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Big guns fall hard

Sport
Big guns fall hard

PREVIEW
MIKE FINNERTY


MAYO will be without three of their most experienced players for next weekend’s National League game against Fermanagh in Clones due to injury and illness.
Ronan McGarrity will be out of action for at least the next few months after being diagnosed last week with testicular cancer. The 25 year old midfielder informed his team-mates last Saturday that he would be dropping out of the Mayo squad to receive treatment.
Also definitely missing next Sunday will be David Brady (calf) and Kevin O’Neill (hamstring) while both Enda Devenney and Aidan Campbell picked up injuries last weekend and are considered “doubtful”.
“We have an availability crisis and we’ll be tested to the limit by it,” Mayo manager John O’Mahony admitted to The Mayo News.
“There’s no hiding place now. When people are given an opportunity they have to perform. Next Sunday is going to provide an opportunity to players and the reality is that you cannot give people continuous game-time.
“Fermanagh have to pick up points somewhere and we don’t want it to be against us. We only have three matches at home so it’s vital that we win on our travels too.”
The absence of so many central figures is likely to mean the return of the likes of David Heaney, Patrick Harte, Austin O’Malley and Conor Mortimer, all of whom were dropped for the win over Limerick ten days ago.
However, O’Mahony was adamant that Mayo would need to be firing on all cylinders if they were to win their third match of the ultra-competitive Division 1A. Their next outing is away to Cork on Saturday, March 24.
“It’s been a trend in our games so far that our second half displays haven’t been as fruitful as we would like. Against Limerick the last day we lost our shape, and that’s possibly down to David Brady and Kevin O’Neill going off, but we need to up our performance for next Sunday. This is going to be a tough game.”
However, it has not been the best of starts to the NFL for Charlie Mulgrew and Fermanagh with three defeats from three games against Tyrone, Limerick and Kerry.
The team have managed just 1-24 in that time and conceded 3-36 which, overall, doesn’t paint a pretty picture with big games to come against Mayo, Dublin, Cork and Donegal.
Last time out against Kerry in Cavan, Fermanagh’s defence was prone to silly fouling, and there was no real method in attack. They also struggled in the vital midfield sector and the absence of a target man up front has also been a problem.
Goalkeeper Christopher Breen is suspended for Sunday’s match while the likes of Eamon Maguire and Ciaran O’Reilly remain the scorers-in-chief. All-Star Barry Owens, Tom Brewster and Marty McGrath will all be familiar to Mayo supporters.

FIXTURE
NATIONAL FOOTBALL
LEAGUE DIVISION 1A
FERMANAGH V MAYO
SUNDAY, MARCH 11
CLONES AT 2.30PM
REFEREE: E Murtagh

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