MAYO senior manager James Horan may be without two of his most experienced defenders for at least the opening two rounds of the Allianz National Football League next month.
Trevor Mortimer and Tom Cunniffe are both currently out of the country and are unlikely to feature in Mayo’s games against Laois and Dublin on February 4 and 11.
Mortimer is currently in Africa on work-related business while Cunniffe is understood to be in the USA. The duo were both regulars in Mayo’s backline throughout last year’s championship.
“Trevor Mortimer is away at the moment so we’ll be talking to him,” explained James Horan last weekend. “He’ll be available probably from February onwards. He’s working away on his own.
“Tom Cunniffe isn’t with us at the moment,” added the Mayo manager. “He may be back for the league, he’s going to be out of the country for a while, so we’ll just have to see how that goes and keep all our options open.”
Horan also confirmed that the door remains open for experienced midfielder, Ronan McGarrity, to return to the inter-county stage.
The Ballina Stephenites midfielder was not included in the group of Mayo players that were working on individual training programmes before Christmas, and is not currently training with Mayo.
“Ronan is working on his fitness. I’ll be talking to him towards the end of January to see how he’s doing. There’s no set or finalised panel yet .
“One thing I’ve learned is to keep all our options open, especially when you’ve guys at inter-county level that are so dedicated and can return from injury so quickly.”
Meanwhile, the Mayo boss also revealed that the defending champions intend to make the most of the FBD Connacht League this month.
“It’s a cracking competition to win. We had a great weekend in October last year in New York. The average age of the team is probably 23 or 24, they’re young guys, and everyone loves a weekend in New York.
“Even from that point of view it’s a good competition to win because there’s nothing like winning games to build confidence.”