Galway game looks like too soon for Mayo’s Andy Moran and Alan Dillon

Injured duo back in full training but lack match practice for Connacht tie

Sunday’s Connacht football quarter-final has come “slightly too soon” for Mayo’s injured duo of Andy Moran and Alan Dillon – although that’s not saying they won’t play some part in the trip to Pearse Stadium to face Galway.

Both Moran and Dillon are in fact back to full training, but it’s their lack of match practice which has convinced manager James Horan not to chance starting them for such a crucial showdown: Mayo will start as favourites, yet Galway boast home advantage, and the added confidence of their recent All-Ireland under-21 title.

Moran’s problem is that he hasn’t played any competitive football since sustaining the dreaded cruciate ligament injury in last summer’s All-Ireland quarter-final win over Down. Dillon missed the latter stages of Mayo’s National League campaign with a groin injury.

“Andy has made great progress and was back training last week,” said Mayo press officer Aiden McLoughlin. “His only problem, really, is that he hasn’t had any game time. Alan is also back to full training now, but Sunday’s game has come slightly too soon for them both. But they may still be selected as part of the 26-man panel to travel.”


Barry Moran has also been sidelined with an ankle injury, and although over the worst of that, is also unlikely to figure in the starting 15: Horan will announce his team at lunchtime tomorrow.

Galway are also reportedly a relatively clean bill of health, although manager Alan Mulholland has resisted any temptation to promote any further members of the under-21 team which earlier this month beat a fancied Cork team to claim the county's second All-Ireland title in the grade in three year. Midfielders Fiontán Ó Curraoin and Thomas Flynn, goalkeeper Tom Healy, and forward Shane Walsh have been part of Mulholland's senior panel all season, and despite the exciting form displayed by the likes of Ian Burke, Cathal Mulryan and Adrian Varley in the under-21 final, they must await their turn.

Hip operation
Reports of fresh injury concerns surrounding Donegal defender Karl Lacey ahead of their Ulster quarter-final showdown against Tyrone on Sunday week have also been played down: the 2012 footballer of the year didn't feature for his club Four Masters over the weekend, having recently returned to action following a hip operation.

However that was purely precautionary, and indeed Lacey is expected to up the tempo with the rest of the Donegal panel as they spend the rest of the week at a special training camp Johnstown House in Enfield, Co Meath. Manager Jim McGuinness has purposely arranged the five-day stay to focus minds on the Tyrone game.

The Tipperary hurlers, incidentally, are also staging a pre-championship training camp this week, but will still play Waterford at the Davin Park facility in Carrick-on-Suir next Friday evening (7.30) as part of special bill of games to commemorate Maurice Davin. This senior game will be preceded by an under-21 challenge between the same counties (6pm).

Both the Tipperary and Waterford managers intend on fielding as strong as possible teams as they conclude preparations for their respective Munster hurling dates against Limerick (June 9th) and Clare (June 2nd). In the meantime Tipperary have confirmed that Gearoid Ryan won’t be fit for that meeting with Limerick as he returns from the a lengthy lay-off, although manager Eamonn O’Shea has officially added James Barry and Kieran Bergin to his senior panel.

Friday’s games are part of the Maurice Davin commemoration events which will culminate in the unveiling of a statue of the GAA founder and first President in his native town on Saturday, June 1st .

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics