the field issues, but on Sunday all eyes will be where they should on the park as the Mayo League kicks off for the 2012 season across five divisions. The Premier A and B along with division one and two will get proceedings underway on Saturday evening at 6pm, with the main attraction the Super League, kicking off on Sunday at noon with the meeting of Castlebar Celtic and Westport United in Celtic Park, with the action in the other games in the division getting underway at 2.30pm.
The Mayo league announced last week that it has put back the start date of this year’s Mayo League due to “circumstances beyond our control”. A statement issued by the league last weekend said: “Due to circumstances beyond our control the Mayo Football League have decided to delay the start of the 2012 season by one week, therefore the opening match of our 2012 season will take place on Saturday, April 7, in Milebush Park with the Charity Shield.
Like every year in sport in this county there have been a fair share of ups and downs for all those who go out and do their best in the quest to be the best they possibly can be each week. You will find in this week’s sports pages a selection of pictures which capture some of the great moments in sport for those in the county who every year continue to give their all in the pursuit of sporting excellence. And as for excellence, there has been plenty of that on display from Mayo's proud sports people.
The shutters have come down on the Mayo League season for another year, the external competitions have transferred from local rounds to the great open draws. So this Sunday rivalries will be put to one side as the best of the Mayo League come together to launch another assault on the Oscar Traynor Trophy. Mayo get their group stage under way with a trip to Lecarrow on Sunday at 2pm, to take on the Roscommon League.
The Mayo League last week announced the appointment of Claremorris manager Michael Hutton as the new manager of the Mayo League team for its upcoming Oscar Traynor campaign. Joining Hutton’s backroom team is Paul Ginty who will take on the role of fitness coach/trainer and Paul Byrne who will be one of the coaches. Tommy Rumley will be the kit manager with Padraig McHale the team liaison officer. Mayo have been drawn in a three team group including the Roscommon League and the Sligo Leitrim League.
With the Mayo League season put to bed until next spring after the cup finals and play-off, attention turns to national and provincial glory over the winter months. The second round of the Umbro FAI Junior Cup will take centre stage this Sunday all across the county. The big game in this round is the meeting of the newly crowned Super League champions Castlebar Celtic and the cup winners Iorras Aontaithe. The league champions will make the long journey north on Sunday morning to Carnenash to take in what should be a real cup classic. Celtic finished 14 points in front of Iorras in the league standings at the end of the season, with Iorras languishing in mid-table. However the black and red striped side will have been boosted by their recent cup win and Carnenash is never an easy place for any side to go to. When the sides met in the league this year in the same venue Celtic won 2-1 and in the return leg, Celtic handed out a 7-1 hammering on the second last day of the season. Nevertheless, Sunday’s game should be a lot closer than their last league meeting.
The situation across the leagues in Mayo was sorted out mostly last weekend with a few relegation spots to be sorted out this weekend and a few more during the week when a reprieve was given to some clubs after points deductions to others were applied. In the Welcome Inn League One division last Sunday, Claremorris B were looking down and out following a 3-3 draw against Kiltimagh/Knock United which dropped them into the relegation zone along with Ballyvary Blue Bombers. But late in the week Claremorris B were given a reprieve from relegation when Kiltimagh/Knock United and Urlar United, along with Ballyvary Blue Bombers were all deducted three points for failing to fulfil fixtures. The resulting points deduction saw Claremorris B jump three places in the table with Urlar United and Kiltimagh/Knock dropping down the league into the relegation zone and League Two football next season.