Who’ll be tops of the Towns?
THE prestigious Tuohy Cup is up for grabs on Sunday with Newport Town back in the big time after their McDonnell Cup win last season. Ballyhaunis Town will be hoping to win the competition for the first time since 1979. When Newport Town reformed back in 2011, they set out a list of targets and they certainly have lived up to their word in the meantime. Reaching three cup finals in the space of four years is testament to that. Their journey in the Mayo League started back in 1983 but, gripped by emigration, they broke up in the mid 1990s. They made the breakthrough last year when they picked up the McDonnell Cup beating Manulla B 3-2, with Declan McTigue netting the winner. Winning the League Two title copper-fastened their dominance in a stunning season. They hope to build on that success on Sunday, having pipped Kiltimagh/Knock Utd at the post in the semi-final, with Mark Gill landing the killer-punch. In the first round they carved out a hard fought 1-0 win over Mulranny Utd with Niall Mullarkey slotting a crucial penalty. With skipper Tim Davitt out injured, new leaders will be required at Milebush Park on Sunday. The depth of talent in the squad ensures that the likes of Ciarán O’Connell, Johnny O’Donnell and Pádraig McManamon will provide the ammunition that will hopefully fire them over the line. “Our best game this season was against Kiltimagh/Knock Utd,” said Newport’s joint-manager Patrick Sweeney, “because we were kind of hit and miss in the league as we were missing too many players with injury. We probably have four or five players injured all season and that hasn’t helped our cause.” Standing in their way are Ballyhaunis Town who have been brewing up a storm recently with some fantastic displays in the Premier ‘B’ Division. The well-drilled East Mayo outfit lie third, three points adrift of league leaders Kiltimagh/Knock Utd, whom seventh-place Newport defeated in the semi-final. However, when the sides clashed two weeks ago in the league, Ballyhaunis showed no mercy, running away with a 5-2 win. The likes of Jarlath Carney, Conor Freeley and Gerry Gallagher will be hoping to keep that rich vein of form going on Sunday. However, Ballyhaunis joint manager Karl Briem doesn’t buy into the notion that they are favourites on Sunday. “I know Newport are a couple of points below us but, they are a very well organised team, very fast, physically very good, and it will take a lot of effort to beat them,” he said. Ballyhaunis certainly earned their place on Sunday after navigating some tricky ties. Their first-round meeting with Achill Rovers finished 2-2 after extra time, but they won 5-4 on penalties. In the quarter-final clash’, a second-half Michael Waldron header broke the Castlebar Celtic ‘C’ resistance and it gifted them passage into the semi-final against Glenhest Rovers. There, goals from Gerry Gallagher, Aidan Paul Kelly, Fergus Coyne, Michael Krusina and an unfortunate OG earned them a comfortable 5-0 win and now sets up a mouth-watering clash against Newport Town.
TUOHY CUP FINAL
Ballyhaunis Town v Newport Town
Sunday, July 20 Milebush Park at 3pm
Referee: T Cosgrove