O’Connor to miss Dubs date?

GAA: National Football League;

Man and ball: Kevin Keane does his best break out of defence against Derry. Photo:Sportsfile

Man and ball: Kevin Keane does his best break out of defence against Derry. Photo:Sportsfile

Mayo could be without one of their key attackers for their meeting with Dublin next Saturday night, joint manager Noel Connelly revealed on Sunday after his teams win over Derry in Celtic Park.

Connelly when speaking about injuries said: “Cillian has a slight knee knock so it is possible that he will be out for the next two weeks other than that, Donal Vaughan is at home today recovering from a slight hamstring injury so we didn’t want to risk him either. Chris Barrett as you know is out and Tom Parsons and Evan Reagan we hope to have them back in the next two to three weeks.”

Connelly also revelled that despite Mayo having three goalkeepers in the panel at the moment all of whom have started at least one game in the league so far that one of either Robert Hennelly, David Clarke and Kenneth O’Malley who played in Sunday’s win will be leaving the panel saying: “Once the Dublin game is over it’s possible, the panel is at 37 at the moment. That probably has to be trimmed down to 32, there are three keepers, it will end up at two, but we haven’t made our final decision yet on that.”

As for the win over Derry, Connelly was most pleased by the way his team battled back after Derry had them on the wrack going up the home straight. “We went into a battle with ten minutes to go, the game was level and Derry had the breeze and our backs were to the wall and we said (to the players after the game ) they showed great character and leadership in each line to drive up the field and go five up. Obviously we’re disappointed with the last goal we conceded it put pressure on us again to see out the game, but we’re very happy.”

Mark Ronaldson’s reactions to score Mayo’s first goal was another thing that impressed the former Mayo captain on the day, he said afterwards that: “It’s a forwards instinct to be in there watching whatever breaks come, be it off the crossbar, the post or the keeper. Good corner forwards react to those situations, Mark was in the right place at the right time. It was a crucial goal, a few minutes before half-time and for us going in after playing with the breeze going in four ahead.”

Aidan O’Shea put in another big performance for Mayo moving between the full-forward line and midfield when needed, his work rate and willingness to do what is asked of him has been pleasing for the Mayo management team said Connelly. “He’s doing really well, he’s working really, really hard. To be fair to the lad, no matter where you ask him to go, he’ll go there and do his best in that position. We tried him inside, he came to midfield for the throw-ins and did well on those and then when were struggling against the breeze he came and caught a few kick-outs and drove well against the breeze.”

As for next Saturday nights opponents, Connelly knows that Dublin will be coming looking for a win in MacHale Park. “Dublin are one of the top two teams in the country, if not the top team in the country. I supposed they got a draw last night, they are bringing back a lot of their regular players, we saw last night with Paul Flynn coming in. I think come next Saturday evening in MacHale Park you’ll see much more of their regular men against us. They are now looking for points, it’ll be a good test for us, but now it’s that the lads recover well from today and get ready for next Saturday evening.”


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