The county’s hurlers this afternoon recorded their third successive win in this year’s Christy Ring Cup. Today’s win was a 2-23 to 1-20 one over neighbours Sligo and it puts them second in the table with one match left to play.
This victory was, then, an important one for Derek Walsh’s side as it secures their Christy Ring Cup status for next year and it also means that victory over Derry in the final round next weekend will earn them a place in this year’s final. Kildare – who beat us decisively in the opening round – today qualified for the decider and so it’s them we’ll meet once again should we make it that far.
Today’s game – which, despite the Hurling Board’s request earlier in the week for the match to be switched to MacHale Park – went ahead at James Stephens Park in Ballina and it was a well-contested contest. Sligo, who have made impressive strides in hurling in recent years, had slightly the better of the exchanges in the first half and they led by one, 0-13 to 0-12, at the break.
When Conor Hannify bagged the game’s opening goal to push Sligo three points clear early in the second half, the task facing the home team suddenly got a whole load harder. They didn’t panic, though, and they got their reward coming up to midway through the half as goals from Keith Higgins and Kenny Feeney turned the game in their favour.
Captain Shane Boland – who bagged thirteen points today – led by example coming down the closing stretch. In the end, Mayo won with six points to spare but this was in every sense a hard-fought win.
Match report from the the Western People is here.
Over at Adrian Freeman Park in Tooreen this evening, meanwhile, the Mayo U17 hurlers recorded a big win over Longford in the quarter-final of the Celtic Challenge. The Mayo lads came out on top in that one by 3-22 to 2-5 and they now advance to the semi-finals next weekend.