After a hectic few weekends where football has been the main focus – with the men having played two rounds of National League matches while the women have already played three times – this coming weekend the hurlers have the stage all to themselves.
Like the footballers, the hurlers were in League action last weekend. Their opening round match in Division 3A of the NHL was an unusual one for us, as the Tooreen contingent – fresh from their Croke Park exploits – were unavailable for selection. This meant a raft of players from clubs like Westport, Ballina, Moytura and Caiseal Gaels all experienced NHL action representing the county for the first time.
Fielding with such an inexperienced side, the lads did extremely well to secure a draw with Roscommon last weekend. Like the footballers up in Armagh the following day, the final score in the hurlers’ match against the Rossies ended up at 0-17 each. And, as Michael Commins noted in his match report for the Mayo News, the hurlers snatched a draw last Saturday with a late, late levelling point, just as the footballers had done at the venue against Galway the previous weekend.
On Sunday, the hurlers head north for Round 2, where their opponents are Fermanagh. The county ground at Brewster Park is out of commission right now and so Sunday’s clash with the Ernesiders takes place instead at St Joseph’s Park in Ederney, which is located about 15 miles north of Enniskillen.
Those who know their Mayo GAA history will no doubt be interested to recall that Sunday’s match venue is just six miles away from Irvinestown. It was there, back in 1983, that the county won the All-Ireland U21 football title, beating Derry in what was a final replay. That game remains, by the way, the only All-Ireland decider ever to be contested in the Six Counties. A fun day (and night) it was too, as I can still recall.
Anyways, back to this weekend’s hurling match, which throws in at Ederney on Sunday at 2pm.
Fermanagh opened their NHL campaign last weekend with a narrow loss to Monaghan at Clones, the Farney County edging that one by 2-13 to 1-14. Armagh, who beat Louth decisively, are the early pace-setters in the Division.
Although we’ll still be very much in experimental mode the next day, we’ll no doubt be aiming for our first win in this campaign to ensure that we’re in a position to make a proper tilt at promotion. The best of luck to the lads on Sunday.