Clarke and Cunniffe winning fitness battles

GAA: All Ireland SFC Semi Final

Looking to make it back: David Clarke is winning his race to be fit for the All Ireland semi-final, while Kevin Keane will find out on Thursday night if he will win his appeal over his red card. Photo: Sportsfile.

Looking to make it back: David Clarke is winning his race to be fit for the All Ireland semi-final, while Kevin Keane will find out on Thursday night if he will win his appeal over his red card. Photo: Sportsfile.

Joint Mayo manager Noel Connelly said last night, (Monday, August 17 ) that he expects both David Clarke and Tom Cunniffe to be back in full training this weekend as Mayo ramp up their preparations for their All Ireland semi-final against Dublin on August 30. Connelly was speaking on the day that Mayo attacker Micheal Conroy was ruled out for the season after picking up an injury in club action at the weekend.

"Everybody is fit for selection bar Michael Conroy, who picked up a shoulder injury in his club game on Sunday, unfortunately Michael will be unavailable for selection for the rest of the campaign, which is very disappointing for him an for us" he said. When asked about the exact injury that Conroy suffered, Connelly said that "He dislocated his shoulder in a club game for Davitts against Ballintubber".

As for Clarke and Cunniffee who had to leave the field during their win over Donegal he said, "Tom Cunniffe from the medical team we believe that he'll be fit for the full match we'll be having on Sunday so hopefully he'll come through that. David Clarke it's hopefully the same, that he'll be fit to take part in the A v B game on Sunday."

As for drafting in extra cover into the panel with Conroy now out injured and with two players nurising injuries Connelly said that won't be happening at this juncture. "We've 34 on the panel at the moment and everybody with the exception of Michael is training really hard and really well and I don't foresee that anybody would be brought in between here and two weeks time, maybe after that we'll have to sit down and see. But for the next two weeks there won't be anybody added to the panel." 

Keane appeal on Thursday

Westport's Kevin Keane will have his appeal against the red card he picked up shortly after coming on in the quarter-final win heard on Thursday night, speaking about the incident Connelly said, "The appeal is being heard on Thursday night I believe, from what we know and the county board are dealing with that so hopefully Kevin will come through that. I suppose, it was an unfortunate incident, we don't feel there was a whole pile in it, so please god he'll get through the appeal with success." The former Mayo captain was asked did they speak to Donegal's Micheal Muprhy about the incident, Connelly responded saying, "No, we've had no contact with him."

The Dubs and Joe

With Cavan based referee Joe McQuillan being announced as the man in black for the big game, Connelly said that they had no problem with his appointment to take charge of the contest saying. "We think Joe is a fine referee, very experienced referee and we're very, very happy with the selection and I'm sure he'll do a fine job."

As for facing off against Dublin, Connelly was asked was there many similarities between what they faced in the quarter final against Donegal to what they'll come up against on Sunday week. "There are similarities in the terms of the way Dublin play with Donegal, they create a lot of their attacks coming out of the defence with pace, power and strength, with a lot of runners coming from various angles, from that point of view, they play a similar style. The next day we have to be prepared for an orthodox direct game, a running game, so there will be a lot of similarities to the way Donegal play" he said.

Facing Dublin on their home patch isn't something that Connelly is concerned about as his players are experienced enough to handle the pressure he believes saying, ""The lads have played their before and had a lot success against Dublin, obviously we lost an All Ireland as well, but we wouldn't fear going to Croke Park and playing the Dubs in their own back yard, it is a home venue for them and probably worth a couple of points, but we don't look at it that way. We just hope that we preform on the day and if we do that we should be there or thereabouts on the day."

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