Senior hurlers beat Mayo to line up Christy Ring Cup shoot out

Back 25/05/2023 @ 01:12 | hurlingnews | Senior hurlers beat Mayo to line up Christy Ring Cup shoot out

Sligo are one game away from making the Christy Riny Cup final after a well earned victory over Mayo in Markievicz Park on Saturday evening.

Padraig Mannion’s side play Meath in the crunch game this Saturday also at home in Markievicz Park (1:30pm).

Mayo’s Christy Ring Cup campaign went from bad to worse as a three-point advantage at half-time wasn’t enough, as Sligo came from behind with fourteen players to ensure Mayo will play Nickey Rackard hurling in 2024.

The visitors started brightly as they raced into a two-point lead with David Kenny and Fergal Boland both on the mark despite Mayo also hitting two early wides. Sligo responded with a brace from the lively Thomas Cawley to level the game for the first time in the match and the sides were level twice more before Sligo took the lead for the first time when Andrew Kilcullen knocked over a free after Conor Hanniffy was fouled.

Mayo were starting to get on top, as they began to dominate at midfield, and they went back in front when they scored points on the spin, with the pick of these coming from the hurl of Joseph Mooney who split the posts from distance.

Two points from Kilcullen had the sides level once again but Mayo took over after that with five points on the spin which meant that after 28 minutes they looked to be in firm control, with the scoreboard reading 0-12 to 0-7 in their favour, and Sean Kenny and Cormac Philips among the latest scorers.

Sligo, however, were back on track by the 34th minute. Conor Griffin was fouled after a ball in by Fionn Moylan which resulted in a penalty which was scored by Kilcullen, to leave the score 0-14 to 1-9.

Sligo were dealt a huge blow before the half-time break when Joe McHugh was given a straight red card for a foul on Fergal Boland, and Mayo would add two further points before the interval to leave the scores at 0-16 to 1-10 in favour of the visitors at the interval. During that first-half however, Mayo had also struck a total of ten wides which ultimately was to prove very costly.

Cormac Philips added a point from a free after the restart to put Mayo four ahead but Sligo would take over after this and it was they, not Mayo, who looked like they were the team with the extra man. The fourteen men scored seven points without reply, with Kilcullen and the Hanniffy brothers all on target, to lead 1-17 to 0-17 after 45 minutes.

Two points from Eoin Delaney had Mayo back within a single point but Sligo still looked in control. The sides cancelled each other out as Sligo remained a point ahead with 15 minutes to play.

Three further white flags for Sligo, with substitute Niall Kilcullen among those finding their range, helped the Yeats County put some daylight between the sides. Indeed in what continued as a remarkable burst of scoring, another hattrick of singles had the home side seven in front with six minutes to play before they put the game beyond any doubt when Kilcullen found the back of the net again.

Mayo got a late goal when David Kenny finished to the net after a ball in by younger brother Sean, but the Green and Red’s fate had long been sealed.

Mayo: Cormac Phillips 0-6 (3f), David Kenny 1-1, Sean Kenny (1f), Fergal Boland and Joseph Mooney 0-3 each, Adrian Phillips and Eoin Delaney 0-2 each, Michael Farrell, Jason Coyne and Conor Murray 0-1 each.

Sligo: Declan Reidy; Fionn Connolly, Niall Feehily, Kevin O’Kennedy; Gavin Connolly, Rory McHugh, Eoin Comerford (0-1); Andrew Kilcullen (2-8 0-6f, 1-0 pen), Ronan Molloy; Conor Hanniffy (0-4), Eddie O’Donoghue(0-1), Diarmuid Hanniffy(0-4); Joe McHugh, Conor Griffin, Tomas Cawley (0-5).

Subs: Fionn Moylan for O’Donoghue (inj) 11, Niall Kilcullen (0-2) for Molloy 54, Liam O’Kelly Lynch for Griffin 68, Ronan Cox for (Kilcullen 68), Ruairí Brennan for (Comerford 75).