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Injury influences Mayo team for London

Sport

STILL GOING STRONG Mayo's Alan Dillon, pictured here in action against Galway in the 2003 Connacht SFC Final, is beginning his 14th championship season next weekend. Pic: Sportsfile

Mike Finnerty

FIVE members of the Mayo team that started last August’s All-Ireland semi-final replay defeat to Dublin have been ruled out of the squad for Sunday’s clash with London (Ruislip, 3pm).
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford revealed his 26-man panel for the game shortly after midday today (Thursday) with Ger Cafferkey (groin), Chris Barrett (hamstring), Donal Vaughan (hamstring), Diarmuid O’Connor (hamstring) and Barry Moran (Achilles) all forced to sit the game out due to injuries.
Alan Freeman is also out of Sunday’s game after damaging ankle ligaments last week, while Brian Reape (hamstring) was also unavailable for selection.
However, despite injury concerns over Tom Parsons, Andy Moran, Alan Dillon and Seamus O’Shea earlier in the week, all four players came through training in Athlone last night (Wednesday).
All of them been declared fit enough to be named in Mayo’s match-day squad, although Parsons is the only one of the quartet named in the first fifteen.
Rochford’s first championship selection contains just one championship debutant — Evan Regan — although corner-back Brendan Harrison will be starting a championship match for the first time.
Sunday’s game will only be a second championship start for Breaffy’s Conor O’Shea who has been named at number 15.
Keith Higgins, who is named at left-corner back, is Mayo’s most experienced player on the field in London. He will be making his 117th appearance for the seniors.
However, Andy Moran will become Mayo’s ‘most capped’ footballer of all time if he comes on in Ruislip. He and James Nallen currently share that title with 132 appearances.
Three members of Mayo’s All-Ireland winning under 21 team are named among the substitutes — Stephen Coen, Michael Hall and Conor Loftus.
An appearance on Sunday for Hall, Loftus, Caolan Crowe or Shane Nally would see them make their senior championship debut for the county.

Mayo squad v London
1.   Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy)
2.   Brendan Harrison (Aghamore)
3.   Kevin Keane (Westport)
4.   Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)
5.   Lee Keegan (Westport)
6.   Colm Boyle (Davitts)
7.   Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)
8.   Tom Parsons (Charlestown)
9.   Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber)
10. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
12. Jason Doherty (Burrishoole)
13. Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites)
14. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber, Captain)
15. Conor O’Shea (Breaffy)
16. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)
17. David Drake (Ballaghaderreen)
18. Caolan Crowe (Garrymore)
19. Shane Nally (Garrymore)
20. Michael Hall (Breaffy)
21. Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore)
22. Cathal Carolan (Crossmolina)
23. Conor Loftus (Crossmolina)
24. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
25. Seamus O'Shea (Breaffy)
26. Alan Dillon (Ballintubber)

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