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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.
With the penultimate round of games in the Mayo League taking place this weekend across most divisions, there are a few things already sorted out, but a lot more to be decided. What we know for sure is that in the Super League Westport United are the champions, with Castlebar Celtic the runners up. In the Premier A, the title and promotion race is still alive and well and Urlar United have been relegated while three other teams are battling to beat the drop. In the Premier B both the title and promotion race are still alive and well, while at the bottom Iorras Aontaithe were withdrawn while the battle to beat the drop is still all to play for for a couple of teams. In League One, Manulla B are already promoted while Bangor Hibs can book their place in the Premier B alongside them this weekend, while at the bottom Ballyvary Blue Bombers and Straide and Foxford United B are dropping to League Two next year. In the bottom tier in League Two, Fahy Rovers B have taken the title while on Sunday in Milebush Park Ballina Town B and Charlestown Athletic B will battle it out in a play-off to take the last promotion spot.
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.
THE DEBUT performance of the Esker Festival Orchestra will take place at the Galway Cathedral tonight at 8pm.
Award-winning New York show The Bark and the Tree will receive its Irish premier in Headford on Saturday September 6 at 9pm.
The first of the big prizes that Westport United have their eyes on was picked up last Sunday in Milebush Park when Martin Geraghty’s 60th minute winner gave Westport United a 2-1 win over Ballina Town in the FCS Cup final.
Wining the title would have been the most important thing for Westport United when the Elverys Sports Super League kicked off, but as the weeks went by and the wins kept piling up, the potential of their going all the way through the league with a 100 per cent record looked to be a real possibility. And in their 13th of 18 games in the league last weekend, right until deep injury time in the Sports Park they looked to be on course to make it 13 from 13. But Michael Guilfoyle had other ideas, the Straide and Foxford United striker nodded into the back of the net from close range four minutes into injury time to stop Westport United’s chase for perfection.
By the time this paper hits the shelf on Friday morning, Westport United will have had the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Elverys Sports Super League to 17 points after they faced Moy Villa in Attymass last night. The day that they are confirmed as champions looks to be edging ever closer. Last weekend in the Super League Fahy Rovers picked up their second win in the league with a surprise 2-1 win over Ballina Town in Moneen. That win by the side who are bottom in the table all but killed off any slim chance that Ballina had of catching Westport United in the top. Fahy left it late, when Tommy Gill struck twice in the final few minutes of the game, the first four minutes from time and the second three minutes into injury time.