Following on from last weekend’s win over Cavan in a challenge game in Belmullet, Mayo saw off Westmeath in Tarmonbarry on Tuesday night by 1-13 to 0-11 as their build up to the championship continues at pace. That build up will continue tonight when Dublin head to south Mayo, Hollymount to be precise, where the sides will lock horns with John O’Mahnony’s Mayo in another challenge game with throw in down for 7.30pm.
In the challenge game on Tuesday night, Keith Higgins made his first start for the footballers since injury, he played with the hurlers over the previous two weekends, while Tom Cunniffe continued to line out at centre half back and looks to be the front runner to hold on to the number six shirt for the visit to Sligo.
Mayo’s preparations for the June 5 clash with Sligo were hampered earlier in the week with the news that Aidan Kilcoyne picked up a knee injury while playing for Knockmore against Charlestown last weekend. It will be a blow for both Mayo and Kilcoyne personally, he broke a collar bone against Meath in last year’s championship exit and only returned to action for Mayo in the league final defeat to Cork. Alan Dillon also picked up a hamstring injury playing for Ballintubber last weekend, while Tom Parsons and Donal Vaughan both have groin injuries they picked up over the last week.
While the footballers are building up to the start of the championship, the Mayo hurlers are on the look out for a new manager following their exit from the Christ Ring Cup last weekend. The Mayo managment team of Martin Brennan and Pete Finnerty stepped aside following their defeat to Down in Charlestown last Saturday, and afterwards an emotional Brennan told the press: “It's over with Mayo hurling, at half time we thought we had a serious chance. We knew that Down were going to come at us, but with the extra man we really, really, thought we had a chance. But whatever has happened us this year, we've been in games at half time numerous times, but I don't know what it is, we've let ourselves down midway through the second half. I don't know what it is, it was the same last week we were four points up at half time and we let them back into it.” Brennan choked back the tears as he assessed his five years involved with the squad. “I'm leaving the scene now and I'm gone, but I seriously think this team needs to go down to the Nicky Rackard and win it and come up before they can compete at Christy Ring Cup level. Today tells me we are not at that level being brutally honest, and that's the most disappointing thing. To be within one game of two Christy Ring finals in the last two years and Carlow they robbed us two years ago and they are playing Wexford in the Liam McCarthy Cup in a few weeks time, where did Mayo hurling go in the last few years”. The hunt will now be on for a new man to take over the side.