Shocks and drama in opening round of Mayo Masters Cup

Shocks and drama in opening round of Mayo Masters Cup

Kiltimagh/Knock United progressed to the quarter-finals of the Oliver Kelleher Masters Cup with an 8-4 victory over Iorras Anotheit. PHOTO: MICHAEL DONNELLY

Published: Tue 31 Jan 2023, 12:06

THE Oliver Kelleher Masters Cup never disappoints and there were classics last Wednesday night in the first two games of the resumption of the Masters League after a two-week break due to inclement weather.

In a decisive game of the season contender, Ballyvary Blue Bombers condemned last season’s runners-up Ballina Town to a first round exit after a dramatic 8-7 extra-time win.

Big credit must go to Ballina Town, who played with six men for most of the game due to an early injury and saw goalkeeper Kieran O’Malley put in a virtuoso performance to give them a chance throughout the game to keep

Kevin Mannion put Ballyvary ahead but Paul Moran, John Durkan and a brilliant scissor kick by Tom O’Connor put six-man Ballina in front. Strikes by Simon Cloherty and Declan Neary either side of half time made it a close game only for Ballina to go ahead again through a Paul Moran penalty and another goal by John Durkan. Ballyvary let the pressure pile on through Declan O’Brien and Conor Kelly and a deflected effort by Simon Cloherty looked to have won it for Ballyvary but Moran completed his hat-trick to take it to extra time.

Moran scored his fourth – and Ballina’s seventh – in the first period of extra time, but a spot-kick by Mervyn Marley, the winner a beautiful first-time shot from distance, let Ballina down.

The other game went the distance as Division 1 high-flyers Ballinrobe Town triumphed over Division 3 Straide & Foxford United 4-2 on penalties after it ended four apiece in extra time.

S&F went 3-0 up through Michael Prendergast and Cormac Healy (two), only for a deflected shot by Division 2 Player of the Year JP O’Gorman and James Colfar reduced the gap to one before the break.

O’Gorman equalized with the penalty and Pat Kelly put Ballinrobe ahead but Prendergast scored his second to take it to extra time.

Neither side could find the breakthrough in extra time and Ballinrobe held on to seal their place in the next round.

Ballyglass were in a relentless mood as they hammered 13 past Achill Rovers to progress to the next round. It was all to play for at half-time, Ballyglass leading 4-3 to Alan Plunkett (two), Jimmy Killeen and Anthony Killeen, with last year’s Division 3 Player of the Year. Achill’s goals came through Dan McManamon and Michael Dara.

The second half was a dominant performance by Ballyglass, with Plunkett taking his tally to five, Jimmy Killeen completing his hat-trick, two goals from John Murray and one each from PJ Gibbons and John Walsh.

Kiltimagh/Knock United will meet Ballyvary Blue Bombers in the cup quarter-finals after beating Iorras Aonathete 8-4. Damien Gallagher and a great strike by Conor Heneghan gave KK the perfect start, Seamus O’Malley pulled one back before the break.

Brendan Nallen made it two apiece but three more by Heneghan, two by Sean Garvey and one by John O’Hara eased KK to victory. The two other Iorras goals came from Anthony Mills and Mark Gilbert.

Division 1 side Claremorris suffered a shock but set up a last eight meeting with Ballyglass after a narrow 3-2 win over Ballyhaunis Town.

Goals from Ballyhaunis’ Chris McTigue and Aiden Paul Kelly, either side of a strike from Claremorris’ Gavin Brady, put the Division 3 side in front at half-time. Dermot Kelly and a second try from Gavin Brady put Claremorris ahead and the south Mayo side breathed a sigh of relief at the end when Kelly’s last-ditch rocket cannoned off the bar and Claremorris broke through.

The final game of Wednesday night was an all division 3 tie and it was Swinford who beat Killala 4-3.

Strikes from Kevin Whyte and Brendan McNulty put the north Mayo side in front, with two goals from Gerry Henry leveling for Swinford. The east Mayo side made sure of their place in the quarters through Brian Sheeran and Jakub Gawalkiewicz, with Whyte grabbing a late consolation for Killala.

On Thursday night, Ballyheane progressed to Round Two where they will meet Ballinrobe Town after a 5-1 win over Ballinrobe Town’s second team. John Kelly struck for the ‘Heane with Theron Coghill, Padraic Mulroe and David Sheridan also on target for the Division 2 leaders.

Defending champions Westport United were given a much tougher test than expected when they defeated Castlebar Celtic 7-4 in the second kick-off at 8pm. Danny Scahill and David Hoban did most of the damage for the Covies as they both hit a hat-trick, while James Gill was also on target for the West Mayo side. Stephen Jennings scored twice for Celtic with Sean McHale and Nicky Canning also getting on the scoresheet.

In the final game of the round, Division 3 bottom side Ballyglass B caused an upset as they recorded a 6-3 win over Division 2 outfit Conn Rangers. A hat-trick from Keith Bourke was key to this victory, while Steve Clarke, Vinny Flannery and Declan Tunny also hit the target.

The Conn Rangers goals came from John Clarke, Brendan McShane and captain James Noone.

Goal of the week: No competition. The thunderous strike into the top corner by Mervyn Marley of Ballyvary Blue Bombers, the last kick of the second period of extra time, is a goal of the season contender.

Goalkeeper of the week: Ballina Town’s Kieran O’Malley was one of the main reasons why the game with Ballyvary Blue Bombers was so close after a string of top class saves.

Player of the week: Standouts included Ballina Town duo Paul Moran and Kieran O’Malley, Ballyvary Blue Bombers’ Mervyn Marley and Kiltimagh/Knock United’s Conor Heneghan, but Ballyglass’ Alan Plunkett again stole the show after five past Achill Rovers hit.

WESTARO MASTERS league matches this week:

Published: Tue 31 Jan 2023, 12:06

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