Having last weekend off could be just the tonic for Mayo

Ready to return?: The extra week lay off could have helped Tom Parsons chances of returning to action for Mayo this weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Ready to return?: The extra week lay off could have helped Tom Parsons chances of returning to action for Mayo this weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Only time will tell if Storm Emma, or the Beast from the East, were a blessing in disguise or a burden in the plight of the Mayo footballers' quest to stay in division one of the league.

With the amount of snow that has fallen in the east of the country it was easy to see why the games were pulled last weekend. I would even worry for the state of the pitches for this Sunday as the melted snow will surely leave some GAA grounds waterlogged and in dire straits.

Kildare, Mayo's opponents on Sunday, was one of the worst hit counties with snow drifts as high as seven feet tall. I personally feel the storm's timing was a godsend for our football fortunes as the entire GAA fixture list in hurling and football was postponed for a week.

Time to heal is what some stars needed

Lee Keegan had his first outing of 2018 against Dublin, Seamie O'Shea came on as a second half substitute, an extra week to prepare for the Kildare game can only be a bonus for those two in particular. Add to that the extra week will surely benefit Paddy Durcan and he hopefully will have recovered from his quad injury to take his place this Sunday. He was rated 50/50 at best if the game went ahead last weekend.

A lot of people have been asking me about Tom Parsons, he and Seamie O'Shea have been badly missed in the middle of the field. Parsons was making great progress to full fitness after returning from his honeymoon, only to suffer a calf strain which ruled him out for the Dublin game. He is another who will hopefully have made use of the extra week to prepare. If Mayo are able to include the four aforementioned players and welcome back Cillian O Connor, all of a sudden the team looks strong again.

However the absence of Donal Vaughan, Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins, and Chris Barrett from our defence surely weakens us in that sector. Harrison has undergone surgery on his hip and will probably take no part in the remainder of the league. He will also have to be considered a major doubt for the May 13 clash against Galway as his injury will prevent him from getting any meaningful work done on the pitch.

Kildare may be pointless, but they are dangerous

As mentioned last week, Sunday's game is huge for both teams. If Kildare lose they are pretty much relegated, which will be a huge setback for them considering they have achieved three successive promotions. If Mayo lose they are knee deep in relegation trouble and will need two wins against Tyrone and Donegal in their last two games to survive. I would rather it not go down to the wire this year.

Of the four games Kildare have played and lost in this year's league, two of them, against Tyrone and Monaghan, were by the slimmest of margins, while Donegal defeated them by two points. They should have beaten Monaghan and got at least a draw against Tyrone.

They played most of their game against Donegal with only 14 men after captain Eoin Doyle was sent off in controversial circumstances. The only game they were comprehensively beaten in was their first round tie against the Dubs when they had a commanding five point lead at one stage. In that game they made the biggest mistake you could in GAA, they tried to rough Dublin up just before half time to show they were up for a fight.

Jim Gavin would not even have needed a half time team talk. They poked the bear and the Dubs tore them asunder in the second half, reeling off 2-05 without reply in the third quarter. The point I am making here is that just because Kildare are pointless at the foot of the table does not really do them justice.

They are very physical and have some really good forwards with a very formidable midfield. No question Mayo will have to put in a very decent performance to leave Newbridge with the spoils. Mayo 4/6, Kildare 6/4, with the draw at 15/2. My betting tip for this weekend in football, Armagh, Cavan, Galway, and Dublin which yields a return of 7/2. Ironically none of these teams has been beaten in the league in 2018.

Cora Staunton doing what she does best

Cora Staunton is doing what Cora Staunton always does, only in Australia nowadays, scoring goals and making headlines down under. She has made the transition from round ball to the oval ball seamlessly. She scored an absolute monster of a goal for the Greater Western Sydney Giants last weekend against Freemantle in the AFLW, a clip of which can be viewed online, I highly recommend watching.


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