GOOD EFFORT Mayo manager Stephen Rochford shakes Liam Irwin’s hand after he was substituted during Sunday’s game in Ballina. Pic: James Wright Photography
Rochford to name strongest team for trip to Roscommon
IT looks like Mayo will have to beat Roscommon by more than 13 points if they’re to qualify for their first FBD League Final since 2012.
That’s how things are stacking up ahead of next weekend’s third round matches with Mayo travelling to Kiltoom looking for a comprehensive win over Kevin McStay’s unbeaten homeside.
If NUI, Galway beat IT Sligo, as expected, in their third round clash in Bekan then nothing less than a landslide win will see Mayo into the decider against Galway on Sunday, January 29.
However, if IT Sligo win the battle of the students at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, then any sort of victory for Mayo over Roscommon would propel them into the final.
Stephen Rochford is expected to send out his strongest team of the campaign so far next weekend with Rob Hennelly, Keith Higgins, Colm Boyle, Aidan O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran and Cillian O’Connor all in line to start for the first time this year.
However, Donie Vaughan is expected to miss the game against Roscommon after being shown a red card, moments after receiving a black card, during the final moments of Mayo’s win over IT Sligo last Sunday.
Vaughan, who had come on as a second half substitute, looks set to receive a one-match ban as a result.
The Connacht GAA Council had not received referee Shane Hehir’s report at the time of going to print last night (Monday).
Jason Doherty’s participation next Sunday is also in some doubt.
The Burrishoole attacker was replaced after 18 minutes in Ballina last Sunday after a clash of heads with an IT Sligo defender.
The Mayo News understands that Doherty was taken off the field as a precaution by Mayo GAA’s Head of Medical, Dr Seán Moffatt, and was to be monitored in the 24 hours after the game.
A decision will be taken in the coming days about whether or not he will be cleared to tog out next weekend.
“Roscommon is going to be a very difficult game, away in Kiltoom, and that leaves with us with a fortnight to the Monaghan game [in the National League],” Rochford told The Mayo News. “You’re looking to get a certain level of performance next Sunday, a bit of sharpness in, some guys playing their first game of the year.
“There’s a big three weeks ahead for the whole group, but it’s a challenge we’re looking forward to.”