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On bank holiday Monday at 2pm, Tooreen will be looking to see off the challenge of Four Roads from Roscommon and book their place in the Connacht Intermediate Club Hurling Championship final. Monday’s game in Athleague will see the blue devils look to keep up the form that saw them demolish Ballyhaunis in some style in the county final a fortnight ago.
One was once the name to beat in hurling for years and the other has taken up that mantle and is going in search of its sixth Mayo senior championship in a row. The TJ Tyrell cup has wintered in Tooreen 26 times in the past, but it has been ten years since it last headed in that direction and since 2008 he has made his home in Ballyhaunis. On Sunday in Ballyhaunis at 2pm both sides will meet once again in the Mayo senior hurling championship final.
In the build up to Mayo's Connacht semi-final showdown against Roscommon next Sunday, Mayo manager James Horan has said that he doesn't mind Mayo being grouped in as potential All Ireland winners as that's where his team want to be. When asked did it bother him at last weeks pre-game press conference the Mayo manager said “Not at all, we're an ambitious team, we're looking to be as good as we possibly can and we feel that we have a lot of ability and that's OK, we'll take that. We're making progress and we're going the right way. So we're just going to June 16 and see can we take the next step.”
Two weeks before their senior football colleagues open their championship campaign, the Mayo senior hurling team will travel to Newbridge to take on Kildare in the first round of the Christy Ring Cup tomorrow afternoon. The Lillywhites are 11/2 third favourites to follow in the footsteps of the likes of London, Carlow, and Westmeath in lifting the trophy, while Mayo are currently priced at 16/1, second last favourites according to one major bookmaker.
Last year’s Christy Ring Cup winners will be calling into McHale Park for a visit on Sunday afternoon as Christy Phillips’ Mayo senior hurling side look to put together back to back wins. Mayo will go into Sunday’s game boosted on the back of impressive scoring haul of 4-16 in last weekend’s victory against Armagh in the same venue.
It was only a matter of weeks ago that the curtain came down on the club scene in Mayo for 2012 and now on the second Sunday in January, the curtain is coming back up on the inter-county season for 2013. While the members of last year’s senior squad enjoyed their well deserved team holiday in Miami last week and the early part of this week, this Sunday in Ballinamore is going to be a very different experience from the sun and sand of South Beach.
The Mayo Senior Hurling Championship Final is down for decision this Sunday, October 7 at 2pm in Tooreen. Champions Ballyhaunis play neighbours Tooreen in what should be a tough and exciting encounter. Ballyhaunis are going for five in a row but local rivals Tooreen will keen to break this winning run and win their first senior championship since 2003.
The last time that the Mayo hurlers made a trip across the water to take on London in competitive action they made the headlines for all the wrong reasons when they missed their flights back from the UK capital. And less than two months on, the gods that governed the draw for the second round of the Christy Ring Cup ensured that Mayo would have to make that trip all over again.
The Mayo hurlers will face a long trip to Crossmaglen on Sunday afternoon where they will be looking to keep their unbeaten record intact against the Ulster men. Murt Connolly’s side followed up their win over Roscommon in Athleague on the opening day with a spirited draw against a fancied Meath side in McHale Park. The draw has kept Mayo in second place in the league table behind leaders Kildare and the 3-28 that Mayo have scored so far this year is a more than encouraging sign. The fact that Mayo managed to rack up 3-12 last weekend without Keith Higgins who was on football duty is another major plus for Connolly’s Mayo side.