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Back to drawing board for Mayo?

Mayo manager James Horan speaks to his players on the pitch after last Sunday’s match at Croke Park.
Mayo manager James Horan speaks to his players on the pitch after last Sunday’s match at Croke Park.

Back to drawing board?

Mayo have two weeks to get ready for Cork visit

Mike Finnerty

THE Mayo senior football squad will return to training tonight (Tuesday) and begin the process of trying to analyse exactly what happened against Dublin at Croke Park last Sunday.
Mayo’s third defeat in five games means that they have just two matches left to try and pick up some points that will preserve their NFL Division 1 status.
First up is a home game against the All-Ireland champions, Cork, on Sunday week next before a trip to Iniskeen to play Monaghan in the final round on April 10.
Speaking to The Mayo News after last Sunday’s five-point defeat to Dublin, James Horan admitted that ‘deplorable’ defending in the first twenty minutes had left his team with a mountain to climb.
However, he was also keen to accentuate the positive on a day when his team fought back to level, after being fourteen points down, before running out of steam in the final quarter.
“We know we have a lot of positives in our team,“ said the Mayo manager. “But what we need to address is how we delay teams, how we deny teams possession and space. We didn’t do that, and we haven’t done that at various times during some of our league matches.
“When we address that, we have the players with ability to challenge any team.
“We know what we have to do. We know where we are now, we know what players are capable, and what players have the potential that we need. It’s about fine-tuning that, and getting that into a set, solid foundation.”
The Mayo squad medical bulletin is, thankfully, fairly brief after last weekend’s high-octane game. Aidan Campbell picked up a slight knock to his knee while Alan Freeman reported a sore wrist. Aidan O’Shea didn’t tog out last weekend due to a calf strain.
All three should be fine for the visit of Cork but it seems unlikely that injured quartet Seamus O’Shea, Trevor Howley, Donal Vaughan or Barry Moran will be available for selection.
Elsewhere, David Clarke has recovered from the ankle injury that kept him out of the Mayo squad for the first four league games and was on the bench last weekend.
He looks set for a recall to the starting XV after Mayo conceded ten goals in his absence.