MAYO’S biggest soccer clubs will have their aspirations of an assault on the FAI Junior Cup seriously tested this weekend with difficult trips in the last 64 of the competition.
Westport must travel to take on Dublin AUL side Portmarnock. Winners of the competition in 2000, Portmarnock have also won the Leinster Junior Cup for the past two seasons.
They have been having something of a running battle with Westport’s old foes Killester over the last two years. Last May in the last game of the AUL Premier A season Killester went to Portmarnock and won in a winner take all clash for the league title. The year before the exact opposite happened.
In last September’s delayed Leinster Cup final Portmarnock defeated Killester 2-1 but that result was tempered somewhat by the decision of Killester manager Joey Graydon to practically field a second team in a competition he feels “has no importance”.
But Portmarnock are a serious outfit. Experienced Irish Junior International Barry Flynn is not getting a game for the Paddy’s Hill based side and Westport could find it very hard to get anything from this game if they go a goal behind on Sunday.
If Westport can be as solid as they are capable of being at the back they may have, in players like Dave Cameron, Dessie O’Malley and Vinny O’Malley, the greater creative ability to break down Portmarnock. Westport can advance but anything less than their best won’t cut it.
Castlebar Celtic face a tough task if they are to win the competition Gavin Dykes so clearly wants. Wembley beat Celtic’s U17’s in last season’s FAI U17 semi-final and five of that team are involved with Wembley’s Junior side. However, Celtic are masters at getting results by now and should scrap through.