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3 key questions ahead of Mayo v Galway


Edwin McGreal

Who will be fit to play?
BOTH county’s medical teams’ have been busy in recent months.
There is good news and bad news for Mayo; the good news concerns the return to the match-day squad on Saturday of Donie Vaughan, Cillian O’Connor and James Carr, while Seamie O’Shea came through a full club game for Breaffy on Sunday.
The bad news is the ankle injuries picked up by Lee Keegan and Jason Doherty. A Mayo GAA statement on Monday shed little light on when they might return, but both appear to be major doubts for Saturday.
Aidan O’Shea left MacHale Park in a spaceboot after the game, but this is believed to be a precautionary measure.
In Galway, Damien Comer came on as a substitute eleven days ago for his club, Annaghdown, in his first game this year so he might make the squad for Saturday.
Paul Conroy, who broke his leg in the ‘Super 8s’ against Kerry last summer has played two full games for his club, but did not make the 26 for the Connacht Final.
Kieran Molloy, Ciarán Duggan and Fiontán Ó Curraoin are also on the ‘doubtful’ list.

Why is the game in Limerick?
ONCE the draw was made, there was only one topic of conversation among Mayo fans on Twitter and in WhatsApp groups — where would the game be played?
It seems that Galway and Mayo were both asked by GAA authorities would they toss for home venue. Mayo, we understand, declined and so Castlebar and Salthill were ruled out as possible venues.
With Hyde Park in Roscommon deemed incapable of catering for the expected attendance (its capacity is around 18,500), Limerick was the next nearest venue for consideration.
It has a capacity of 43,000 with 20,000 seats and both counties agreed on it.
It will mean a longer journey for Mayo fans, but seems to be a much more palatable outcome than the last time a James Horan managed Mayo team went to the Gaelic Grounds – for the infamous 2014 All-Ireland semi-final replay against Kerry.
A wide pitch and a fast surface might suit Mayo more than Castlebar these days, but Galway’s talented forward line might be licking their lips too.
The replay of the Galway v Mayo Connacht Ladies Final will be the curtain raiser at 4pm, so there’s no excuse not to get in early.

What team will Mayo field?
JAMES Horan made five changes to the Mayo team which lost to Roscommon for their first Qualifier game away to Down.
Four changes were announced to that team ahead of the Armagh match last Friday but, by throw-in on Saturday evening, further late changes meant there were, in effect, just two new faces drafted in — Mikey Murray and Ciaran Treacy for their first championship starts.
One was enforced after Diarmuid O’Connor fractured his wrist while the other saw Kevin McLoughlin lose out.
How many changes will there be this time? It looks like a minimum of two following injuries to Lee Keegan and Jason Doherty, while Kevin McLoughlin will be pushing for inclusion after impressing off the bench. Might Cillian O’Connor come in from the start too?
And how Mayo set up defensively will be very interesting.
The likelihood is we won’t know what teams are lining out until shortly before 7pm on Saturday.

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