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What now appears to be an annual meeting of Tooreen and Ballyhaunis in the Mayo Senior Hurling Championship final - will have its latest outing on Sunday - when the two east Mayo rivals square off in Ballyhaunis at 3pm.
There has been a massive turn around in the fortunes of the Mayo hurlers in the past few months.
On Sunday afternoon the Mayo senior hurlers will be looking to claim the National Hurling League division 2B crown in Cavan.
Ballina Town and Manulla sit top of division one of the Masters League after an entertaining night in Solar 21 Park on Wednesday last. The night started with a rip roaring contest between local rivals Westport United and Fahy Rovers. United were ahead 1-0 at the break but found themselves 3-2 down midway through the second period. Late goals secured a 4-3 victory. David Cameron and Vinnie O’Malley each hit a double to give Westport their first win of the season. Tom Gill, Colin Napier and Guillame Vaidi hit the goals for Rovers.
The biting cold and soaking rain probably stopped Tooreen’s most famous alleged visitor from stopping by again, but it didn’t dissuade the hurling faithful of Mayo from making their way to Adrian Freeman Park on Saturday afternoon for the latest instalment of this very local rivalry.
The Mayo senior hurlers head east on Sunday looking to pick up a win that will get their National Hurling League campaign back on track following their opening round loss to Derry in MacHale Park last Sunday afternoon. JP Coen's men were felled by the Oak Leaf county by the smallest of margins with the visitors running out winners on a scoreline of 1-14 to 1-13.
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.
After the historic high of climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand last Saturday afternoon and lifting the Nicky Rackard Cup, it's back to even more serious business tomorrow for the Mayo senior hurlers. Unlike the Christy Ring Cup, winning the competition does not guarantee you promotion to the next level of the senior hurling championship, so it's back on the road again for Mayo and a date with Derry in Ballinamore in Leitrim for the right to have a place in the draw for the Christy Ring Cup next season.
Families beckoned them over to the edge of the stand for photos to remember this day for ever, tears of joy were being wiped from eyes as the Mayo players tried to take in what had just happened on the field of battle.