NEXT Sunday’s trip to Donegal will be a bigger test for Mayo than last weekend’s rematch with All-Ireland champions Kerry, according to John O’Mahony.
The Mayo manager was speaking in the aftermath of Sunday’s four point win in Castlebar and admitted that he sees playing Brian McIver’s team in Ballybofey as the acid test.
“Even before now the one game I was really gearing up for was the Donegal game,“ he said. “Deep down I felt that Kerry, with the way that they were, we might just be okay today. But you saw what Donegal did down in Cork with (Brendan) Devenney and (Kevin) Cassidy back. They’re really up for it. I didn’t reveal my thoughts publicly but I felt that with it being a home game, and the momentum we had, that we were in with a good chance. But next Sunday is a different kettle of fish.”
All Star Alan Dillon, who kicked four points, concurred with those thoughts. “We’ve worked hard the last four or five weeks and it showed there in the last ten or fifteen minutes. Kerry were missing a few there, we all know that. We’ll work hard again this week and Donegal will be a tough game. They had a great victory against Cork so we’ll take nothing for granted and take each game as it comes.”
On the injury-front, Mayo reported a clean bill of health after last Sunday’s game. There was good news too concerning Ciaran McDonald (pictured) with John O’Mahony revealing that the Crossmolina forward is back in light training despite a niggling back injury.
The 2005 Mayo team captain has been sidelined over the winter with a bulging disc in his back and O’Mahony is hoping that he can play some part in the league.
“He’s getting intensive treatment but the situation is he’s going to be out for the next number of weeks but hopefully not too long. He’ll have some input into the league. The main thing we want to do it get this (injury) right. The perfect solution would be an operation but we can’t afford that because he’d be out for the season so we’re trying other methods. Our medical team and our backroom team are working very hard to get that right.”
Donegal got off to an impressive start, defeating Cork 1-12 to 2-7 away in Pairc Uí Rinn under lights on Saturday. Barry Monaghan, Rory Kavanagh, Brian Roper and Kevin McMenamin (who scored 1-3) were all to the fore.
MEANWHILE, Mayo may have to travel for next Sunday’s clash without All-Star nominee Ronan McGarrity, who is due to play basketball in Dublin on Saturday night.
McGarrity sat out last Sunday’s win with a heel injury, and is scheduled to play for Team Merry Monk against St Vincent’s in the capital on Saturday night.
Manager John O’Mahony is likely to talk to McGarrity in advance of the team announcement for the Donegal clash, and it could be that the Ballina man would travel the 160 miles to Ballybofey late on Saturday night or early on Sunday morning.
NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION 1A
Sunday, FEBRUARY 11,
BALLYBOFEY AT 1.30PM
REFEREE: J McQUILLAN (CAVAN)