On Saturday last Mayo hurlers travelled to Ruislip to play London in Round 2 (B ) of the Christy Ring Cup hoping to erase memories of their 14 points defeat in the National Hurling League earlier in the season. London were strong favourites to prevail again but Mayo blazed into the game with two well taken goals from Brian ‘Deano’ Hunt in the first and third minutes. London responded with points from Martin Finn, Shane Ryan, and Henry Vaughan. Derek McDonnell put Mayo further in front with two magnificent points. London quickly replied with points from Finn and James Egan. London dominated the remaining 20 minutes of the first half scoring 2-5 without reply, with the goals coming from Finn and Jonathan Maher. A great interception by Mayo fullback Aiden Connolly prevented a third London goal. Mayo responded with a pointed free from Kenny Feeney on the stroke of half-time. The score at the break was 2-10 to 2-3 in favour of London, leaving Mayo with a mountain to climb in the second half.
Mayo came out in the second half determined to defy the odds and quickly got off the mark with a pointed free from Feeney. London full forward Finn responded with three well taken points including an outrageous attempt from 45 metres that split the posts despite the best efforts of Mayo's Aiden Connolly. The result now appeared inevitable but Mayo dual star Keith Higgins had not read the script and delivered a long ball into the square that broke to his club mate Cathal Freeman who drilled it into the back of the net. London 2-13, Mayo 3-4 game on!
With Mayo's superior fitness and London tiring the Green and Red dominated the remainder of the game playing all the hurling in their opponent's half. Points from Kenny Feeney from placed balls and a superb effort from captain Keith Higgins put Mayo just three behind with time running out. On the 37th minute Mayo were awarded a 21 metre free which saw Mayo keeper Donal O'Brien coming forward to try to force extra time, however his shot whizzed inches over the crossbar. On the puck-out referee David Hughes blew the final whistle to see London hold out by two points, final score London 2-15, Mayo 3-10.
Man of the match Martin Finn dominated for London at full forward ably assisted by Lee Mackey, Jonathan Maher, James Egan, and Shane Ryan. Mayo had sterling performances from Brian Hunt, Derek McDonnell, Keith Higgins, and Kenny Feeney. Mayo fullback Aiden Connolly repelled the London attack time and time again, providing telling clearances into the Mayo forward line and was Mayo's best player on display. Looking at other results in the Christy Ring championship on Saturday Mayo will rue the dominance of London in the second quarter and left Ruislip wondering what they have to do to earn a break in this competition. London's reward for victory is a trip to Derry on May 19 for the quarter-final clash.
London: Martin Finn 1-09 (5 frees ), Jonathan Maher 1-01, James Egan 0-03, Shane Ryan and Henry Vaughan 0-01 each.
Mayo: Brian Hunt 2-0, Kenny Feeney 0-05 (5 frees ), Cathal Freeman 1-0, Derek McDonnell 0-02, Keith Higgins 0-02 (1 free ), Donal O'Brien 0-01 (free ).