Dromina (Cork ) 0-13
The Mayo senior hurlers and Murt Connelly continued their winning relationship with this one point win over Cork outfit Dromina in Cratloe at the weekend.
Connolly gave four players their first senior inter-county starts as Adrian Brennan (Ballyhaunis ), David Horan (Castlebar ), Paul O'Grady (Ballina ) and Vinnie Flannery (Castlebar ) all got an introduction to early season activity. Of the four newcomers, Paul O'Grady (Ballina James Stephens ) impressed the most bagging 1-1 on his debut. Connolly also took the opportunity to take a full look at his panel, with seven second half substitutions giving game time to newcomers Darren McTighe (Castlebar ), Liam McDermott (Ballyhaunis ), Thaigh Morley (Ballyhaunis ), Keith Jordan (Tooreen ) and Conor Douglas (Castlebar ).
Mayo went in at the break at 1-4 to 0-4 ahead with Mayo's major coming from O'Grady - as he buried low passed the advancing Cork 'keeper just before half time.
The second half changes unsteadied Mayo's rhythm, but two late frees from Stephen Hoban gave Mayo the edge at the end. Rested for this tie were Keith Higgins, Cathal Freeman and Derek McConn - while injuries kept Conor Ryan, Ronan Cullinane and Stephen Connell sidelined. Others unavailable were Kenny Feeney and Brian Hunt - both of whom were in action for GMIT in the Kehoe Cup against Meath.
With just two weeks left until the opening round of the National Hurling League on Sunday, February 13, manager Connolly is now faced with the task of putting together a team capable of getting the better of near neighbours Roscommon, in what will be the first ever Allianz Hurling League tie played at the newly finished Tooreen Hurling Grounds.
Mayo: Donal O'Brien (Ballyhaunis ); Adrian Brennan (Ballyhaunis ), Aidan Connolly (Westport ), Greg Henry (Tooreen ); David Horan (Castlebar ), Pat Connell (Castlebar ), Michael Morley (Tooreen ); Shane Morley (0-1 ) (Tooreen ), Brian Higgins (0-1 ) (Westport ); Niall Murphy (0-1 ) (Ballyhaunis ), Eoghan Madigan (0-1 ) (Westport ), Paul O'Grady (1-1 ) (Ballina James Stephens ); Vinny Flannery (Castlebar ), Declan Gallagher (Westport ), Stephen Hoban (0-6, 4f ) (Ballyhaunis ). Subs: Derek McDonnell (Belmullet ) for Gallagher, Darren McTighe (Castlebar ) for Flannery, Liam McDermott (Ballyhaunis ) for Higgins, Thaigh Morley (Ballyhaunis ) for M Morley, Colin Staunton (Westport ) for Henry, Keith Jordan (Tooreen ) for O'Brien, Conor Douglas (Castlebar ) for Horan.