The National Feile na nGael hurling championships celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, as the nation’s biggest underage hurling competition comes to County Clare. More than 100 teams of hurling, camogie and handballers will descend on the Banner County next weekend, as sides from every county in Ireland and beyond prepare for one of Ireland’s most prestigious tournaments. This year Mayo are represented by the Moytura hurling club based in Ballinrobe in south Mayo. The club, which was founded in 2006, was the surprise winner in this year’s Mayo competition, fending off the challenge of Castlebar, Westport, and fellow newcomers Caiseal Gaels to take the Mayo Feile 'A' title for the first time. Moytura will be hosted by the Cratloe Club from south Clare in Division three of the competition, while also grouped with Broadford (Clare ) and Castletowngeoghegan (Westmeath ). Win, lose, or draw, it has been a massive achievement for the novice club to get to this stage of the competition, and hopes are high in south Mayo that Moytura will cause a shock or two to the more traditional clubs in their group along the way.
In the camogie competition, Mayo will again be represented by the Na Brideoga club in east Mayo. Na Brideoga are the current All-Ireland Division four Feile na nGael champions, and this year will compete for the Division three prize. It is a big step up for the east Mayo girls, but the levels of growth in the club in recent years has given all involved in the club the ambition to compete at this higher level. Na Brideoga are hosted by the Inagh Camogie club in west Clare, and are also grouped with Wolfe Tones (Clare ) and Celbridge (Kildare ).
Mayo’s other participant on the weekend will be Ballyvary's Sean Mulroy, who represents Mayo at the National Feile na nGael Skills competition. The Straide native fought off all-comers in last month’s Mayo Skills competition finals, and becomes the first Ballyvary hurler to represent his club at Feile na nGael. The skills competition takes place in Cusack Park in Ennis on Saturday June 19 commencing at 12 noon.