The Mayo senior hurlers have two chances to avoid the drop to Division 3A of the National Hurling League over the next three weeks. On Sunday in Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon they will face Donegal in the Division 2B relegation play-off, if they win that game they will secure their status for next season. If they lose that game, they will then enter a promotion-relegation play-off against the winners of Division 3A in a final fling clash over the weekend of Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12. The final of Division 3A is down for decision on Easter Saturday, April 4 when Tyrone and Monaghan meet in the title decider.
Mayo finished off their Division 2B regular season run last Sunday when Armagh ran out 13 point winners over JP Coen’s side in Elverys MacHale Park. The Orchard county had too much class for Mayo and an early second half scoring run saw them extend their two point interval lead to a nine point lead by the three quarter-stage mark.
Armagh led by 0-8 to 0-6 at the break thanks to the sharp-shooting of full-forward Ryan Gaffney who scored five points in the first 35 minutes. Gaffney would go on to finish with 11 points for the day.
Mayo kept in touch in the first half thanks to a late trio of points from Kenny Feeney frees. The Tooreen man finished with six points to his name, but it wasn’t enough to keep Mayo in touch in a contest that they really needed to win, but fell dramatically short in.
That was Mayo’s fourth defeat on the bounce and followed losses to Meath, Down and Kildare after Mayo had opened their league campaign with a win against Donegal.
On Sunday it is the Ulster men they will face again as they try to pull themselves out of the relegation quick sand. When they met in the first round of the league back in February, Mayo ran out eight point winners on a score of 3-14 to 1-12 with Brian Hunt the main man bagging 2-4 for Mayo, with Eoin Collins getting the other major for Coen’s men. The Ballyhaunis man will be looking for his side to produce somthing similar on Sunday to get their season back on track and shake off the loosing run that they’ve been on. If Mayo manage to see off Donegal on Sunday, it will give them four weeks to get their game in shape before they take on Derry on the road in the first round of the Christy Ring Cup to start their championship season.
National Hurling League Fixture
Division 2B Relegation Play-Off
Mayo v Donegal (Sunday, March 29 at 2pm in Carrick-on-Shannon )