Mayo squad is injury free ahead of Cork mission
FOR the first time this year Mayo team manager Stephen Rochford and his selectors will have a Â full panel of players from which to choose when they sit down to select their starting 15 for next Saturday's final qualifier against Cork which will be played in the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, with a 5 p.m. start.
Injuries, suspensions and other factors have undermined the selection process throughout the National League and championship series to date.
But a full panel took part in the two training sessions last weekend, Friday evening and Sunday morning, including Barry Moran and Conor O'Shea.Â
Indeed, Moran, who has been out injured since last year, was able to play for 45 minutes in his club's senior Division 1 refixed league game against Davitts on Saturday evening and showed no ill effects afterwards.
So it's all good news for the county supporters and in the event of Mayo coming away with a victory against Cork on Saturday evening they will be back in action again on Sunday week, July 30, in Croke Park for the All-Ireland quarterfinal Â against either Roscommon or Kerry.
However, I am sure Rochford and his management, along with the players, will not be looking beyond next Saturday Â Indeed, despite what many people might think, we can be sure that Cork will put it up to Mayo.Â
They are wounded lions and will see this as a great opportunity to prove their critics wrong. Mayo will have to be 100% on their guard against the Leesiders.
Rochford and his selectors have a number of difficult calls to make ahead of the game, especially the defence.Â
Picking six defenders from the likes of Brendan Harrison. Ger Cafferkey, Chris Barrett, Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan, Donal Vaughan and Stephen Coen won't be easy. I suppose there could be a case made for using Higgins, who likes to drive forward, as a sweeper. In any case it is a good complaint for Rochford to have.
Should Mayo beat Cork it will depend on the result of other qualifier game in their section between Donegal and Galway, to see who they meet in the quarterfinals on Sunday week in Croke Park.Â
If Galway defeat Donegal then Mayo will face Roscommon in the last eight. A Donegal victory would see a draw on Monday morning week to see if Mayo play Roscommon or Kerry.
Should Mayo and Galway win their games on Saturday evening it would mean that three Connaught counties would be involved in the two All-Ireland quarterfinals in Croke Park on Sunday week.