GAA: National Football League

Mayo look for points in Newbridge

Back in the fold: Mayo will be hoping that Cillian O'Connor's return from suspension will help in their quest for points on Sunday. Photo: Sportsfile.

Back in the fold: Mayo will be hoping that Cillian O'Connor's return from suspension will help in their quest for points on Sunday. Photo: Sportsfile.

Storm Emma and The Beast from the East put paid to Mayo's game against Kildare last weekend, the rearranged clash will take place this Sunday, with little room for any more postponements in an already squashed GAA calendar.

Mayo now face into three games in three weeks - as they try to save their league season, with Tyrone at home on Sunday week, March 18, and their league season ending the following Sunday, March 25, in MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey against Donegal.

That leaves seven weekends for Mayo to get ready for the arrival of their provincial betters of the past two years, Galway, on Sunday, May 13 to MacHale Park.

On Sunday, Mayo will be hoping that the extra weeks lay off will have helped Castlebar Mitchels' Paddy Durcan get over the quad injury that had looked to have ruled him out of the original fixture. It will have also given Lee Keegan, who made a surprise return to action against Dublin, another week in his recovery from injury, while Tom Parsons will also have been glad of an extra week to prepare for his return to the fold.

Cillian O'Connor will also be back in the fold having missed the Dublin game due to suspension after picking up a red card in Mayo's defeat to Galway a month ago. O'Connor's absence was particularly felt against the All Ireland champions when it came to the free taking stakes, until the introduction of Conor Loftus who slotted over three frees in garbage time when the result of the contest had already been sorted.

While the Ballintubber man has missed a few frees this season that he would have expected to land, his overall consistency is still well above the average and vital to Mayo's chances of picking up the points on Sunday and winning more games later this summer.

While survival in division one is the priority for Mayo over the next few weeks, Rochford will be hoping that few more potentials put their hands up to really make a claim for a starting spot later this summer. Mayo have relied on the same core of players and while some have made cameos from the bench and made vital contributions, the same 16 or 17 players were in contention to start the big games. This is something that Rochford will be hoping will change over the next three games as he counts down to the Connacht Championship opener.

Hurlers head north for final warm up

This season has seen a renaissance of sorts for the Mayo hurlers after a disappointing 2017 that saw them battle to beat the drop in both league and championship action. After the heady days of 2016 when the senior team won the Nicky Rackard Cup in Croke Park and the U21s got to play the All Ireland B final in the home of hurling in Semple Stadium, last year was a real crash back to earth.

But this season things have really gone well from the off. They have seen off the challenge of Donegal, Armagh, Derry, and Wicklow and are now looking forward to a national league final in a few weeks time. Before that final they face a long trek to Portaferry to take on a Down side who need to pick up the win if they want to face Mayo in that final.

If Derek Walsh's team can make it five from five this weekend, they will head into that league final with a serious pep in their step and be hoping to claim national honours for the second time in three years .

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