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Rochford's Mayo experimentation is set to continue

Story by Aiden Henry

Wednesday, 11th January, 2017 5:33pm

Rochford's Mayo experimentation is set to continue

Neil Douglas. . .doubtful for Mayo's next game due to a thumb injury. Photo: Sportsfile.

MAYO boss Stephen Rochford is expected to continue to experiment with new talent within the county for his side's second game in the FBD League against Sligo IT at Ballina on Sunday (2 p.m.)

With last year's senior squad just returning from the South Africa holiday on Saturday it is highly anyone of them will be asked to play in this second round league encounter.

Many of the team which lost narrowly to NUIG in the opening round are expected to be given the nod to show their worth against the Sligo students.

However, one player who could miss out is Castlebar Mitchels Neil Douglas who picked up a thumb injury in the game against NUIG.

It is also expected that the three Westport players, Niall Manamon, Brian McDermott and Fionn McDonagh who featured last Sunday will be bypassed for this game as they will be lining out with their club in the All-Ireland intermediate semi-final on Saturday, January 28.

These ommissions will give Rochford and his selectors the opportunity to have a good at a few more new faces in action as well as given some of the substitutes, including James Durcan, Jason Forkan, Fionn Duffy, James McCormack and James Shaughnessy, more game time.

Eye-catching performers for Mayo in last weekend's game against NUI Galway were goalkeeper Rory Byrne, Danny Kirby, Fionn McDonagh, Fergal Boland and Liam Irwin. On the NUIG team, Mayo's Stephen Brennan and Adam Gallagher caught the eye.

Mayo 'keeper Byrne wasn't fazed for his first game in between the posts for the county senior team. He looked completely composed and brought off one magnificent save just 20 seconds into the second half to deny NUIG's Owen Gallagher. His kick-outs were varied, with most used to good effect.

Danny Kirby put in a really good shift in the middle of the field. From start to finish he worked very hard and was involved many of the Mayo attacks. He showed for the ball a lot and distributed it very well.

He also showed that when given any little chance in front of goal he knows how to find the back of the net. His goal last Sunday was brilliantly taken. He is certainly a player to put into the notebook.

Up front, the two players to stand out were Fergal Boland and Fionn McDonagh. Boland, who played a start role in Mayo's march to the All-Ireland Under 21 title last year, was his usual busy self. Like Kirby, he showed for the ball very well and won a lot of possession. He also kicked four fine points.

Westport's Fionn McDonagh looks the kind of player who appears to have plenty of potential. Having not played for the county before, this was a big step up for the Westport club man.

But he took his chance very well and we should be seeing plenty of him in the coming months, especially with the county Under 21 squad where he is bound to progress further.

Big and strong, McDonagh wanted to be involved in everything last Sunday and put in a huge amount of work. He's certainly a good prospect.

Liam Irwin, like Boland, had a very good Under 21 campaign with Mayo last year. He is a great talent and showed glimpses of this last Sunday.

He is also a deadly accurate free-taker, especially from the right side. Another player to keep an eye on this year.

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