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The Mayo senior hurlers will pass the half-way mark of their league season on Sunday when they take on Down in Páirc Esler in Newry at 2pm. Christy Phillip’s side will be looking to bounce back from a five-point defeat at the hands of Meath in Trim last time. That defeat leaves Mayo with a notch in both the win and loss columns so far and has them locked in a four-way tie on two points each with Fingal, Wicklow, and Meath from the opening two rounds. Sunday’s opponents are sitting two of the division 2b table with two wins from two having seen off Wicklow and Armagh. Their win over the Orchard County in the first round was particularly impressive where they ran up 2-20 on their hosts in the Athletic Grounds.
GAA: National Hurling League
Kiltane dream ends in Croker
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.
Following on from their 11-point defeat at the hands of Kildare in Newbridge last weekend in round one of the Christy Ring Cup, the Mayo senior hurling team are on the road east again this weekend looking to keep their season alive. Christy Phillips side will make the journey to Arklow for tomorrow afternoon’s game knowing that unless they pick up a win their season will come to an end in the second weekend of May.
It was a very strange league campaign for Mayo in division 2B of the national hurling league. They were unbeaten against the top two teams in the division yet only managed to finish in fourth place in the table out of six teams. The league campaign was bookended by impressive wins over bottom of the table Roscommon and eventual table toppers Kildare at the very end of the league stages. Both those wins of course did feature the talents of Keith Higgins who, as has become the norm in recent years, is balancing life as an inter-county footballer for one of the top sides in the country, and as the captain and leader of an inter-county hurling team a nice bit down the food chain when it comes to the small ball game. In between those two wins, Mayo held a fancied Meath side to a draw in Castlebar, before being beaten on the road by Armagh and overseas by London.
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.