THE Mayo senior football squad trained together today (Thursday) for the last time before the vast majority of last year’s panel fly out to Kuala Lumpur on Saturday for a well-deserved team holiday.
Manager Stephen Rochford is not among the 70-strong travelling party that will spend ten days in the Malaysian capital, but selectors Peter Burke, Tony McEntee and Joe Keane are all making the trip and will oversee some training sessions.
Mayo coach, Donie Buckley, is currently in America and will not link up with the panel until later next month.
A handful of players — including Footballer of the Year Andy Moran, Barry Moran and All Star goalkeeper David Clarke — are not making the trip either due to personal reasons and work commitments.
As a result, the trio are all expected to line out in Mayo’s first FBD League match on Sunday, January 7 against Galway in Castlebar.
The 2017 squad will not arrive back from the team holiday in Southeast Asia until Tuesday, January 9 so Stephen Rochford will be forced to put a second-string team together for the first game of the new season.
All-Ireland under 21 winners Seamus Cunniffe, Michael Hall, Michael Plunkett, Sharoize Akram, Matthew Ruane and Brian Reape are among a group of more than 20 players who were invited into a preliminary Mayo training squad for the upcoming FBD League.
Ballintubber’s Jason Gibbons, Castlebar’s Neil Douglas and Westport’s Kevin Keane are also back in the fold while others who have been given a chance to impress in January are Jamie Oates (Garrymore), James Stretton (Claremorris), Peter Naughton (Knockmore), Fionn McDonagh (Westport) and Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina).
Mayo also have FBD League matches against Leitrim (Wednesday, January 10), Roscommon (Sunday, January 14) and Sligo (Sunday, January 21).
They begin their National League campaign against Monaghan on Sunday, January 28 in Castleblayney.