The Mayo senior hurlers retained their place in the Christy Ring Cup for 2018 thanks to a ten point win over Roscommon in Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday night. Mayo’s victory was spearheaded by ace marksman Kenny Feeney who finished up with eleven points over the 70 minutes. Having been relegated to the third tier of the championship by their opponents two years ago, this victory will have been all the sweeter for JP Coen’s men.
Mayo’s greater overall strength showed down the homestretch of this game, with ten minutes gone in the second half Cathal Dolan pounced for Roscommon’s second goal of the game when he was quickest to react after Mayo keeper’ Martin Parsons batted down a long range effort from Eamon Flangan from over the bar to level the game up on a score of 0-14 to 2-8 and gave Roscommon a foothold back in the game it appeared, but over the closing 25 minutes Mayo outscored their opponents by 1-11 to 0-4, with Mayo responding almost instantly to Roscommon’s goal with one of their own from Darren McTigue, who ghosted past two defenders before firing the sliothar past Jerry Fallon in the Roscommon goal.
While Feeney hit the big scores in this game, he was ably supported by the likes of Joseph McManus who hit six points from play over the 70 minutes and Kieran McDermott who landed three points for Mayo to set up this victory.
Early doors Mayo raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after ten minutes with McDermott (2 ), Feeney and David Kenny all finding their range. Robbie Fallon got Roscommon’s first score of the game, from a placed ball ten minutes in and two minutes later Eamon Flanagan got the first goal of the evening when he flicked home Shane Curley’s long punted free into the danger area. The sides went score for score over the next few minutes, but down the closing few minutes of the half Mayo edged themselves into the lead again before the break on a score of 0-11 to 1-6, with Feeney and McManus leading the charge on the scoreboard.
Mayo’s dynamic duo continued their scoring run in the early stages of the second half, but Roscommon kept in touch with scores from Cathal Dolan and Shane Curley and when Dolan hit the back of Mayo’s net it looked like it was anyones game, but McTigue landed Mayo’s solitary goal of the game - the momentum swung back in their favour and they never let the momentum swing away from them again, with Feeney hitting five of Mayo’s last 11 points and McManus tagging on three more to bring his tally to the half dozen.
The Mayo hurling faithful will be pleased that they have retained their status in the second tier of the championship for another year, but having only beaten Roscommon in both league and championship this year, a big improvement will be needed next year if they are to make the dent in the Christy Ring Cup that they hope to do.
Mayo: K Feeney (0-11, 8f ), J McManus (0-6 ), K McDermott (0-3 ), D McTigue (1-0 ) , D Kenny (0-1 ), B Hunt (0-1 ), C Scahill (0-1 ), P Hickey (0-1 ), D McLoughlin (0-1 )
Roscommon: C Dolan (1-3, 1f ), R Fallon (0-3,3f ), P Kelly (0-3 ), E Flanagan (1-0 ), N Connaughton (0-1 ), S Curley (0-1, 1f ), M Beirne (0-1, 1f )
Mayo: M Parsons; B Hunt, G McManus, M Morley; C Freeman, E McLoughlin, S Morley; K McDermott, D McLoughlin; J McManus, D Kenny, D McTigue; J Cotter, K Feeney, C Scahill. Subs: S Mulroy, P Hickey, C Murray, S Boland, C Charlton
Roscommon: J Fallon; A Moore, P Kellehan, D Loughnane; M Beirne, P Kelly, P Nolan; S Curley, T Seale; E Flanagan, G Fallon, G Keenan; R Fallon, N Connaughton, C Dolan. Subs: D Dolan, D Keavreney, H Rooney, G Egan, E Costello.