League leaders welcome Mayo back to Croke Park
THE Mayo footballers will return to Croke Park next Sunday for the first time since last April’s National League final with the threat of relegation from Division 1 now a real possibility after last weekend’s defeat to Armagh.
However, Mayo manager James Horan is adamant that next weekend’s game against the league leaders is a ‘brilliant’ opportunity for his players to bounce back from their second league defeat, and express themselves on the GAA’s biggest stage.
“It’s brilliant for us and for the players to go to Croke Park and play the form team in the country,“ he said. “We’ll be looking to do a good week’s work and have as a strong a team as we can for Dublin. It’ll tell us where we are, and it’s something to look forward to.”
Horan is not expected to announce his team until after training on Friday evening next, but is expected to make changes to the side that started on Sunday.
Keith Higgins will be available for selection again after returning from his Australian holiday, while Alan Freeman will also be pushing hard for inclusion after recovering from a broken bone in his hand.
Enda Varley and Aidan O’Shea, who both came on during the closing stages against Armagh, are also likely to be in the frame to start.
Trevor Mortimer, who returned from his round-the-world trip last month, lined out with Shrule/Glencorrib in a club match last weekend but has not yet rejoined the Mayo squad.
After next Sunday’s game at Croker, Mayo will be at home to Cork on Sunday, April 3 before travelling to Monaghan in their final match a week later.
Despite last weekend’s setback, James Horan remains upbeat about the weeks ahead. “It’s still in our control,” he said. “It’s up to us how we play and how we perform.
“When we move the ball early, and get the ball into our dangermen early, we’re dangerous. But we’re not doing that enough. We think we can waltz through tackles, we’re bringing the ball into contact, not moving it enough. . We know if we do that, we’ll be a dangerous team.”
NFL Division 1
Dublin v Mayo
Sunday, March 20
Croke Park at 2.30pm
Referee: M Deegan (Laois)