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All roads lead to Ennis for Mayo

Sport

NO PAIN, NO GAIN Mayo's Lee Keegan is helped off the pitch by Mayo physio Martin McIntyre (left) and Mike Coffey of Murray Ambulance Service during the closing stages of Saturday's All-Ireland SFC Qualifier. Pic: Sportsfile

Mike Finnerty

FOOTBALLER of the Year Lee Keegan was wearing a protective boot 24 hours after Mayo’s All-Ireland SFC Qualifier victory over Derry last weekend, but he’s expected to be fit for next Saturday evening’s knock-out clash with Clare (Ennis, 5pm).
Keegan sustained a ‘bang to the shin’ as he was fouled by Derry’s James Kielt in the closing stages of extra-time in Castlebar and was limping as he was helped from the field.
His right foot was placed in a protective ‘moonboot’ on Sunday but this is believed to be have been a precautionary measure. The All Star defender is due to be assessed further by Mayo’s medical team this week.
According to Mayo manager Stephen Rochford, Brendan Harrison and Cillian O’Connor were both replaced before the end of Saturday’s marathon match suffering from cramp.
Paddy Durcan will definitely miss the Clare game after being sent off against Derry. He is expected to receive a one-game ban after appearing to strike Chrissy McKaigue.
Meanwhile, Mayo fans are expected to travel to Ennis in huge numbers next weekend for the county’s first ever senior championship clash with Clare.
Mayo’s latest ‘do-or-die’ All-Ireland SFC Qualifier has paired them up against the beaten Munster semi-finalists who beat Laois in their first backdoor game by ten points last weekend.
With Cusack Park’s capacity set at approximately 14,000 due to health and safety requirements, tickets are expected to be snapped up quickly this week for Mayo’s first Qualifier match outside of Castlebar since the defeat to Longford in 2010.
“When we weren’t at our best on the field against Derry, and things were going against us, we were able to count on Mayo supporters to get behind us,” said Stephen Rochford last weekend. “Nobody should underestimate how important that is to this group of players and the management.
“There are no better supporters in the country and we really appreciate their support.”

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