A GRAND STRETCH IN THE EVENINGS Mayo manager James Horan walks by his players as they warm up before the recent National League match against Westmeath in Mullingar. Pic: Sportsfile
1 Collins one of our Eoghan
THE most obvious connection between the Mayo and Clare camps ahead of next Sunday’s game is provided by Eoghan Collins from Ballyhaunis.
The talented dual player has been part of the Clare senior panel for the last five seasons and lined out against Mayo in the 2017 All-Ireland Qualifiers.
Eoghan, who is a nephew of Clare manager, Colm Collins, started their recent wins against Laois and Kildare at left-corner back but sat out the narrow defeat to Cork.
Collins only took up hurling at 17 years of age, but won a Nicky Rackard Cup with Mayo back in 2016. He also played Under-21 football with his native county.
2 All change in four years
THE last time that Mayo played Clare was in the 2017 All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers.
Anybody who was there, or watched on TV, will probably remember much of that game for the sense of nervous tension that hung in the air for much longer than it should have.
Clare gave Stephen Rochford’s team a real fright that day before goals from Diarmuid and Cillian O’Connor got Mayo out of jail.
They left Cusack Park that day with a 2-14 to 0-13 victory but only after a good battle.
As it happens, nine of the Mayo squad who got game-time that day have retired since.
A tenth, Evan Regan, has not been part of the panel since 2018.
3 Make-up of Mayo’s panel
SLOWLY and surely we are joining the dots about Mayo’s panel for the National League and upcoming championship.
Team management have been reluctant to confirm who’s ‘in’ and who’s ‘out’ but the last three games have answered most of our questions anyway.
It seems that Mayo are operating off an extended squad (at least to the end of the league), with any players outside of that being part of what’s termed ‘a development panel’.
It was interesting to see Brendan Harrison and Jason Doherty both attended last week’s game in Castlebar but neither were deemed ready for the match-day squad.
Another man sitting with the Mayo players who didn’t tog the last day was Knockmore goalkeeper, Colm Reape.