The Mayo hurlers this afternoon made it two wins from two outings in this year’s Nicky Rackard Cup, as they proved way too strong for Leitrim at MacHale Park. Derek Walsh’s team put on a fine exhibition of point-taking, racking up a score of 0-29 to win by twenty points.
The only downside for Mayo from today’s game was the straight red card issued to attacker Shane Boland early in the second half. A livewire presence up until then, the Tooreen man got into a tangle with his marker who ended up on the turf. After consulting the linesman and the fourth official, the referee ordered the Mayo player off.
I didn’t see the incident myself but the commentators on the live stream felt it was a very harsh decision. Shane appeared to be trying to get away from the Leitrim player and was, it seems, being impeded by him. Whatever it was, the ref deemed it to be a sending-off offence and so, unless it’s successfully appealed, Mayo will be without him for the semi-final in a few weeks time.
This game was even up until the first water break. Leitrim led twice, first when an early free gave them the day’s opening score and later in the opening quarter when they shot three points without reply to edge one clear.
The home side were wasteful enough in this period and had recorded eight wides before the first water break, a number that was into double-digits by half-time. It was scores from Shane Boland and Keith Higgins that kept us moving in that early period, with the teams level on five apiece at the sos uisce.
On the resumption, however, the home team quickly asserted themselves. Five points without reply – efforts from play by Adrian Phillips and Keith Higgins, two Shane Boland frees and then a cracking long-range free from Keith – saw us establish a clear lead. From then until the end the gap between the teams gradually widened.
By half-time it was double scores – fourteen points to seven – and just after the start of the second half two rapid-fire points from play by Shane Boland increased our lead to nine. The same player then hoisted a super score from way out the field but that was his final score of the day, as he got his marching orders soon after.
The sending-off had no appreciable impact on the contest. We continued our remorseless point-taking, from play and from frees, with Keith now on duty for all of the latter and well up to the task too.
By the time the second water break was called, our points tally was up to twenty points and, with a twelve-point advantage, we were free-wheeling to victory. The scores were coming easier now too, with the wide count dipping sharply in the second half, and nine more scores for us came before the finish – Keith posting a personal tally of ten points for the day, four of them from play – as we ran out winners by 0-29 to 0-9.
Derek Walsh’s team are now into the semi-finals of the Rackard Cup but there are no details as yet on who they’ll be playing there or when. On today’s evidence, the team are firing well and they’ll have high hopes of qualifying for the final once again this year.
Finally a word of thanks to Aidan Morley for providing the live stream of the game from MacHale Park. As it was streamed via YouTube I was able to embed the video here on the blog and was also able to watch it on TV. Because it’s on YouTube this also means that you can watch it back at your leisure whenever you want – you’ll find the stream here.