Keith Higgins will be another familiar face missing from Mayo’s opening league encounter against Monaghan next weekend, with the Ballyhaunis clubman yet to join up with the panel for the new season.
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford said after his sides win over Sligo in the FBD League that the Mayo dual star had been given some extra time off this year. "Keith hasn’t returned to training yet, he’s been given a little more time off, so he won’t be togging next week” and explaining why Higgins had been given some more time off he added “he played all the league games last year so we are just giving him a little bit more of an extended break so in a couple of week time we’ll see whats happening.”
Mayo will face the Farney men in Clones next Sunday and without Higgins along with Donal Vaughan and Lee Keegan also missing from the side due to injury, meaning Mayo will be fielding at least three different defenders from the team that started last years showpiece game.
Mayo are also without the services of Seamus O’Shea and Tom Parsons for the game with O’Shea out injured and Parsons out of the country at the minute still. Also yet to see action this year is team captain Cillian O’Connor who is also a doubt for next Sunday’s league opener as he is suffering with “flu” at the minute according to Rochford.
As for the current make up of the Mayo panel there will be no trimming of the squad yet and no concrete plans on when to make the call to shorten their numbers the Crossmolina man said on Sunday evening.
As for the game against the Yeats men, while it was good to get the win, Rochford knows that kind of performance won’t do against Monaghan next week saying -“To get a win a week before national competitions kick in - that was nice. But you know, we were maybe fortuitous enough with the goal to be the difference, but I was happy enough with the way we closed out the game there into injury time and held onto the ball quite well and created an extra goal chance. Maybe with a bit of extra experience we would have tapped that over the bar, but glad to get the win and move on.
“The breeze was quite tricky for both teams and you just get on with it, they were the conditions for both. It was probably harder looking on at it and it was a bit frustrating that some of the skills in relation to retaining the ball could have been a little bit slicker, but I think you have just seen guys who just haven’t that much football played as we’d really like.
“Look that sort of performance won’t get you any points in Clones, but look we’ll see how we get on over the rest of the week and get ready for next week.”