Mystery surrounds absence of Aidan O'Shea for Mayo opener

Player has been dropped despite coming off the bench in final two league games

Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea: “I am good even though I obviously missed out on some game fitness I would liked to have had coming into the championship.” Photograph:  INPHO/Donall Farmer

Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea: “I am good even though I obviously missed out on some game fitness I would liked to have had coming into the championship.” Photograph: INPHO/Donall Farmer

 

“No, I’m good,” said Aidan O’Shea, at one of the recent football championship launches, indicating he was both fit and ready for Mayo’s Connacht championship opener against Sligo on Sunday.

Only O’Shea has not made the team, manager Stephen Rochford opting instead to give one of the forward positions to debutant Fergal Boland, one of five changes from the team that lost the All-Ireland final replay to Dublin last October.

It is unclear exactly why O’Shea has been dropped: he had been nursing an ankle injury for most of the league, sustained while playing basketball with the Sligo All Stars team back in January. Yet he made appearances off the bench in Mayo’s final two games against Tyrone and Donegal, and feature more recently again in a challenge game against Meath.

Ger Cafferkey is named to start at full back – despite not playing a minute of league football this spring – and O’Shea had also indicated that the ankle injury was purely accidental and could have happened anywhere.

“It was a frustrating league for me, to miss most of the league was disappointing. I could have risked myself for the Cavan game but I didn’t risk it, but I came back at the end of the league, and since then I have been able to participate in every training sessions since. I am good even though I obviously missed out on some game fitness I would liked to have had coming into the championship.

Risks

“I knew the risks going into it [basketball] but come this winter I’ll definitely be going back up the road to Sligo, that’s how much I enjoyed it. I’m not too worried. You’re going to get injured. That could happen tomorrow morning playing for the club or this weekend playing for the county.”

Elsewhere David Clarke, Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Boland and Conor O’Shea come in for Robbie Hennelly, Brendan Harrison, Donal Vaughan, O’Shea and Jason Doherty.

Sligo manager Niall Carew has gone with the same team that got past New York in the opening round despite some scares early on.

MAYO: David Clarke, Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins, Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan, Patrick Durcan, Seamus O’Shea, Tom Parsons, Fergal Boland, Diarmuid O’Connor, Conor O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian O’Connor (c), Andy Moran.

SLIGO: Aidan Devaney, Ross Donavan, Charlie Harrison, Eoin McHugh, Keelan Cawley, Brendan Egan, John Kelly, Paddy O’Connor, Adrian McIntyre, Neil Ewing, Mark Breheny, Kyle Cawley, Stephen Coen, Pat Hughes, Adrian Marren.

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