The county’s hurlers began their Nicky Rackard Cup campaign in fine style this afternoon. Monaghan proved no match for Derek Walsh’s free-scoring side at Clontibret today, as the Mayo lads came out on top by 3-32 to 2-10.
The visitors didn’t take long to assert their authority at O’Neill Park today. With David Kenny minding the shop with calm efficiency at the back, Cathal Freeman providing an effective shield further up and Cathal Boland unerring from placed balls, Mayo were soon in the ascendency.
At the first water break, the gap was seven to one but just before half-time we had surged twelve points clear. An unfortunate own-goal was partly to blame for this margin between the teams, when a tame effort by Cathal Freeman that the ‘keeper was shaping to deal with was instead deflected by one of his defenders to the net.
The Farney lads did, though, have the final say before the break. The goal they nabbed then came against the run of play but it did cut the gap between the team to a slightly more manageable nine points.
A second goal for us four minutes after the restart, however, put us firmly back in the driving seat. Although Monaghan struck back in kind a few minutes later in a cracking downfield move, our dominance grew more and more as the second half progressed.
By the second water break we were fifteen points to the good and in cruise control. But far from sated, as it turned out, as thirteen further points flew over the Farney crossbar before the full-time whistle sounded. We won by an impressive 25 points at the finish.
Fair play to Monaghan GAA, by the way, for streaming today’s match live on YouTube. The stream worked perfectly, the two lads on commentary were great and the pitch in Clontibret looked in fine condition.