Race for promotion and title will go to the wire
With all adult ameteur soccer on hiatus across the county and further beyond on hiatus under the new government restrictions, The Connaught Telegraph is reviewing each of the Mayo Football League division so far.
By Stuart Tynan
IT seems any combination of Kiltimagh/Knock Utd B, Castlebar Celtic B and Westport United C could be in League One next year.
In what has been one of the most entertaining iterations of League Two in recent memory, we look at each of the teams who are primed for a promotion spot in what promises to be a fascinating run in when the season eventually resumes.
KILTIMAGH/KNOCK UNITED B
CURRENT POSITION: 1ST
GAMES PLAYED: 7
TOP SCORER: Thomas Gillespie (four)
The east Mayo side are currently leading Westport United C by point, although the Covies do have a game in hand. They got their league campaign off to the best possible start as John Kelly netted a late winner to earn Kiltimagh/Knock a 2-1 win over Hollister. Things were a little more straight forward for them in the following game after a comfortable 5-2 win over Crossmolina B. Shane Prendergast grabbed a hat trick for his side, with Thomas Gillespie netting the other pair.
Why they might look one of the certainties to grab one of the promotion spots is their ability to dig themselves out of precarious situations. They first demonstrated this against promotion rivals United as they came back from two goals to record a massive 4-3 victory with goals from Mario Majerić, Christy Conlon, Brendan Burke and Thomas Gillespie.
Kiltimagh/Knock would then hit a bump on the road over the next two weekends. Firstly, they dropped two points on the road after Conn Rangers B grabbed a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw. Worse was to come though as they round be soundly beaten on home turf following a 3-0 defeat to Ballyvary Blue Bombers.
However, they responded brilliantly and in the next two games, just like they did against United, they incredibly came back from two goals down to secure 3-2 wins over Castlebar Celtic B (Thomas Gillespie, Arnas Zilionis and Gavin Groarke were the scorers) and Hollister (a brace from Mario Majerić and a Gavin Groarke penalty).
WESTPORT UNITED C
CURRENT POSITION: 2ND
GAMES PLAYED: 6
TOP SCORER: Adam-Diamond-Keane (seven)
A late addition into the league and it speaks volumes of the amount of good players in the town that the club was able to field three teams in the Mayo League this year, a first for any club since 2015.
They began their campaign in the second week of the league with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Conn Rangers B. Adam Diamond-Keane grabbed the all-important winner after Dylan O'Malley put them side in front early on.
They suffered their only defeat of the season to Kiltimagh/Knock the following week but they have perfect every since, winning their next four games.
They started their winning run with a 4-2 victory over Ballyvary Blue Bombers. They would follow that with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Castlebar Celtic B in one of the games of the League Two season so far. Diamond-Keane put United in front at the break only for Celtic to roar back into a 3-2 lead going into the final stages. But United showed why they are one of the title contenders as late goals form Oisin Ryall and Danny O'Hara closed the gap on league leaders Kiltimagh/Knock to a point.
United went top following Kiltimagh/Knock's defeat to Ballyvary BB as late goals from Joe Sweet and Ted Horan gave United a valuable 2-1 victory over Hollister.
They remained top after surviving a scare against Crossmolina B as a brace from Diamond-Keane and a goal from Liam King secured a narrow 3-2 win.
Only conceding top spot to Kiltimagh/Knock due to them having won their game in hand and with home encounter against Kiltimagh/Knock and Celtic to come, United are well placed to grab hold of one of the promotion spots, and perhaps the league title along with it.
CASTLEBAR CELTIC B
CURRENT POSITION: 3RD
GAMES PLAYED: 7
TOP SCORER: Terry Maughan (six)
The second highest scorers in the division so far with 20 goals scored in seven games (only Hollister have scored more with 23), Celtic are looking to bounce back up at the first time of asking following relegation from League One last year.
They didn't get off to the best of starts after a 2-2 draw with neighbours Ballyvary BB, with Terry Maughan scoring twice for the Hoops. But back-to-back 3-1 wins over Hollister and Crossmolina B put them back into promotion contention.
However, it is the results against their fellow rivals in the promotion race that has cost them dearly. Celtic blew leads in the games against United and Kiltimagh/Knock as they fell to 4-3 and 4-2.
Wins over Conn Rangers B (5-1) and Ballyvary BB (2-1) sees them only three points behind Kiltimagh/Knock with five games to play. Interestingly, they are set to face Kiltimagh/Knock on the final day which could end up as a shoot-out for the last promotion spot or even the title. But before that, you would think Celtic will need to get maximum points from their away trips to Hollister and United if they are grab one of those spots.
*Next week, we will be looking at the promotion and relegation battle in Killeen Sports Ground League One.