Mayo look to let loose against Leitrim

GAA: Nicky Rackard Cup

On the run: Keith Higgins breaks for goal against Donegal last weekend. Photo: Ciara Buckley.

On the run: Keith Higgins breaks for goal against Donegal last weekend. Photo: Ciara Buckley.

The Mayo senior hurlers will be back in action on home soil on Saturday afternoon, when they take on Leitrim in round two of the Nicky Rackard Cup in MacHale Park at 3pm.

The last time these sides met was in the semi-final of the competition last Winter, with Leitrim really putting it up to Mayo for long periods before Mayo drove home in the latter stages to seal a 3-23 to 1-11 win.

Derek Walsh's men head into the game on the back of a morale-boosting come-from-behind 2-14 to 0-17 win last Saturday on the road against their rivals for the title, Donegal, in Letterkenny.

A win on Saturday will send Derek Walsh's men straight into the semi-finals of the competition and give them a three-week break from competitive action to prepare for that game.

Mayo hit 1-4 late on to see off a Donegal side that had recently beaten them in the league along with last Winter's Nicky Rackard Cup final.

Donegal dominated the game for long parts and led by 0-8 to 1-3 at the interval with Adrian Phillip's goal right on the half-time whistle, bringing Mayo right back into the game. Keith Higgins skipped his way through the Donegal defence before finding Phillips, who finished from close range.

Mayo upped their performance levels in the third quarter with Eoin Delaney and Shane Boland putting the scores on the board for Mayo to send them in level at 1-9 to 0-12 at the final water break.

But it was in the final quarter where things really got dramatic; late on the hosts were ahead by three points but Keith Higgins showed great awareness to pounce on a fumble by Donegal goalkeeper Luke White, to finish to the net to level it up; he followed that up shortly afterwards with a huge score from out under the stands and two big pointed frees from Boland sealed the points for Mayo, along with an important win over a side they will be expecting to see later on this month in the final stages of the competition.


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