THOUGH West United won’t need any reminding, it was on the last weekend of May that Eoin McCormack made his mark on the national stage with a hat trick as Ballinasloe Town annexed the Connacht Junior Cup crown at Eamonn Deacy Park.
On Sunday, both teams kicked off the new campaign with wins in contrasting fashion. Champions Ballinasloe Town required an addition time penalty from Gary Egan to give them a 2-1 away win over Oughterard.
Scoreless at the break, the visitors took the lead courtesy of a Darren Kelly goal just after the hour mark, before Dan Tuck scored a last minute equaliser for the home side in New Village. With extra time looming, it was Jordan O’Leary who secured a penalty and Egan duly obliged with the winner from the spot to give Ballinasloe a late success.
There were no such problems for West United at South Park as they scored twice in the second half to see off a disappointing Castlerea Celtic side by 2-0. Opportunities were few and far between in the opening half, before the home side broke the deadlock on 49 minutes.
Alan Murphy provided the initial delivery that was flicked on by Conor O’Loughlin and the pacey Sean Keogh had too much speed for Jack Higgins as he won the race to slide the ball past the advancing Thomas Hestor for a 1-0 lead.
The home side continued to enjoy the greater amount of possession and were denied two further goals as smart saves by Hestor thwarted O’Loughlin first as a leg block denied the winger. Substitute Ronan Caldwell was next to be thwarted as his close range finish was pushed away by the custodian.
Full soccer coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.