Focus shifts to the hurlers this weekend

Photo: @MayoGAA

The county’s hurlers don’t, I confess, get much of a look-in here on the site at the best of times. But with this mini-break on the football side of the house, it’s worth giving the hurlers’ endeavours a mention.

Last year was a poor one for the county’s small ball devotees. They finished one off the bottom of Division 2B in the 2017 NHL and only avoided relegation to the third division thanks to a play-off win over Roscommon.

Things didn’t get better in the championship either. Back in the Christy Ring, the hurlers lost first to Kildare and then to Carlow.

A further relegation play-off against Roscommon followed, this time to avoid demotion to the Rackard Cup. This one was won as well, though, as events subsequently transpired, it turned out not to be a relegation avoider at all. Despite that defeat, Roscommon retained their Christy Ring status following the re-jigging of the hurling championship for 2018.

This year has started far brighter for the county’s stick men. With Keith Higgins now in their ranks (ahem – maybe it’s time this particular sojourn might soon end?) Derek Walsh’s charges have two wins from two outings.

Two weekends ago the lads began their NHL Division 2B campaign in fine style, recording a 2-16 to 1-9 win over Donegal at James Stephens Park. They followed this up with a 3-15 to 2-13 victory over Armagh up at the Athletic Grounds last Sunday.

This coming Sunday the hurlers are on the road north again. This time their opponents are Derry and the Round 3 fixture takes place on Sunday at Celtic Park, where throw-in is at the early time of 12.30pm.

The Oak Leaf County are winless so far in Division 2B this year. They lost by 2-17 to 1-14 at Celtic Park to Down in Round 1 and they then fell heavily to Donegal last weekend, losing by 4-17 to 2-9 at Letterkenny.

The bookies have installed our lads as 1/4 favourites to win this one. It’s likely to be far from a walkover, though, as it’s worth bearing in mind that Derry were shorn of the services of the Slaughtneil players for their opening two games. They’re expected to be back in harness to face the Green and Red this weekend.

Best of luck to the Mayo lads up in Celtic Park on Sunday.

51 thoughts on “Focus shifts to the hurlers this weekend

  1. Would be a very different challenge if Derry have the Slaughtneil lads back. However, not sure that any of the Slaughtneil lads will be back as most of them are involved with their club football team as well…
    Regarding Keith – given the apparent absence of pace in Mayo’s backline last weekend, Keith’s current absence from the football arguably diminishes the Mayo footabllers in the short term. However I think if one takes a bigger picture view it might be no harm. There is currently a lot more freedom (and enjoyment??) for Keith to be had in terrorising lower division hurling team’s defences than being involved in the attritional fare of the NFL. Also, his occasionally twinge prone hamstrings are less likely to be overworked on heavy ground with the hurlers than in the football. When he does rejoin the footballers, he will hopefully be refreshed and revitalised (and injury free)

  2. Maybe WJ will be tempted to support Aghamore against Provincial representatives Corofin today? ;-). Not that Galway teams merit much support from us after their County team’s antics in Salthill last Sunday. Maybe even an argument in favour of Corofin exiting now so that Galway might take more points off our opponents in Division 1.

  3. Just heard Brolly on Des Cahill Sat interview on about ‘Mayo’s capitulation’ last Saturday against the Tribesmen………His view is that without Leeroy, the team has no leader………etc.

  4. What can you expect out of an ass, MartyK, only a bray? I swear I’m tempted to bar people if they keep posting what Brolly has to say. The man’s a total idiot, his opinions are less than worthless and nobody in their right mind should pay a bit of heed to him.

  5. What has joe brolly got to do with the Mayo hurlers…..this is a hurling thread right? such a shame the hurlers don’t the respect or recognition they deserve…..good luck to them tomorrow anyway….well done anyway willie joe for your informative post!

  6. Ha Ha WJ, I agree, an ass for sure when the focus is on the ‘Green n Red, but in the right context the heart can be in the right place……I did a 100k donor card awareness cycle a couple of years ago in Ballina at which JB was the main guest. After the prelim speech, he joined the group and did the cycle himself too.

    mayoandproud, apologies – As I was typing the above 2-liner I became very aware that this was a hurling thread and limited my comments. Hopefully you’ll forgive me if I tell you that I was a hurler myself, and did a very short stint with Tooreen in the late 70s. I still carry, at all times, a pair of hurls and two sliothars in the boot of the car in case of over-lengthy housebound soujourns on family visits, when there’s a nearby empty green field and someone to take a time out with me for a puck of two !

  7. Martyk…..seeing as you have tooreen connections you are forgiven! I have to say it is wonderful to see Keith Higgins playing hurling for mayo, hope he can find a way to carry on….but as first Christy ring match is day before the mayo/Galway football match on 13 may it looks like he will have to choose……??…….

  8. Higgins will be back in time but the lad is entitled to his season with the hurlers. He’s not getting any younger and hurling is his number 1 love. So have at it Keith. Three out of three today would be a very strong start for the hurlers. Albeit with much tougher tests ahead. I assume Keith will be involved all through the Christy Ring campaign as well

  9. I see the ref who sent off the Corofin full forward after one minute was the same guy who didn’t send off Luke Shanaghan from Kerry for his assault on Evan Regan. Oh apologies to E Fitzmaurice, I meant to say genuine tackle on Evan Regan

  10. Great stuff from the hurlers. 10-3 down just after half time but came back to win 13-10. We could be in the same division as the dubs next year the way the leagues are going! 🙂

  11. Another good result for the hurlers – they won in Derry by 0-13 to 0-10. Losing by 0-9 to 0-3 at half-time (they didn’t get their opening score until the 25th minute) they won it with a strong second half surge.

  12. Well done to the lads today. I thought I was seeing things when I spied the final score. The hard work is paying off.

  13. Great bunch of hurlers..great grit and team spirit. On the football front Adam Gallagher continues to impress, came so close to causing upset v UCD. Hopefully it will mean plenty of game time for him in a mayo Jersey for rest of league. How can you build player confidence, indeed hold on to fringe players, if they are not getting a look in? Both Boland and Gallagher should start v dubs. Give them that vote of confidence they need

  14. Terrific result. There must have been a strong breeze going by the contrast in scores between half and full time!

    They’ve retained divisional status now which is great. Two games against the strongest teams in the division left to go so up against it. Win one though and they could end up in a league final! But wicklow and down will be a different level to the last three games.

    I assume we are at home for at least one, if not both?

  15. Down 6pts (+25)
    Mayo 6pts (+18)
    Wicklow 4pts (+12)
    Donegal 2pts
    Armagh 0pts
    Derry 0pts

    After three games, that’s as healthy a position we have been in in the league at this stage in a long time. And Armagh and Derry were both away games too.

  16. At the risk of flooding the thread – a win v Wicklow next week, while a big ask, would guarantee a league final for Mayo v Down.

    It’s in MacHale Park on Sunday which is great, as it doesn’t clash with football. If ye can go support the lads, get on it =) I’m looking forward to it now

    Up Mayo!

  17. Monaghan won vs kerry in the football so we’re in big trouble. Need a dramatic improvement if we’re to stay up

  18. Well done to the hurlers I have no problem with Keith carrying on with them for the time been. However today’s result is not a good one for us. Only Kildare and Donegal below us and Donegal could easily be on four points and are in a false position. This could be the year that our luck finally runs out and we go down.

  19. Hurlers play Wicklow at home next sun, and Down away Sunday 4 march, same day as mayo footballers play Kildare away. Great turnaround today, Midwest had them written off at half time, very poor coverage and reporting during the game….

  20. Ontheditch….I agree re Gallagher and Boland….otherwise give Boland back to the hurlers where he will definitely start….just saying….Also Adam Gallagher was an excellent hurler, played up to u16 …..:)

  21. I expect Adam Gallagher to start a few league games now and he deserves to. However, I just have a feeling he doesn’t have the real burst of speed needed for intercounty football. The last thing we need is another forward that is short of pace. Hope he proves me wrong though.

  22. Great result for the hurlers. Well done.

    I just can’t see us getting anything out of the Dublin game. Our game away to Kildare will be make or break time.

  23. Boland burst on football scene in Jan 17, as excellent foot and hand passer of the ball. He is a quality player in the making but needs oppounities. Gallagher has come through sigerson with flying colors. But otherwise we know little about them at inter county level. And giving them five ten mins at end of game is not helpful. Start them with AOS. I feel Gallagher has leadership capabilities, but as SME fears above pace would be a concern. We really need to see these guys and others. The only thing we will get out of the dubs game is exposing a few new lads to standard required at top. I’m we should name our team our panel early and let Gavin make what he likes of it
    What an addition the two boys would be to the hurlers

  24. Mayo’s Cora Staunton inspired her Great Western Sydney Giants teammates to victory first ever away win Cora a star but played second half with broken nose…

  25. Some of us ( me) prefer football, probably because we didn’t play or played very little hurling growing up down in Mayo, the footballers will get / need Keith Higgins back for the last 2 or 3 league matches.
    I was at the UCG v UCD game yesterday, Adam Gallagher is a good link man, has good skill on the ball, would be better suited to centre or full forward position. Galway will have good footballers at Senior level in next few years, Cooke, Molloy and Finnerty are very good, we all know about Comer. UCG management made the mistake of taking him way too far out of the full forward position in the 2nd half. Coen was steady at centre back, also a good link man, and he made good use of the ball yesterday, only one foot pass went astray.

  26. I am wondering is the mayo captaincy with cillian this year. if not,S.R. could do worse than appoint stephen coen the captain.HE IS ONE LUCKY CAPTAIN,he has captained minor, under 21 and now the sigerson with U.C.D. maybe i am clutching at straws but stephen coen could be our lucky general on the field of play

  27. @jimbo I just cannot see coen starting in ist 15 come championship.he is a great leader but I would be concerned about lack of speed and he distribution of the ball needs to improve!
    However he young and will improve.
    I would be more inclined to give captaincy to O Shea .think he made for it and would relish it.also would take the pressure off cillian.

  28. Aidan would agree aos would be my choice as well.cillian needs to settle down work on his own game and start enjoying his football again.

  29. Well done to the hurlers today. That was a great win and one I was not expecting. Looking forward to their home game in McHale Park next Sunday

  30. It was interesting that cillian was captain v Galway and aidan didn’t continue as captain from the Kerry game. Does that mean SR is sticking with cillian as captain??? Hope not!!

  31. Robinbanks… Agree with you…. You need to be cast iorn certainty to be starting, before you should be captain of Mayo…. Cillian is now suspended…. Neither his free taking or general play is good enough at the moment… And certainly his on field discipline isint…. I do feel he work’s very well with Andy…. Is this enough to garuntee Cillian a starting place in Stephen Rochford plan’s?… It probably is,… Will it garuntee Cillian the primary free taking role?… Almost certainly…. Will Cillian captain Mayo for the 2018 championship?… He might, and I will surprised if he doesn’t, but I would prefer someone else…. Maybe Aiden……. Would Jim Gavin start Cillian?… He would,, IF Cillian was doing the business and he would drop him the moment his standards dropped…. But Jim Gavin has inside forward options that Stephen Rochford and Mayo just don’t have…. We should thank our lucky star’s for Andy and Jason Doherty, both are miles ahead of Cillian at this moment in time…. I have ever faith in Cillians ability to regain his best form… It’s a big challenge for Cillian, and a big challenge for the Mayo management as to how they handle the situation!

  32. What’s the story with Brian Reape. He played well against the current Galway full back on the FBD. The same full back played very well against us last weekend. Apparently Reape had a stormer against Corofin in a challenge.
    No sign of him getting on the panel for league games. Surely he needs to get run as we are not blessed with six foot inside forwards who can score.

  33. The problem with Mayo is we haven’t explored/developed options.
    Many counties have the target mantaining div 1 status in the league. The probability of a hammering from a super fit Dublin team is not beneficial to developing teams. Let’s be honest, it is impossible to match the dubs for fitness and strength in depth at this time of the year. September is a different story in that superior fitness will be out of the equation.

  34. Agree , but some of the options are just not up to senior championship football yet as it takes years if s+c to develop into that type of beast but still think there might be a few surprises come championship – Ya will have cone , loftus , Gallagher , Nally and Boland all pushing for places .Add in Donnie , Barrett , Higgins , Seamie ,Tom ,Lee and Harrison and I think we will be well set for Galway

  35. Haven’t posted here in a while. Still getting over last September!

    Great to see the hurlers going well, they look to have a nice panel there and have hit the ground early. Probably helped by the fact the Tooreen lads are so sharp at this time of year and of course the fact that Keith has come back. At the level the lads are at the league is as important as championship. A league final is well withing their grasps and I’d fancy them to take Wicklow at home.

    Looks like Keith will be playing Christy Ring come summer which would rule him out of early part of football championship. The man is well entitled to a year with the hurlers should he wish to take that path. Best of luck to him in whatever he decides.

  36. @DecM . Have we got that potential elusive forward who will take a game by the scruff of the neck and pull us out of the fire? In relation to s and c the guys listed above have bit to do to be hardened regulars, but you would like to think they could be impact subs. I agree with your list above as a reasonable bench, but both Gallagher and Boland need game time. Starting them would be a vote of confidence from the management..

  37. I thought that Adam Gallagher played really well in the Sigerson final on Saturday for NUIG who lost narrowly to UCD.A very intelligent foward and deserves his place in the Mayo fowards line. Comhgairdeas to Stephen Coen who also played well and of course bhi se mar captean foireann UCD.

  38. I can’t believe the amount of people calling for Cillian to be replaced as captain.He would go through iron and back for Mayo,never shirks contact,scares the shit outta opposing backs and is a key link in everything good that happens in the forwards.Just say for example that he decided to opt out……there would be a lot of hanging of heads on this site.Give the guy a break-I’m pretty sure that Stephan Rochford knows who is best for the job.I also wouldn’t mistake intensity for “not enjoying” football.This has been peddled by the media and like ewes goin out a gap,lots of people have latched onto it.Judge the team and its captain when it matters-Summertime!.

  39. Opt–i agree give Cillian a break.Getting sent off & a 3 wk break might be a blessing in disguise. We all think we know who should be on the team & that the selectors know nothing. Most of the players us bloggers called out for did not cut the mustard–last year we were giving out that Andy was being overplayed—how wrong we were.

  40. It will be interesting alright to see what happens with Keith but I’d wager that he will side with football once there is a clash, which is the case for the Galway game and the first round of the Christy Ring.

  41. I see Alan Dillon, Kevin O’Neill, Austin O’Malley, Ciaran Mcdonald and David Heaney are being brought in by the county board as part of a coaching committee and for training academy teams.

    Are these new positions or were people already involved in them? Good to see recently retired players being used in any case.

  42. Cillian is exactly the type of Captain we need, he’s tough mentally and aggressive, gets dogs abuse from defenders, but is physically able to push them around. I was glad he gave it to that Galway corner back, who was acting the hard man in the fbd game, pushing and shoving young Naughton an O’Donoghoue around the place… lads 3 or 4 yrs younger than him, small man syndrome perhaps?. I was even more delighted when Diarmuid went into finish him with the arm. We never get any protection from refs, look at the abuse Aido gets?. So its up to the players to defend themselves. We’ll be primed come May, with the enforcers such as Lee, Chris and Seamie back in action.

    Think we’re in for a pasting against the Dubs, id actually suggest starting squad players and keep best available 15 fresh for Newbridge. That fixture is do or die, apart from Dublin game, there are 6 league points up for grabs, we need at least 4. Them games should be our focus, not the Dubs.

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