Hurlers get their championship path

Renewing rivalries: Mayo's Adrian Phillips gets the ball away despite Joe Boyle's attention in last year's Nickey Rackard Cup Final. They will be seeing each other again in championship action this year after both sides were drawn in the same group for this season's Rackard Cup. Photo: Sportsfile.

Renewing rivalries: Mayo's Adrian Phillips gets the ball away despite Joe Boyle's attention in last year's Nickey Rackard Cup Final. They will be seeing each other again in championship action this year after both sides were drawn in the same group for this season's Rackard Cup. Photo: Sportsfile.

The Mayo senior hurlers know what is in front of them come the championship - once it gets going in late June.

Derek Walsh's side will be looking to go one better than they did last year in the Nickey Rackard Cup, when they were beaten in the final by Donegal.

His side will get the chance to exact some revenge against the Ulster men in this year's competition, having been drawn in the same group as the defending champions.

Alongside Donegal will be another team that Mayo faced in last year's championship run - neighbours Leitrim, who Mayo beat in the semi-final of the competition in MacHale Park to book their Croke Park date in the final.

This year's Nicky Rackard Cup will follow a different structure than normal once again due to Covid, with just five teams in the competition.

The five teams have been put into two groups - one three team and one two team, with Mayo in the three team Group A alongside Donegal and Leitrim. Each team will have one home and one away game, with Mayo starting off on the road against Donegal, prior to hosting Leitrim in round two.

The top two in Group A will go into the semi-finals of the competition alongside the winners of the two team Group B, Armagh and Tyrone, who will have just one game at this stage.

The team that comes in third place in Group A (Mayo's group ) will then face off against whoever loses the meeting of Tyrone and Armagh - in what is both a quarter-final and relegation-play-off at the same time, with the winner going into the semi-finals of the competition and the losers being relegated down to the Lory Meagher Cup for 2022.

Unlike last year when there was no promotion for the winners of the Nicky Rackard Cup (Donegal ), this year the competition winners will be promoted to the next tier of the hurling championship structure - the Christy Ring Cup.

 

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