Speaking to The Connaught Telegraph O’Neill said both their short term and long term injured players, including the O’Shea brothers, were all on the way back to a full recovery and their fitness would be monitored between now and the Leitrim game next Sunday week.
However, he warned no player would be rushed back until fully ready as their long term fitness was their top priority.
Reading between the lines it looks as if the two O’Shea’s (especially Aidan) won’t be risked for the Leitrim game which would give him an extra month to recover before the Connaught final should Mayo defeat Leitrim.
He said “We are delighted with the progress of the injured players in the squad. There have been a few long term injuries like Seamus and Aidan O’Shea. They are making good head way. Seamus started back doing light training last Tuesday and will be taking a more active part this week.
“Aidan also returned to the training pitch where he did some jogging. His medical problem is almost cleared up and we expect to see him taking a bigger part in training in the near future.
“However, it will be all down to our medical team who have worked wonders with the injured players. They have been exceptional and we will continue to take their advice.
“With such a big number of club games in the county each week players will always get knocks including county players. We have a few nursing these knocks but they are not serious and really haven’t stopped them from training with us.”
O’Neill went on to say that they were very happy with their preparations for the championship and that everything was going according to plan.
“We had an indifferent league but after starting badly we finished strongly. As a management team we learned a number of things and they have all been put into practice.
“There is a very strong squad with plenty of experience in it. In our recent challenge game with Westmeath were brought on seven or eight players and they all showed up very well. It just makes the competition for places that much stronger. To put it simply I have to say I am very happy with where we are at now in regards to fitness and preparation.
“But we are not looking past our semi-final meeting with Leitrim. It is a big game and they will be coming to Castlebar looking to cause a massive upset.
“You can rest assure we will not be taking them for granted. You have only to look at the results from the weekend, Sligo beating Galway, Clare beating Limerick and Carlow drawing with Meath.
“But at the end of the day it is all about us and how we perform. We are just concentrating on our game and no matter who we are playing it is how our starting 15 and the five substitutes perform.”
O’Neill, who was coach of the Tipperary team which won the Liam McCarthy Cup in 2010, said he was delighted with the ways things had gone since he joined the Mayo set-set late last year.
“I have to say things couldn’t have gone much better. Management, trainers, medical staff, players, county board etc., have all worked as a great unit. We have a top class squad and it is onwards and upwards.
“But what is now needed is more work to be done with the underage in order this conveyor belt of great senior players keeps rolling on.”