Kildare come calling to Carrick on Sunday

Byrne on the ball: Rory Byrne will be between the posts for Mayo again this weekend against Kildare. Photo: Sportsfile.

Byrne on the ball: Rory Byrne will be between the posts for Mayo again this weekend against Kildare. Photo: Sportsfile.

James Horan has made three changes to his starting teams for Mayo's clash with Kildare on Sunday afternoon in the National Football League.

Into the first team come Ballina's Padraig O'Hora who replaces Donnacha McHugh in the full back line; Crossmolina's Conor Loftus will step into the half-forward line in place of the injured Fionn McDonagh and Kilmeena's Jack Carney will start in the centre half forward slot in place of Paul Towey.

Horan has also welcomed back to the panel Castlebar Mitchels man Paddy Durcan and for the first time this year, Ardagh's James Carr has been given a spot in the match day 26. Mitchels' Rory Byrne has kept his place between the posts for the game with Knockmore's Colm Reape the sub goalkeeper for the game.

In front of Byrne, Ballaghaderreen's David McBrien retains his spot at full back after a good showing against Tyrone in his first game in almost two years for the county last weekend. Lee Keegan and O'Hora will flank him on either side. In the half back-line, Aidan O'Shea is persisted with at centre-half-back with team captain Stephen Coen and Oisin Mullin on the wings outside.

The midfield paring of Matthew Ruane and Jordan Flynn is favoured again by Horan to be the engine room of the side and with the championship only a few weeks away now, it looks pretty certain that, barring injury, they will be the starting middle pair against Galway.

The half-forward line has a new look to it, with Loftus and Carney coming into that line alongside Fergal Boland, who is starting his third game on the bounce for Mayo, the other member of that part of the attacking unit. The same full forward line that Mayo sent out into action against Tyrone last weekend gets the nod to start again with Jason Doherty in the number 14 shirt and Aiden Orme and Ryan O'Donoghue either side of him in attack.

Alongside the aforementioned Reape, Durcan and Carr - Mayo have selected a strong bench with the likes of Brendan Harrison, Enda Hession, Kevin McLoughlin, Connor O'Shea and Darren Coen all amongst the subs.

Mayo head into this game on the back of two defeats, two weekends in a row - their loss to Tyrone last weekend in a game in which they put in a very flat performance - coming on the heels of a narrow loss to Kerry the week before in Tralee.

Their opponents head to Carrick-on-Shannon off the back of a big 0-24 to 1-12 win over Monaghan in Newbridge last Sunday - a victory that has given them a great chance of staying in division one this year and still keeps them in with a shout of making the final, if results go their way on Sunday. They did so also without their talisman Daniel Flynn. Jimmy Hyland was their main man up front getting six points, with Darragh Kirwin, who came into replace Flynn, bagging five and Paddy Woodgate chipping in with four of his own.

The permutations for Mayo going into the game are pretty simple: A win - and they will be in the league final against Kerry on April 3 in Croke Park. If they lose or draw the game, it will depend on results elsewhere going in their favour. David Gough from Meath will be the man on the whistle for the game.

With championship coming up very soon, it will be interesting to see will Mayo go all out to get the win and have another serious game to tune up before they welcome Galway - or will they be looking for individual performances from player to see who'll start come the arrival of the Tribesmen next month.


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