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Billy Fitz’ predicts Mayo victory

Mayo junior manager Billy Fitzpatrick

Billy Fitz’ predicts Mayo victory

Mike Finnerty

THE voice of Mayo football, Billy Fitzpatrick, is predicting a Mayo victory against Sligo on Saturday evening — despite some of the team’s biggest names being ruled out through injury.
The Mid West Radio GAA analyst ran his eye over the Mayo team that was announced last night (Wednesday) and includes four championship debutants, Chris Barrett, Seamus O'Shea, Alan Freeman and Enda Varley.
“There’s a number of players that had to be included really,” Fitzpatrick told The Mayo News. “Guys like Tom Cunniffe, who has really impressed in the last few weeks, Chris Barrett, after his displays in the latter stages of the league, Seamus O’Shea, who everybody was talking about during the spring, and Enda Varley who was the one forward during the league that people really got excited about. He takes on his man and scores goals and is capable of doing damage.
“Alan Freeman, I think, is there on merit too,” added the former Garrymore star. “I’ve been watching him with Aghamore for the last few years and I’ve always rated him. He takes on his man, has two good feet, and is a good free-taker.
“On the flip side, we are missing a lot of very good players through injury. Trevor Howley’s strength and experience is a loss in the backs and Alan Dillon, in particular, is a huge loss up front. You can’t put a price on his quality. He’s our play-maker and our free-taker from the left-hand side. Hopefully he can play some part.
“Aidan O’Shea? I don’t know what’s gone wrong. I thought, after last year, that we had found a full-forward and towards the end of the National League I felt he was starting to find his form again.
“But defenders seem to have found a way to mark him and in a lot of games this year he’s hasn’t been able to win that ‘second ball’ and get his hands on possession as much as last summer. He seems to be gone ‘off the boil’ at the moment but I’m sure we’ll see more of him down the road, and probably on Saturday evening.”
John O’Mahony has not announced his substitute yet but hopes are high that the aforementioned Alan Dillon, Pat Harte and Barry Moran will be able to play some part.
Sligo, meanwhile, have also announced their team. It shows two changes from the side that beat Antrim in the Division 3 League Final with Brendan Philips at six and Eamonn O’Hara at left-half forward replacing the injured Mark Quinn and Frank Quinn respectively.
“I think Mayo will win, but it’s going to be very tight,” said Billy Fitz’. “The last fifteen minutes will tell a tale. Both teams are very fit and well-prepared, there’s nothing between them in that sense, but it will come down to who wants it more? And a bit of luck.”

1, David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); 2, Chris Barrett (Belmullet), 3, Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), 4, Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); 5, Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), 6, Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), 7, Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore); 8, Tom Parsons (Charlestown), 9, Ronan McGarrity (Ballina Stephenites); 10, Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), 11, Seamus O'Shea (Breaffy), 12, Trevor Mortimer (Shrule/Glencorrib); 13, Conor Mortimer (Shrule/Glencorrib), 14, Alan Freeman (Aghamore), 15, Enda Varley (Garrymore).


1, Philip Greene; 2, Charlie Harrison, 3, Noel McGuire, 4, Ross Donovan; 5, Keelan Cawley, 6, Brendan Phillips, 7, Johnny Davey; 8, Tony Taylor, 9, Stephen Gilmartin; 10, Mark Breheny, 11, Alan Costello, 12, Eamonn O’Hara; 13, Colm McGee, 14, Kenneth Sweeney, 15, David Kelly.