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The spoils went to Tooreen in MacHale Park on Sunday, but Castlebar Mitchels left the contest with more than just their heads held high after pushing the Blue Devils all the way in the Mayo Senior Hurling Championship final.
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.
With nine minutes left to go, Mayo pulled themselves level with Meath in Semple Stadium and the game hung firmly in the balance as a brave Mayo led by the excellent Fergal Boland put themselves in with a shot of claiming the Richie McElligott Cup. But over the closing stretch of the game Meath found a second wind to power home to a deserved win, even if the scoreline was a bit flattering to them as Mayo left plenty of gaps at the back as they went chasing the game in the final few minutes.
They made it hard for themselves by hitting wide after wide in the second half despite playing with a strong breeze behind their backs, but Mayo booked their place in the All Ireland u21 B Hurling Championship Final on September 10 on Saturday afternoon in Castlebar.