BRENDAN Kenny will be hoping to emulate the FA Cup exploits of Lincoln City and Sutton United when he takes his Mayo League team to Eamonn Deacy Park for the EA Sports Cup game against Galway United next Monday, March 28 (7.45pm).
“We’d be looking to competitive and give a good account of ourselves … and do the Mayo League proud,” the Ballina man told The Mayo News. “I think we can take inspiration from some of the non-league clubs, how well they’ve done in the FA Cup ... We’d be in the same category. If they can do it, there’s no reason why we can’t.”
Lincoln and Sutton both reached the fifth round of the FA Cup, and Lincoln made the quarter-finals before losing to Arsenal, who had also knocked out the Imps. Kenny insisted that playing against League of Ireland opposition represented ‘a great opportunity’ for the Mayo players.
Kenny – whose back-room team includes coach Michael Duffy, physio Chris McGauley, strength and conditioning coach Brian McMorrow and former Mayo League chairman Pádraig McHale – is due to meet the players on Sunday. Four Super League matches were cancelled last weekend as the fixture was originally scheduled for last Tuesday, but all games in the competition were postponed following the death of Derry City captain Ryan McBride, a tragedy which, Kenny says, ‘puts everything in perspective’.
Mayo will be without Jordan Loftus, David Hoban, Danny Scahill, Ger O’Boyle and Jamie Cawley, and Kenny has said the squad won’t include anybody who plays in matches this Sunday. That’s likely to rule out players from Castlebar Celtic, Claremorris and Straide and Foxford (who are due to face Loughrea Rams, St Bernard’s and West United respectively in the Connacht Cup), as well as Ballyglass and Achill Rovers (who face off in a Mayo Super League match).
Nevertheless, the Ballina man insists there’s ‘a good squad of players in the Mayo League’, who ‘should learn’ from playing against Galway. With Westport United, Ballina Town and Manulla all free of competitive games this weekend, players from those clubs are expected to feature on Monday.
“We’re going up with a positive attitude … If we can start strong and keep it tight, then who knows?” he asks.
Mayo have lost previous games in the competition to Galway (3-1 in 2016, 2-0 in 2014), Sligo Rovers (8-0 in 2015) and Finn Harps (4-1 in 2013, 2-0 in 2012).