The county’s hurlers don’t, I confess, get much of a look-in here on the site at the best of times. But with this mini-break on the football side of the house, it’s worth giving the hurlers’ endeavours a mention.
Last year was a poor one for the county’s small ball devotees. They finished one off the bottom of Division 2B in the 2017 NHL and only avoided relegation to the third division thanks to a play-off win over Roscommon.
Things didn’t get better in the championship either. Back in the Christy Ring, the hurlers lost first to Kildare and then to Carlow.
A further relegation play-off against Roscommon followed, this time to avoid demotion to the Rackard Cup. This one was won as well, though, as events subsequently transpired, it turned out not to be a relegation avoider at all. Despite that defeat, Roscommon retained their Christy Ring status following the re-jigging of the hurling championship for 2018.
This year has started far brighter for the county’s stick men. With Keith Higgins now in their ranks (ahem – maybe it’s time this particular sojourn might soon end?) Derek Walsh’s charges have two wins from two outings.
Two weekends ago the lads began their NHL Division 2B campaign in fine style, recording a 2-16 to 1-9 win over Donegal at James Stephens Park. They followed this up with a 3-15 to 2-13 victory over Armagh up at the Athletic Grounds last Sunday.
This coming Sunday the hurlers are on the road north again. This time their opponents are Derry and the Round 3 fixture takes place on Sunday at Celtic Park, where throw-in is at the early time of 12.30pm.
The Oak Leaf County are winless so far in Division 2B this year. They lost by 2-17 to 1-14 at Celtic Park to Down in Round 1 and they then fell heavily to Donegal last weekend, losing by 4-17 to 2-9 at Letterkenny.
The bookies have installed our lads as 1/4 favourites to win this one. It’s likely to be far from a walkover, though, as it’s worth bearing in mind that Derry were shorn of the services of the Slaughtneil players for their opening two games. They’re expected to be back in harness to face the Green and Red this weekend.
Best of luck to the Mayo lads up in Celtic Park on Sunday.