Mayo hurlers head to Derry for Christy Ring Cup opener

The Mayo hurlers are hitting the long road to Owenbeg to face Derry this Saturday and get their Christy Ring Cup campaign off to a start for another year.

Mayo fared well in the competition last year, making their way to a semi-final spot but lost out to Kerry. The cup was eventually won by Kildare.

Tomorrow Mayo will, unfortunately for manager JP Coen, be without one of their star performers as Ballyhaunis man Keith Higgins, who has previous to this played an important dual role at county level, is concentrating on the football side of things this year and so isn’t available at the weekend.

There is no doubt the hurlers have a tough challenge ahead against Derry.

Derry finished comfortably in the middle of their division 2A above Mayo in the league, who had to play a relegation play-off against Donegal to maintain their Division 2B status.

Mayo will be focussed on putting behind them that difficult league season, which featured four defeats in a row.

They will be looking to make a positive mark on this campaign tomorrow and maybe thinking of the newly added incentive to a winning Christy Ring Cup campaign this year.

For the first time, the winners of the second-tier Christy Ring Cup will secure a place in the qualifier stages of the Liam McCarthy Cup competition in 2016.

For hurling fans, let the games begin.

Altogether eight teams contest the Christy Ring Cup - Kerry, Down, London, Wicklow, Kildare and Meath being the other six.

Other fixtures in the competition this weekend are Kerry v Down at Austin Stack Park; London v Kildare in Ruislip; and Meath v Wicklow in Trim.

Action gets underway for Mayo v Derry at Owenbeg at 2pm on Saturday May 2.

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