Recently crowned Division One champions Westport United locked horns with reigning Cup champions Claremorris in the tie of the round, and it certainly lived up to its billing. The two sides met in the final round of the league just two weeks prior to this meeting, with Claremorris responsible for Westport’s only loss of the season, thanks to a 9-7 win. This was a result that hurt Westport, and there was a fire in their eyes as they began the game with a huge intensity, their sights clearly set on a double that they missed out on last season. And it was Westport who progressed to the semi final, thanks to an 8-5 win in a tense and tight affair, with the victors’ goals coming from David Hoban (3), Mark McNally (2), Danny Scahill, Shaun Tagg and Austin O’ Malley. For Claremorris, Padraig Ring and Conor Groarke both bagged a brace each, with David Grant adding the fifth.
Manulla and Swinford B also played out a high scoring, memorable clash on Wednesday evening, with two evenly matched sides giving their all in the pursuit of silverware. Despite succumbing to relegation from Division One, Swinford B are capable of being a match for any side on their day, while Manulla, for their part, still have class in abundance throughout their side. Swinford B twice took the lead in the first half, only for Manulla to go in 3-2 ahead at the break. However, the veterans from East Mayo rallied in the second half, eventually winning 7-6, after extra time. Patrick McDonnell scored a wonderful hat trick for the visitors, with Keith Robinson (2), Paul Kenny and Brian Kelleher also on the score sheet. Roger Clarke scored four wonderful goals for Manulla, with Michael Cuffe bagging a brace.
Division Two champions Castlebar Celtic knew they would be in for a right ol’ game against a resilient and never-say-die Conn Rangers side, who, despite their mid table finish in Division Two, can be a dangerous proposition for even the best sides, when at full strength. And so it proved, with Conn Rangers putting up a strong fight for the full 50 minutes, showing battling qualities and technical quality that led to an enthralling encounter. However, Castlebar Celtic kept their winning streak going, showing just enough character and big game mentality to eventually come out 4-3 winners. Ashley Stevenson scored two for the Hoops, with Stephen Jynxy Jennings scoring one and 2011 Super League winning skipper Declan Flynn popping up with the winner at the back post in the dying embers of the tie. Trevor Ward, John Clarke and Ger Lovett found the net for Conn Rangers.
Ballina Town complete the line up for the semi final on Wednesday night, as they overcame Achill Rovers, who gave an excellent account of themselves, 5-3 in another competitive and absorbing encounter. The Town will fancy themselves to have a real crack at winning this Cup, having produced some outstanding performances throughout the season, while for Achill, they can reflect on a job well done over the course of the season, as they secured promotion to Division One for the 2020/2021 season. In the end, the quality of Mick Duffy and co shown through on the night, with the former Shelbourne striker bagging one and proving to be a great foil for the rest of the artillery, with Michael Noone, Aidan O’ Hora, Eamon Cawley and Damien Dempsey also on target. For Achill, Manus O’ Donnell (2) and the impressive Mark Davitt found the net.
Semi Final – Wednesday, March 11
Swinford B v Westport United – 7pm
Castlebar Celtic v Ballina Town – 8.15pm
Player of the Day: Patrick McDonnell’s goals were crucial for Swinford B, as they overcame Manulla to secure their place in the semi final.
Goal of the Day: Ballina Town’s Eamon Cawley measured his left footed curler to perfection, as he whipped it into the top corner from the right hand side to put his side 3-1 up against Achill Rovers.
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