The Mayo senior hurlers travel to Trim on Sunday afternoon to face Meath in the second round of the National Hurling League Division 2B. The two teams had contrasting fortunes in round one of the competition with Mayo just earning a draw against Roscommon, in a match they should have won, and with Meath defeating title contenders Down in Newry. Meath also hosted Christy Ring Cup winners London last weekend and were convincing winners on a score line of 2-17 to 1-11.
Despite only drawing with Roscommon, Mayo manager Christy Phillips was very encouraged by the intensity shown by his team on the day and singled out Ballina’s Sean Regan for special mention. Regan gave Roscommon full-back Declan Leonard a torrid time in that match, and was odds on to score at least one goal but for the overexuberance of referee John Keane hauling him back for a free in when he was clean through on goal. For the game against the Royals Phillips will be looking to stalwarts Donie O’Brien, Aiden Connolly, Kenny Feeney, and captain Derek McDonnell to secure an away victory. The team will also be bolstered by the return of inspirational centre back Pa Connell from a hand injury. All Star footballer Keith Higgins will also be available for selection on Sunday, having lined out for James Horan’s team the previous evening against Down in Newry.
Meath come into this game showing good early season form with Steven Clynch to the fore scoring 1-12 and 1-07 against Down and London respectively. Meath who qualified for the Division 2B final last year but lost out to Kildare will be hoping to go one better this year and get promoted to Division 2A at the second time of asking. Manager Cillian Farrell, in his third year in charge, will be aiming for his third win in as many weeks. He will be looking to strong performances from Clynch, Stephen Morris, James Toher, James Kelly, and Peter Durnin to inspire his charges. Looking at the recent form lines Mayo will travel to Trim more in hope than expectation but if they can prevent Meath from scoring goals and limit Clynch’s influence from placed balls they have more than enough talent and experience to get both points from this fixture.