WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS Mayo manager James Horan, selector Ciaran McDonald and stats analyst Joe Doyle look on during Sunday’s National League match against Kerry. Pic: Conor McKeown
1 The prospect of relegation
‘IT’S championship football in March’ is how one seasoned Mayo supporter described the prospect of taking on Galway and Tyrone in successive weeks this month to try and stay in Division 1 of the National League.
Nothing less than at least three points from the two matches will give Mayo a chance of staying up while, depending on other results, two wins may not be enough to keep them in the top-flight either. It’s that tight and that precarious.
So all Mayo can do is try and beat league leaders Galway at Pearse Stadium in Salthill on Sunday week next and then wait to see how Monaghan fared out against Kerry, and how Donegal versus Tyrone panned out.
If Mayo lose to Galway then it looks like Division 2 football awaits in 2021.
2 The latest on the injury front
THE most National League involvement that the likes of Donie Vaughan, Matthew Ruane, Fionn McDonagh or Cillian O’Connor will have at this stage is two games.
None of the quartet were named in Mayo’s 29-man match-day squad last weekend although James Horan repeated his line that Vaughan, O’Connor and McDonagh are ‘very close’ to a return.
Others who sat out the Kerry defeat were Padraig O’Hora (currenly starring in RTÉ’s ‘Ultimate Hell Week 2’) and James Carr who are believed to have picked up knocks last week, but Horan says they should be back for the Galway game.
However, Brendan Harrison and Matthew Ruane seem unlikely to be back at this stage.
3 Weather hits the attendance
Had Mayo’s game against Kerry gone ahead as planned on Saturday night it’s safe to assume that the crowd would have easily been north of the 10,000 mark.
However, the fact that it was postponed until Sunday afternoon due to Storm Jorge meant that the attendance fell to just over 8,000 — hitting the GAA (and Mayo GAA) where it hurts.
Were Mayo to be relegated to Division 2 for next season we wonder what kind of crowds would turn out for the visits of teams like Longford or Down (vying for promotion from Division 3) or Clare, Westmeath or Laois?