This Saturday, our hurlers bid to make history by reaching the Christy Ring Cup final for the first time in the county’s history.
In 2009, Mayo came agonisingly close to beating defending champions, Carlow, to reach the decider. Leading for the entire game, a heart-breaking goal at the absolute death clinched victory for Carlow, who went on to retain the title. But Mayo won’t be thinking about that on Saturday as their focus is fixed firmly on Kerry, who last won the title in 2011.
In the lead-up to the championship, Christy Phillip’s side enjoyed mixed fortunes in the league, winning 2 from 5 outings, but prior to that they succeeded in capturing the Kehoe Shield. Since the serious business has started, however, their performances have been far more consistent, losing once out of 3 in a tight contest in MacHale Park against Meath. The latest victory came in the quarter final – a terrific win over Wicklow in Arklow by 1-15 to 0-14 – a game in which only 4 Mayo supporters made the journey! We say fair dues to you 4, whoever you are, but boy do we need to make a bigger effort on Saturday!
Mayo hurler Corey Scahill gave us an insight to how much it means to get a big support on Saturday. “A big support on Saturday would be huge for us. We’ll need it to help keep us driven. It will have to be a solid 70 minute performance against Kerry and we are hoping to continue where we left off last time out!”
“Within the camp there’s a great belief that we can beat Kerry, but it will be our biggest test all year.”
Corey lines out for Mayo at MacHale Park against Wicklow in the league earlier this year
Corey and his team mates will be hoping to build on this year’s success so far and also on last year’s historic victory at minor level for the county in the All-Ireland Minor C Hurling Championship. They defeated Monaghan in the final, a game in which Corey scored 1-3. It was also the first half of an historic and unique achievement for David Kenny who won 2 All-Ireland minor medals in the space of a few weeks with the hurlers and the footballers.
Speaking about that success, Scahill remembers his time with that side fondly. “It was a great feeling to be a part of that team and winning the All Ireland C title was special. The county actually heard of hurling for a change! Our work was highlighted. It was a great way to finish our last year underage with an All-Ireland title, especially after losing the county final to Toreen (with Castlebar Mitchels).
So here’s wishing Christy Phillip’s, coaches Austin Kenny and Leo O’Connor and our boys the very best of luck on Saturday. And to anyone reading this, get out and support the lads! They’ve put in a serious shift this year and I’m sure they will appreciate the support. And please, post it, share it, retweet it, blog it, send pigeons and spread the word – 1pm, MacHale Park, this Saturday!