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3 big game talking points


BROTHERS IN ARMSMayo’s Stephen Coen, right, and Eoin O’Donoghue celebrate after the team’s victory over Kildare last Sunday. Pic: Sportsfile

Mike Finnerty

1 Mayo’s new number 1
THAT line about buses came to mind last weekend when news broke that Rob Hennelly was going to start in goal for Mayo against Kildare.
He’s waited for ages to get a game after the 2016 All-Ireland Final replay, and then two starts come along at once as Stephen Rochford slots him back into the starting team against both Dublin and Kildare.
With the two-time All Star David Clarke in fine fettle, we can only assume that Rochford was giving Hennelly a chance to shake off some ring-rust and get some vital match practice in.
But could there be more to it ahead of May 13? Time will tell!

2 The threat of Tyrone
THE Ulster champions fired a warning shot across Mayo’s bows last Saturday night as they beat Donegal in Omagh to move on to four points in the league table.
So while next Sunday’s game is a huge one for Mayo, it’s every bit as significant for Mickey Harte’s men. They also need one more win to secure their Division 1 status for 2019.
Tyrone have beaten Mayo in Castlebar on their last two visits for National League matches (2013 and 2015) while they were also good for James Horan’s team in Omagh in 2014.
However, Mayo dug out a massive one point win in the penultimate round against the Red Hands in Omagh last year. The same again would do nicely on Sunday!

3 How the league table looks
MAYO are now just one win away from securing their Division 1 status for another season, and preserving their remarkable record of playing top-flight football for 20 years in a row.
Assuming they beat Tyrone or Donegal (or both!), then it will be job done for Stephen Rochford and company. However, two defeats and it will get too close for comfort!
Kildare are rooted to the bottom of the table after five defeats and travel to Tralee next Saturday night to take on Kerry, who are currently level on points with Mayo.
Donegal, who have just one win so far, are away to Monaghan in Clones.
The calculator could be needed in Ballybofey on Sunday week yet!

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