Following on from their 11-point defeat at the hands of Kildare in Newbridge last weekend in round one of the Christy Ring Cup, the Mayo senior hurling team are on the road east again this weekend looking to keep their season alive. Christy Phillips side will make the journey to Arklow for tomorrow afternoon’s game knowing that unless they pick up a win their season will come to an end in the second weekend of May.
While Mayo were well beaten by the Lillywhites last Saturday, Wicklow were unlucky to come out on the wrong side of 1-11 to 1-10 clash away to Derry in Owenbeg.
As was the case last weekend, Mayo will be playing a Leinster side who were operating in the division above them during the national league and its going to be a very tough task ahead of them.
Mayo kept check with their opponents last weekend in the opening half of the game and were only a point behind after a high-scoring first half hour, with Kildare leading by 0-8 to 0-7. However in the final five minutes of the half, Kildare were able to reel off four points to Mayo’s one to go in leading by 0-12 to 0-8 at the break.
The second half saw Kildare keep building up their lead with Mayo occasionally chipping away at it, mostly through frees from Sean Regan. With 19 minutes left on the clock Kildare hit the killer score when their full forward Bernard Deay drove the ball past Mayo goalkeeper Donal O’Brien to put the Lenister men 1-15 to 0-11 up and the game firmly out of Mayo’s reach. The game wound down with both sides adding on another handful of points to see out the contest.
Lots to improve on for Mayo ahead of tomorrow
What will be particularly disappointing for Mayo is that they were only able to register one score from play over the 70 minutes from their forward six and they will more than likely be without the services of Keith Higgins on Saturday as he prepares for the opening of the Connacht Senior Football Championship the following weekend against Galway. Christy Philips will be looking for a lot more from the likes of Kenny Feeney, Derek McDonnell and Stephen Hoban tomorrow if they get the nod in attack again on Saturday. Sean Regan has continued to impress in his debut season and his contribution of 10 points last Saturday will need to be repeated if they are to have a chance of picking up the win on Sunday.
As for Mayo’s opponents tomorrow, they were very unlucky to lose out to Derry last weekend. Despite being reduced to 14 men in the first half and going down by five points with less than 20 minutes to go, Wicklow nearly pulled off a come-from-behind win. Wicklow wing back Gary Byrne was dismissed in the first half for picking up a second yellow card in a game they were already struggling to get into, following an early goal for Derry from Shane Farren. But Wicklow regrouped at the break and got right back into the game at the end with Andy O’Brien’s penalty midway through the second half giving them belief. Throw in Arklow tomorrow is at 3pm.