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WESTPORT United manager Padraig Burns has signalled his intent to step down from the position of manager of the reigning FAI Junior Cup and Super League champions.

Burns announced the decision to the players last week, citing the need for a fresh face if Westport are to redouble their efforts in both domestic and external competitions.

“Myself and Kevin [Cusack, joint-manager who himself resigned earlier this year] have been involved since 2003 and that’s a long time in football. I feel that if this team is going to challenge again at the top level of Junior soccer then they need a fresh face to change things up. I feel it is for the good of the team that a new voice will be heard in the dressing room,” said Burns.

Since the duo took over from Noelie Moran in April, 2003, they have, in three years, become the most successful management team ever at Westport United, the oldest club in Connacht.

Back to back Super League titles were won in 2004 and 2005 while the club also lifted the AIB Cup in 2003 but it is the achievement of Burns and Cusack in bringing Westport United to a historic FAI Junior Cup win in June, 2004, that will stand head and shoulders above all other achievements during their spell in charge.

Meanwhile, the appeal against Castlebar Celtic’s participation in the FAI Junior Cup was thrown out by the FAI Junior Council. The meeting was held on Tuesday night week last and Castlebar Celtic were informed of the decision on Thursday.

The appeal was put in by Neilstown Rangers, whom Celtic defeated in the Last 16, and it questioned the eligibility of Celtic goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly and also the eligibility of Celtic playing, what Neilstown claimed, was five former Senior players. The Junior Council decided that Celtic had no case to answer and Neilstown have four days to appeal the decision. Should they not, it is expected that Celtic will play their much awaited Junior Cup quarter-final game against Clonmel Town on April 9.

The Castlebar outfit were handed a further incentive ahead of that game this week with the news that a victory would earn the right to a home draw in the First Round of the FAI Carlsberg Senior Challenge Cup against Leinster Intermediate League side Fairview CYM.

A place in the draw is the right of all teams who reach the semi-finals of the Junior Cup and should Celtic beat Clonmel, then they will be welcoming Fairview, who are in Division 1b of the Leinster Intermediate League, to Celtic Park. The fixtures are due to be played on the week ending April 23.

Elsewhere, the first quarterly draw of Castlebar Celtic’s Development Club 300 Limited Draw will take place in Rocky’s Bar on Friday, March 31 at 9.30pm.

On the night the following prizes are up for grabs: First prize, €1,000; Second, Weekend for 2 at the Galway Radison SAS Hotel and cash prizes for third, fourth, fifth and sixth.

Celtic have recently switched on an impressive €150,000 floodlighting system at Celtic Park and monies raised from the 300 Development Club aided this development enormously. The floodlights have been paid for in full.

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