In a sure-fire game of the season contender, Ballyvary Blue Bombers condemned last season’s runners-up Ballina Town to a first round exit following a dramatic 8-7 win in extra-time.
Major credit must be given to Ballina Town, who played with six men for the majority of the game due to an early injury and saw goalkeeper Kieran O’Malley put in a virtuoso performance to keep Town in with a chance all throughout the game.
Kevin Mannion put Ballyvary ahead but Paul Moran, John Durkan and a brilliant sicissor 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 level game only for Ballina to go ahead once more through a Paul Moran penalty and another goal by John Durkan. Ballyvary heaped the pressure late 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 brace by Mervyn Marley, the winner a stunning first time shot from distance, sent Ballina packing.
The other game went the distance as Division 1 high flyers Ballinrobe Town prevailed over Division 3 Straide & Foxford United 4-2 on penalties after it finished 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 half-time. O’Gorman equalised from the penalty spot and Pat Kelly put Ballinrobe ahead but Prendergast scored his second to take it to extra time.
Neither side could get the breakthrough in extra time and Ballinrobe held their nerve to seal their place in the next round.
Ballyglass were in a ruthless mood as they hit 13 past Achill Rovers to advance to the next round. It was all to play for at half-time, Ballyglass narrowly leading Achill 4-3 through last year’s Division 3 Player of the Year Alan Plunkett (two), Jimmy Killeen and Anthony Killeen. Achill’s goals came through Dan McManamon and Michael Dara.
The second half was a dominant display by Ballyglass, with Plunkett bringing his haul 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 quarterfinals after beating Iorras Aontaithe 8-4. Damien Gallagher and a great strike by Conor Heneghan gave KK the perfect start, Seamus O’Malley pulling one back before the break.
Brendan Nallen made it two-all but another three by Heneghan, two by Sean Garvey and one by John O’Hara eased KK to victory. The two other goals from Iorras came from Anthony Mills and Mark Gilbert.
Division 1 side Claremorris were given a major fright but set up a last eight encounter with Ballyglass after a narrow 3-2 win over Ballyhaunis Town.
Goals by Chris McTigue and Aiden Paul Kelly from Ballyhaunis, either side of a strike by Gavin Brady of Claremorris, put the Division 3 side in front at half-time. Dermot Kelly and a second Gavin Brady effort put Claremorris ahead and the south Mayo side outfit breathed a sigh of relief at the end as Kelly’s rocket with the last kick cannoned off the bar and Claremorris edged through.
The final game of Wednesday night was an all-Division 3 tie and it was Swinford who beat Killala 4-3.
Strikes by Kevin Whyte and Brendan McNulty put the north Mayo side in front, with two goals by Gerry Henry levelling it for Swinford. The east Mayo side made sure of their spot in the quarters through Brian Sheeran and Jakub Galwalkiewicz, with Whyte scoring 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 hit a brace for the Heane with Theron Coghill, Padraic Mulroe and David Sheridan also on target for the Division Two leaders.
The defending champions Westport United were given a much sterner test than expected as they defeated Castlebar Celtic 7-4 in the second 8pm kick-off. Danny Scahill and David Hoban did most of the damage for the Covies as they both struck 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 Three’s bottom side Ballyglass B caused an upset as they had a 6-3 win over Division Two side Conn Rangers. A hat-trick from Keith Bourke was the key to this win 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 contest. 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 primary reasons the game with Ballyvary Blue Bombers was as close it was following a litany of top class saves.
Player of the week: Standout performers include Ballina Town duo Paul Moran and Kieran O’Malley, Ballyvary Blue Bombers’s Mervyn Marley and Kiltimagh/Knock United’s Conor Heneghan. But Alan Plunkett of Ballyglass stole the show once more after hitting five past Achill Rovers.
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