Mayo look to get back to winning ways in Carrick

GAA: Connacht Senior Football Championship

Shooting star: Cillian O'Connor is expected to be fit and ready to return to the Mayo side after missing out on last weekend's game with Tyrone. Photo: Sportsfile.

Shooting star: Cillian O'Connor is expected to be fit and ready to return to the Mayo side after missing out on last weekend's game with Tyrone. Photo: Sportsfile.

There is no time to rest for Mayo - following last weekend's loss to Tyrone and relegation to division two next year, they have to get back on the horse in double-quick time as the Connacht Championship throws in on Sunday lunch time.

Mayo will be making the trip to Carrick-on-Shannon on Sunday fully expected to put away the challenge put up by Terry Hyland's side and move into the Connacht Championship semi-final against Roscommon the following week.

There is no room for error for any side in this year's championship, with it being a straight knock-out competition for the first time since 2000. The last time that there was a straight knock-out championship, Mayo were knocked out of the provincial championship by Sligo in Markievicz Park on a score of 1-13 to 1-10.

That team 20 years ago featured in its starting 15 Mayo manager James Horan and his selector Ciaran McDonald - Horan was held scoreless that day, while McDonald bagged 1-1 for John Maughan's side.

There is no expectation of such a turn-up on Sunday, with Leitrim also being relegated this year in the league. Hyland's side had put themselves in with a good shout of staying up in division three before the lockdown, having drawn with Derry and beaten Louth before the competition came to a halt.

But they were unable to field a team against Down in the first game back after the break and then were beaten by Tipperary last weekend and will be heading to division four for next season.

This is Hyland's second year in charge of the side and after last year getting them promoted from division four and a big day out in Croke Park in the league final, there were signs of good progress, but they were dispatched easily by Roscommon in Connacht and then in the qualifiers they responded well, seeing off Wicklow by two points in round one, before they were knocked out by Clare after a high-scoring encounter in round two.

Leitrim do have a number of players that Mayo will have to keep their eyes on with the likes of Donal Wrynn, Darragh Rooney, Ryan O'Rourke, Keith Beirne and Paddy McGuire all good players capable of having a major impact on games if given a chance.

This will be the first championship meeting of these sides since 2012 when Mayo ran out 4-20 to 0-10 winners in MacHale Park, that day saw Cillian O'Connor hit six points from frees for Mayo. O'Connor was a major absence from Mayo's team last weekend which was beaten by Tyrone, but the Ballintubber hitman is expected to be fit and raring to go for Mayo on Sunday.

O'Connor has only managed to feature once so far this year for Mayo across both stagings of the league in early Spring and Autumn - in Mayo's win over Galway a fortnight ago, where he kicked ten points and the return of his shooting boots will be much welcomed by the Mayo management and faithful who will be watching or listening on from home.

Mayo haven't won the Connacht Senior Football Championship since 2015 - the year they completed five-in-a-row, while that has not stopped them competing at the latter stages of the championship in the years since. If they want to get back to the final four or further this year, winning the Nestor Cup is the only way they can do it.

The game will throw in at 1.15pm on Sunday and will be broadcast live on television on the RTÉ News Now channel, which can both be found on Saorview and Sky television listings.


Page generated in 0.0807 seconds.