This Saturday 22nd April is a super Saturday of events for many people involved in Mayo GAA hurling panels. The Mayo seniors, U17’s, U15’s and U14’s are all in action on the day which will see more than 120 hurlers tog out in the county colours.
The All-Ireland Hibernia Cup U15 Hurling competition starts in earnest this Saturday as both Mayo sides travel to Scarden (Sligo) to play their first games of the year in this competition. Mayo – who won out their section of the Hibernia Cup last season – have entered two teams into the Hibernia Cup this year, with Mayo1 featuring players only born in 2008. The Mayo2 side in the Hibernia Cup is effectively the Mayo U14 team, with all players in this panel born in 2009 only. For Mayo1, they play their opening round games against Sligo1 and Tyrone1, while the Mayo2 side take on Roscommon1 and Tyrone2. Both sides have been in training for the past few months and are more than ready to face the challenge put in front of them throughout the summer. The management team led by Sean Heneghan (Claremorris) and Richard Crinnegan (Tooreen) have put in a strong effort in recent months, to ensure that Mayo GAA enter this new phase of hurling development growth with multiple teams able to participate in a National competition. The games get underway at 12noon in Scarden, which is the Sligo GAA Centre of Excellence near Strandhill.
The All-Ireland Celtic Challenge U-17 Hurling enters Round 3 this Saturday as Mayo host Meath Royals at 1.00pm in Hastings Insurance MacHale Park in Castlebar. Brian Finns charges have recorded two wins on the road against Kildare Cadets and Donegal respectively, and will now have home comfort against the travelling Leinster outfit. The playing of the match on Mayo GAA’s home sod will give the Green and Red side an extra spring in their step, as they strive to top their group with another win in their group stage, before entering the knockout phase of the competition in the coming weeks.
And finally on Saturday, the Mayo Senior Hurlers host Tyrone in the All-Ireland Christy Ring Cup competition Round 2 against Tyrone in Hastings Insurance MacHale Park at 3pm. Mayo went down narrowly to Meath in Navan last weekend, but are hoping to bounce back into contention if they can pick up the two points available at home. Tyrone drew with Derry last weekend – in what was a massive boost of confidence for last years Nicky Rackard Cup winners. Mayo joint managers Dave McConn & Tom Phillips are beginning to get all their available players together, while MacHale Park has become a fortress for the Mayo hurlers since the new sod was laid in recent years.