Manulla standing on the cusp of glory

Soccer: Connacht Junior Cup Final

Manulla will make the trip to Eammon Deacy Park on Sunday afternoon looking to make a bit of history as they attempt to win their maiden Connacht Junior Cup when they take on Corrib Rangers at 3pm.

Twice before the Carramore outfit have reached the final - the first time in 1988 when they were beaten by Sligo Corinthians, their second final appearance came 15 years ago when they were beaten by Ballinasloe Town in the provincial decider.

Manulla made their way to the final thanks to wins over Cliffoney Celtic, Cois Fharraige, Maree-Oranmore, Boyle Celtic and then finally local rivals Castlebar Celtic, who they saw off 4-0 at home in the semi-final, with Gerry Canavan grabbing a brace, with the other goals coming from Dan Beya and Darragh Byrne. Their opponents route to the final saw them get past Cam Celtic, West United, Ballyheane, Merlin Woods, Athenry, Carbury FC and then Mervue United in the semi-final on penalties, which they won 5-4.

Both sides are at very different parts of their season with Manulla not quite half-way through their Mayo League season, which sees them currently sitting in fourth place in the table, but just three points off the three sides who are level at the top of the standings at the moment, having won five from their six outings. Their most recent win over an up to then unbeaten Westport United will have them in fine fettle ahead of Sunday's final. They saw off the Covies 5-3 in Carramore, coming from going behind 2-0 early doors, but a brace of goals from Gary McHale and a Gerry Canavan hat-trick saw them pick up three vital points.

Their opponents on Sunday have wrapped up their domestic season recently and claimed the second tier league title to gain promotion to the Premier Division for next year. They won 13 of their 18 games and only lost once along the way to claim the title and promotion to the top flight. While they may have been playing in the second tier of football in Galway this season - they have shown they are a serious side by the sides they have beaten on the way to Sunday's final.

Killala claim provincial shield

Manulla will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Killala, who claimed the Connacht Shield last weekend with a 3-1 win over Knocknacarra in Solar 21 Park Milebush. The north Mayo men's goalkeeper, Danny Gallagher, saved a penalty early on and they took the lead not long after through Ryan Gallagher. Michael Corrigan made it 2-0 and then Rory Gallagher made it 3-0 with 55 minutes gone and put Killala well on the way to victory. The Galway outfit did pull a goal back through Cathal McDonnachada late on, but Killala had done enough by that stage to claim the trophy.


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