After a 10 year absence from the top of the tree in Mayo hurling, the most decorated hurling side in the history of the county, Tooreen, are looking to cap their year with a Connacht title on Sunday.
But it is not going to be in any way easy for the east Mayo blue devils who face off against Galway champions Kilnadeema-Leitrim in Athleague at 2pm. Going in against the best intermediate side in Galway is always going to be a massive test for any Mayo hurling side, but Tooreen are riding the crest of a wave since their demolition of Ballyhaunis in the county final a few weeks ago. Since then they have beaten Roscommon champions Four Roads in the Connacht semi-final by the bare minimum on a scoreline of 0-16 to 2-9. Much like the county final, ace marksman Kenny Feeney was their main scoring threat contributing 0-11 in their win, with Fergal Bolan and Stephen Coyne chipping in with 0-2 each and Paul Hunt landing their other score. Along with those three, Tooreen will be looking for big performances from the likes of Cathal Freeman, Ciaran Charlton, Michael Morley, and the one man who could be forgiven for having divided loyalties on Sunday, Ray Larkin.
Galway man Larkin only joined up with Tooreen this year after hurling all his life against Sunday’s opponents Kilnadeema-Leitrim. Larkin even captained the side the last time the Galway team won the Galway intermediate championship back in 1999. But after moving to the east Mayo area with his wife, he threw his lot in with Tooreen. He started against Castlebar and Westport in the championship, before moving back to midfield for their win over Ballyhaunis in the Mayo final and then back into half-forward line against Four Roads in their last outing. It is not going to be an easy one for Tooreen, but they will not fear the Galway champions and Sunday could be another historic day for the hurling stronghold in Mayo.