Seven players started three league games so far

GAA: National Football League

Keith Higgins and Darren Hughes at a media event prior to this weekends clash in Clones in round four of the National Football League. Photo: Sportsfile.

Keith Higgins and Darren Hughes at a media event prior to this weekends clash in Clones in round four of the National Football League. Photo: Sportsfile.

Mayo manager James Horan has given 28 players game time so far in this year's National Football League across their three opening games.

Last weekend's break from the action will have given the squad time to put in some extra preparation work ahead of their four games over the coming five weekends, with this weekend's trip to Monaghan being followed up by a home game against Kerry; then a short jaunt south to take on near neighbours Galway, with the league season coming to an end with a home clash against Tyrone in Castlebar.

Of the 28 players who have got game time over the three games so far, seven players have started all three of them: - Brendan Harrison, Stephen Coen, Paddy Durcan, Diarmuid O'Connor, Fergal Boland, Ryan O'Donoghue and James Carr - while another four have all played a part in those three games: - Aidan O'Shea, who started the last two against Dublin and Meath and came on at half time; Tommy Conroy, who came on a sub against both Donegal and Dublin in rounds one and two and got a starting jersey for the round three game against Meath; Kevin McLoughlin, who has come off the bench in all three games and James Durcan, who has started the last two games along with his game-saving cameo in the league opener away to Donegal. If he had not got a straight red card early against Dublin, Crossmolina's Jordan Flynn, in all probability, would have also played in all three games to date.

When it comes to the scoreboard, Mayo have hit 3-30 over their three games, with 11 different players getting on the scoreboard across the 210 minutes (minus injury time ) - the top scorer for Mayo in those three games has been Castlebar Mitchels' James Durcan, who has hit 1-5, with four of those coming from frees; while Kevin McLoughlin, who hasn't started a single game in the league so far this season, coming next with 1-4. Ardagh's James Carr has bagged 1-3 and Fergal Boland has chipped in with six points, evenly spread out getting two points in each of the three games.

That average of 13 points a game so far will have to go up this weekend in Clones if they are to take the points from Monaghan on the road. The Farney county may have the same points on the league table as Mayo - having also won one, drawn one and lost one so far this season - but they have been hitting higher notes on the scoreboard, scoring 0-16 against Galway in round one, 1-12 against Tyrone in round two and then bagging 1-15 in round three in a game they really should have won. When the sides met in the final round of regulation league games last year, Mayo edged a high scoring encounter 3-15 to 1-18 in Castlebar - another high scoring encounter like that would be very welcome by the Mayo faithful who will be making their way to the home of Patrick Kavanagh on Sunday afternoon.

 

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