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It has been a busy few weeks for the Ballyhaunis hurlers and it is about to get busier again. On Sunday, they face into their fourth game in 14 days, having draw the Mayo Senior Hurling Championship final with Tooreen last Sunday week, before they eventually got the better of them in another Titanic encounter in Ballyhaunis last Sunday by just three points. They followed that up on Wednesday evening with a 1-12 to 0-9 win over Roscommon champions Oran in the semifinal of the Connacht Intermediate Championship in the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence and now on this coming Sunday, they face Galway champions Ahascragh-Fohenagh in the final of that competition at 2pm in Athleague.
There are derby days in all sports all over the globe, but there are very few that are as intimate as what has become the now annual shoot-out for the Mayo senior hurling championship between Ballyhaunis and Tooreen. On Sunday afternoon in the east Mayo village of Tooreen, that rivalry will have another showdown for local pride and county honours.
Getting relegated out of the second tier of the senior inter-county hurling championship would never have been part of the plan for Mayo, but that was what happened last year when a disappointing season ended with them dropping down into the third tier competition for the first time since the new championship gradings were introduced back in 2005. Up until this demotion Mayo had operated in the Christy Ring Cup and held their own for the most part with the sides in that competition.
Mayo make the trip to the Athletic Grounds in Armagh today to take on the Orchard County in what is a must win game for JP Coen’s men. After winning three out of three in their opening games in the league this year, Mayo slipped into third place in the table and out of the placings for a spot in the league final and a crack at promotion to Division 2A for next year after their disappointing loss to Wicklow last weekend in Castlebar.
A Kenny Feeney goal 20 minutes from time was the deciding moment in this entertaining encounter that saw Mayo get off to a winning start in the National Hurling League in Castlebar on Sunday. Feeney and Keith Higgins were the main men for Mayo with the two scoring a combined 1-9 between them over the 70 minutes.