Mayo manager Stephen Rochford confirmed that he expects to be without two more of his front line players for the majority if not all of the upcoming national league campaign.
Speaking in the aftermath of the postponement of Mayo’s FBD League opener against Galway due to a frozen pitch at MacHale Park, the Crossmolina native said that “We’ll be without Seamie O’Shea with a knee injury for the vast majority if not all of the league. Donal Vaughan has also got a problem that will reduce his participation in the league, probably won’t play in the league and Chris Barrett picked up an injury in the International Rules that will keep him out from at least the first four games of the league
As for Lee Keegan who was ruled out of the league earlier in the winter Rochford said that nothing has changed in relation to his potential availability saying, “He’s making good progress, he’s abroad at the moment and we’ll assess him when he comes back and see where, we are at. At the moment we are planning that he won’t be available for the league.”
He also added that O’Shea hasn’t had surgery on his knee - while Barrett did under go a “procedure” following the knee injury he picked up on the International Rules trip and his rehab is underway.
A number of returning faces to the Mayo set up had been named in the panel for Sunday’s game with Alan Freeman and Jason Gibbons amongst them. Speaking about their return to the set-up Rochford said, “Circumstances presented themselves for a number of guys to present and get an opportunity. Kevin Keane is another guy who had games at championship level with Mayo before. Some are returning because of injuries some are returning because of the situation that presents itself and their experience with a number of younger guys in the squad.”
It was put to Rochford that Mayo need to unearth some new players and the pressure will be on them to do that this year, he responded saying. “Not necessarily, people may have that perception or that seems to be a common theme for the last number of years and that won’t be different for 2018 and we’ll try a number of players and the players that are there. We are always of a positive mind that there are good quality players in Mayo and good youthful footballers in Mayo and if they are good enough they will be in the squad and they might push out somebody who was there last year.”