The Mayo hurling championships will get going this weekend with the senior championship kicking things off this evening when the defending county and provincial champions Tooreen head to Castlebar to take on the Mitchels men at 7.30pm.
This year's senior championship will see only three teams competing against the aforementioned two sides and Ballyhaunis, with Westport opting to drop into the junior championship this term after a number of years competing in the senior ranks.
It is not just the senior championship that gets underway this weekend with action in both the Junior A and B championships taking place over the next three days.
The junior championship will see four teams compete with Westport, Tooreen's second team Ballina and newcomers Moytura from south Mayo all taking part. This will be Moytura's first time in the championship at adult level since they reformed earlier this year.
In the Junior A championship this weekend Westport will host Tooreen's second team on Saturday evening, with Moytura making the trip to north Mayo to face Ballina.
In the Junior B championship there are three teams competing in this year's Castlebar Mitchels B - Claremorris and Caiseal Gaels; the meeting of Caiseal Gaels and Claremorris will get things going in that championship on Saturday evening.
Going back to the main event, the senior championship, Tooreen will be favourites to retain the TJ Tyrell Cup this year and both teams who are playing this weekend warmed up for the championship by taking part in the Cú Cullen Cup earlier this summer, which saw clubs from counties across the Northern half of the island play against each other. Tooreen picked up the division one title in that completion a few weeks ago.
Ray Larkin's side have a number of county players available to them who went to the Christy Ring Cup final this year including the likes of Shane Boland, Sean Kenny, Stephen Coyne, Eoin Delaney and also others like Fergal Boland, Sean Regan and Cathal Freeman.
Mitchels will be up against it but will be looking for the likes of Barry Lane and Conor Murray to play leading roles for them on the field this year along with a number of young up-and-comers such as Thomas Fahy and Ciaran Tracey.
The system for the senior championship is straightforward with each of the three sides playing each other once in a round robin system before the top team goes into the final and the other two play off in a semi-final for a place in the final of the competition.
Expressions of interest sought for new Mayo hurling manager
Expressions of interest are now sought by Mayo GAA to fill the vacant Senior Hurling Manager's position. The closing date for submission of Candidates is Wednesday, August 31 at 6pm. Once names are submitted, candidates will receive an application form which must be completed and returned to the secretary. All candidates must confirm in writing/email to the secretary at [email protected] that they are allowing their names to be nominated.
Hurling Championship Fixtures
Mayo GAA Senior Hurling Championship: Castlebar Mitchels v Tooreen, Friday, August 12 at 7.30pm
Mayo GAA Junior A Hurling Championship: Westport v Tooreen, Saturday, August 13 at 7.30pm; Ballina v Moytura, Saturday, August 13 at 7.30pm.
Mayo GAA Junior B Hurling Championship: Caiseal Gaels v Claremorris, Saturday, August 13 at 7.30pm.