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Win over Derry will give Mayo semi-final spot



Derry in Mayo’s road

Win over league leaders will book semi-final spot

Mike Finnerty

ALL roads will lead to MacHale Park, Castlebar next Sunday (3pm) for Mayo GAA fans as the county’s senior footballers face Derry in a game they must win if they are to qualify for the National League semi-finals for the third year in a row.
Last Saturday night’s draw with Dublin means that Mayo are currently in fourth place in the league table, but a win over Derry (who have already qualified for the last four) would see them book their place in the play-offs.
Aghamore duo Brendan Harrison and Alan Freeman, who were both forced off during last weekend’s match due to flu symptoms, are expected to have recovered in time to line out next weekend.
James Horan is expected to be able to call on all 26 players who were togged at Croke Park last weekend, with Chris Barrett and Mickey Conroy, as well as injured duo Alan Dillon and Kenneth O’Malley, among the absentees for the Dublin game.
“It’s very disappointing that we didn’t win the game or keep playing,” Horan reflected after Mayo lost a six-point lead against the All-Ireland champions. “But we have a good match next weekend and a chance to qualify for the play-offs.
“A little bit of fatigue, we made some poor decisions on our handpassing, we went a little deep maybe looking for ball we needed higher up the field.  We just stopped playing a little bit, as opposed to playing through, playing out the game,” he said.
Mayo captain Andy Moran echoed those sentiments.
“We were very lucky to get something out of the game at the end of it. It’s still all to play for. We thought we’d have to beat Derry in the last game and that’s still the way it is.
“We’re very like a club team,” he added. “There’s a good positive attitude around the place.”