Mayo looking for more forward returns

GAA: National Football League

Way out in front: Cillian O'Connor has contributed 1-22 of Mayo's total of 1-53 so far in the league. Photo: Sportsfile.

Way out in front: Cillian O'Connor has contributed 1-22 of Mayo's total of 1-53 so far in the league. Photo: Sportsfile.

Mayo will be looking to get back on winning ways on Sunday when Cavan come calling to Castlebar in round five of the league. This will be first meeting of the sides in a decade in competitive action, with a John O'Mahony managed Mayo seeing off the Breffni men in a qualifier in 2007.  There are a few survivors from that win still involved with Mayo today, with David Clarke and Andy Moran very much part of the Mayo side so far this year and Alan Dillon yet to return to the fold. Dillon and Moran contributed seven of Mayo's 19 points that day, with the Ballintubber man hitting 0-5 and Moran adding 0-2. A return of 19 points on Sunday would be something that Stephen Rochford would be very pleased as his attack have not exactly been lighting things up so far this season.

Range finders

In Mayo's four league games to date they have scored 1-53 against Monaghan, Kerry, Roscommon, and Dublin, team captain Cillian O'Connor has accounted for 1-22 of that total, but only five of his scores have come from open play. In those four games, Rochford has started nine players in what you would nominally call the traditional attacking six formation, Fergal Boland, Kevin McLoughlin, Jason Doherty, Evan Regan, Cillian O'Connor, Alan Freeman, Conor O'Shea, Andy Moran, and Diarmuid O'Connor. Both Freeman and Diarmuid O'Connor have only started once each in attack (with the Aghamore man leaving the panel after the Kerry game and O'Connor lining out in the middle of the park against Roscommon ), Boland, McLoughlin, and the elder O'Connor have started all four, with Evan Regan and Andy Moran starting three games each and Jason Doherty and Conor O'Shea starting two games each.

Hitting the target

The nine players who have started in the forward unit have contributed 1-40 of Mayo's total so far this season, but when you take Cillian O'Connor's total out of it you are left with just 18 points being put on the boards by the other eight players who have started over the four games. The scoring return from the other eight shows that Evan Regan is next in line to O'Connor with five points in three starts, Andy Moran four points in three starts, Fergal Boland has three points from his four starts, Kevin McLoughlin also kicking three points over four games, while Conor O'Shea has two points from his two starts, and Alan Freeman kicked one point in his solitary outing before opting out of things. When points from placed balls are taken out of it Mayo's starting forwards so far in the league have only managed to put the ball over the bar 19 times from play over the four games, something that they will be looking to make a major improvement on come Sunday afternoon and as the year progresses.

Big players still out

Mayo supporters who might have been hoping for some reinforcements to return to the fold ahead of this game will have been disappointed to learn that none of the injured foursome, Ger Cafferkey, Jason Doherty, Aidan, and Seamus O'Shea is expected to feature against the Breffni men on Sunday. It had been hoped that the O'Sheas might be fit to return for this one, while Cafferkey who has been injured since last year, is still expected to be a while away from returning to the fold for Rochford's side. Mayo will face a Cavan side who have just one point from their opening four games thanks to a round two draw with Monaghan, who had beaten Mayo the week before. They have lost games to Dublin, Donegal and last weekend they were beaten by Tyrone in a re-fixed round three encounter in Healy Park in Omagh. Mayo will follow this weekend's encounter with a trip to Omagh to face Tyrone, and then bring the league to a conclusion at home to Donegal on the first Sunday in April.


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