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There has been a massive turn around in the fortunes of the Mayo hurlers in the past few months.
The Mayo senior hurlers retained their place in the Christy Ring Cup for 2018 thanks to a ten point win over Roscommon in Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday night. Mayo’s victory was spearheaded by ace marksman Kenny Feeney who finished up with eleven points over the 70 minutes. Having been relegated to the third tier of the championship by their opponents two years ago, this victory will have been all the sweeter for JP Coen’s men.
The Mayo senior hurlers head east on Sunday looking to pick up a win that will get their National Hurling League campaign back on track following their opening round loss to Derry in MacHale Park last Sunday afternoon. JP Coen's men were felled by the Oak Leaf county by the smallest of margins with the visitors running out winners on a scoreline of 1-14 to 1-13.
Seven days on from claiming the Nicky Rackard Cup in Croke Park, the Mayo senior hurlers completed the job by booking their place in the Christy Ring Cup next season with a 1-21 to 1-14 over Derry in Ballinamore.
After the historic high of climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand last Saturday afternoon and lifting the Nicky Rackard Cup, it's back to even more serious business tomorrow for the Mayo senior hurlers. Unlike the Christy Ring Cup, winning the competition does not guarantee you promotion to the next level of the senior hurling championship, so it's back on the road again for Mayo and a date with Derry in Ballinamore in Leitrim for the right to have a place in the draw for the Christy Ring Cup next season.
He was standing arms folded looking up as his team each took their turn lifting the Nicky Rackard Cup high into the sun kissed Croke Park sky on Saturday, but there as a grin from ear to ear on Mayo hurling manager JP Coen. The man known in hurling parts as “the Rock” had just overseen the first senior hurling championship success for a Mayo side in Croke Park.
Mayo started and finished with a bang in Croke Park on Saturday night as the claimed the Nicky Rackard Cup at the first time of asking. At times it looked like it was going away from them in the early stages of the second half, but JP Coen’s men gutted it out and ran out deserved four point winners.
The Mayo senior hurlers are going back to Croke Park for the first time since 2004, when they lost an All Ireland senior B championship final to Kildare in GAA HQ. This time they will be taking on Armagh in the Nicky Rackard Cup final after a hard fought victory over Donegal in Letterkenny on Saturday afternoon.