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Mayo in line for FBD Final appearance

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Mayo joint senior managers Pat Holmes, left, and Noel Connelly, right, are pictured with Micheál Collins. A victory over Roscommon next Sunday would set them up for an FBD League Final at the end of the month.
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?Mayo joint senior managers Pat Holmes, left, and Noel Connelly, right, are pictured with Micheál Collins. A victory over Roscommon next Sunday would set them up for an FBD League Final at the end of the month. ?Pic: Sportsfile

Match practice appeals to Mayo

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Mike Finnerty

THE prospect of playing an FBD League Final a week before travelling to Kerry for the start of the Allianz League against the All-Ireland champions is a big motivation for Mayo as they prepare to face Roscommon next Sunday.
A win or a draw against the Rossies would ensure that Mayo qualify for the Connacht League Final on Sunday week next, and guarantee them some valuable match practice before they face Kerry in Killarney on February 1.
Speaking to The Mayo News after Sunday’s straightforward win over IT Sligo, Connelly said he was pleased with the ‘cohesive’ nature and ‘higher intensity’ of Mayo’s second victory in seven days.
However, he admitted that both he and Pat Holmes are already sketching out some plans for the start of the National League with some more experienced players set to return to action in Castlebar next Sunday.
“You’ve less than three weeks now until you go to Kerry so everybody needs to be thinking about that from now on,” said Mayo’s joint manager.
“Guys who were in the panel last week, more of them will be involved again next week, and it will be a step-up when we play Roscommon.
“For the new guys that have come in and done well, we’ll probably have to play two or three of them with some of the experienced guys to see how they shape up against senior inter-county players.
“If we were lucky enough to get through Roscommon next week that also gives us another game,” he added.
“We’d be hoping we’d get that game on January 25 before we go to Kerry.”
Mayo’s new management team have now looked at 28 different players in their first two competitive matches, and also used last Sunday’s work-out to run the rule over the versatile Donal Vaughan at full-back.
Mayo under 21 panellist Morgan Lyons and IT Sligo student Evan Regan were among those who impressed Connelly.
“It was better than last week, there was a higher intensity.
The defence did very well as a unit. I thought Kevin Keane and Donal Vaughan did very well in the first half, especially, when we were under a bit of pressure.
“I thought Morgan Lyons did very well in the half-forward line, worked hard and linked well with the guys inside.
“I thought Evan Regan’s fitness has improved, from the match the last day to today. I thought he was lively, got on a lot of ball, and put up a few good scores.
“We were happy with the overall performance really rather than any one individual. It was more cohesive than it was last week.”
Connelly also confirmed that team captain Keith Higgins and Michael Conroy are both carrying hamstring injuries while Ger Cafferkey and Tom Parsons are also nursing knocks.
A number of the ‘core’ squad members like Aidan O’Shea, Alan Dillon and Andy Moran are also only rejoining the panel this month and it is still unclear how many of them will be available for Mayo’s NFL opener away to Kerry.

 

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