Mayo look to pick up after Derry defeat

While the rest of the country was fighting off the chill last Sunday and the pre-eminent side in the game couldn’t make it to Galway for their league game, Mayo made the long trip to Derry to open their account in division 3A of the National Hurling league. And despite a brave battle by their defence and midfield they came out on the wrong side of a 0-9 to 0-6 scoreline. Martin Brennan along with Pete Finnerty is again patrolling the sidelines this year and Brennan was disappointed with the result last weekend. “Well it was played in terrible conditions and we didn’t even think it would be played at all, but that’s no excuse for the scoreline. The conditions were the same for us as they were for Derry. Our defence and midfield put in a fantastic display, but it was up front where we had our problems and it’s something we need to get sorted out.”

This weekend offers Brennan and his side the chance for an immediate return to winning ways when Meath come to Charlestown on Sunday. “Meath are going to be a tough ask this weekend, they are a good side and beat us in the Christy Ring Cup last year so we know it’s not going to be easy. Were also going to be missing full back Aidan Connelly who is out of the country this weekend and is going to be a big loss to take on top of the other losses we have taken in the last while.”

Currently Mayo are without the services of senior players Keith Higgins and Stephen Coyne who are away travelling. Also missing from last year’s squad are Seamie Barrett, who is away with work, and Anthony Healy, who hasn’t rejoined the panel as hoped by Brennan. “There’s no denying it that the panel is not as strong as it has been for the past few years at the minute, we’ve got to keep plugging away until we get up to speed. Thankfully our defence is very settled and have been playing together for two years now, we just have to find our balance in the forwards which has been missing so far this year.”

The ban on collective training until the new year along with the lack of warm up games under their belts is another thing which has hampered preparations for the upcoming year according to Brennan. “By this time last year we had a lot more of the ground work put in, but we haven’t been able to do that so far. Last year we had a couple of games in the Connacht league behind us as well, but that hasn’t run this year, so we are a bit behind where we want to be at this stage.”


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