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Mayo students aim to pass play-off exam

Sport

John Corless

ONLY one game remains in the League of Ireland this season.
On Friday night UCD will face Waterford United for the right to play Premier Division football next season. The students are in that fixture due to their First Division play-off wins over Bray and Treaty United. The Blues make the Richmond Park decider as a result of finishing second-from-bottom in the Premier.
On Friday last Westport’s Paul Doyle was on the scoresheet for UCD, getting the second to consign the Seagulls to First Division football again next season.
“It put the game away,” Paul told The Mayo News. “Colm Whelan had scored from a brilliant free kick and while we were well on top, and I felt we could easily see the game out, a single goal lead can be risky, so when I scored it finished them off.”
Friday’s decider will be Paul’s last game for UCD. He has his degree finished and when the studies are over at UCD, so are the playing contracts.
“I’ll wait and see who gets in touch,” he explained. “I’d like to continue to play professionally, and we’ll see how that turns out.”
Fellow Mayo man, Harvey O’Brien from Claremorris, made his breakthrough to the UCD team this season, scoring one and creating another in a sensational debut at Galway in May.
“We won’t be afraid of Waterford,” Harvey told The Mayo News. “We know them and they know us and we believe we can beat them.”
Sligo Rovers finished third in the Premier, one better than last year.
“It was a great year,” Mark Byrne from Kilkelly told The Mayo News. “We’re delighted.”
Mark has just signed a two-year deal – hardly surprising given his performances this season.  While he only netted once, he played 25 times for Sligo and is looking forward to next season.
Another Mayo man to make headlines at the weekend was Ryan Connolly, the much-travelled Ballyglass native. His goal for Finn Harps against Longford is a contender for goal of the season – an unstoppable, left-footed half-volley from well outside the box.
The win, and Waterford’s draw, kept the Donegal outfit the right side of the play-off zone.

 

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