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5 Mayo players to watch in the FBD


BIG CHANCE Westport goalkeeper Paddy O’Malley is part of the Mayo senior football squad for the FBD Connacht League this month. Pic: Sportsfile


Mike Finnerty

Paddy O’Malley
THE 2015 Mayo minor goalkeeper was invited in by Stephen Rochford last month to ‘stand in the gap’ for a few games in the FBD League with Rob Hennelly away in Malaysia on the team holiday.
O’Malley only left Rice College, Westport last May, a few months after winning an All-Ireland Intermediate club championship medal. He was also a key man in Westport’s historic Under-21 ‘A’ championship winning team before Christmas.
The IT Sligo student is a big, tall powerful goalkeeper whose has a real presence around the square and he also the ability to deliver short and long accurate kick-outs.
If he has a good January, you never know what might happen.

Stephen Duffy

THE Deel Rovers defender is a specialist full-back line player with his club and was invited in to link up with the Mayo ‘development panel’ last summer.
Although he didn’t force his way into Mayo’s ‘official’ championship squad at any stage, Duffy will have come on from the experience of training with the likes of Ger Cafferkey, Brendan Harrison and Keith Higgins.
The 27 year-old will also have had his mettle tested by the likes of Cillian O’Connor and Andy Moran at times during internal trial games and ‘A’ versus ‘B’ work-outs.
Stephen Rochford knows Duffy well and will give him every chance.

Matthew Ruane
THE former All-Ireland minor and under-21 winner was another of Mayo’s five-man ‘development panel’ that was handpicked by Stephen Rochford at the start of last summer.
However, an ankle injury that required surgery brought Ruane’s season to a premature end and he never got to show the Mayo management what he could do.
For that reason 2018 is going to be a big year for the big Breaffy clubman who was first drafted into the Mayo set-up last Spring, and could do a job in either the middle of the field or in the half-forwardline.
If Ruane stays fit, he could get a run of games during the National League.

Brian Reape
Moy Davitts
WITH Conor Loftus now firmly established in the Mayo senior squad, the tag of ‘one to watch’ outside of the group falls on to the talented Foxford forward.
Having been brought into the senior set-up by Stephen Rochford in 2016, but without ever getting any league or championship minutes, hopes were high that Reape would take 2017 by storm.
However, that didn’t happen and the DCU student spent most of last summer in America after being released from the Mayo panel after the National League.
A good club campaign with Moy Davitts culminated in a Mayo Intermediate title, and four goals against NUI, Galway last Saturday wasn’t a bad start to the new season.
More of the same this month and he may get his long-awaited league start.

James Carr
THE University of Limerick student is the only Junior club footballer who was part of Mayo’s plans last summer — albeit as part of Stephen Rochford’s handpicked ‘development panel’ which trained alongside the championship squad.
However, that should be enough to tell you that the Mayo manager obviously feels that the powerfully-built Ardagh forward has something to offer.
By all accounts the Mayo S&C coaches have invested a lot of time and effort into making sure that Carr will be fit, strong and ready for battle when the call comes.
He showed during his time with the Mayo minors and Under-21s (he was part of Michael Solan’s squad that won an All-Ireland in 2016) that he has talent and ability.
Could he be a ball-winning targetman this spring? Time will tell.

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