Mayo likely to secure final place
CONNACHT SFC: Mayo v Roscommon: THERE ARE two distinct perspectives here. Roscommon have an All-Ireland-winning minor team from 2006, with graduates thereof due to make an impression at senior level this, or maybe next, year.
David Casey is another familiar name to be brought in by manager Fergal O’Donnell, who was in charge of the minors who beat Kerry in the replayed final three years ago – to replace the injured David Keenan at wing back, while influential full forward Senan Kilbride has been passed fit to start.
Mayo are without leading marksman Conor Mortimer, but after partially recovering from a broken hand he remains an option off the bench. Goalkeeper David Clarke is another big loss and is replaced by Kenneth O’Malley.
Aidan Kilcoyne, Keith Higgins and David Heaney were held back against New York but they come in for Donal Vaughan, Kevin McLoughlin and Tom Parsons in a side that still seems to have too much quality for Roscommon to contain. Mortimer’s brother Trevor captains the side from centre forward alongside Pat Harte and Alan Dillon, with Heaney and Ronan McGarrity expected to provide a regular supply of ball.
A player to watch for the future is Aidan O’Shea. Named at corner forward, having played a significant role in the Mayo minors’ march to last year’s All-Ireland final, The Irish Times columnist (he provided humorous updates during his Leaving Certificate) has the physique and natural ability to be used further out the field.
MAYO:K O’Malley; O O’Malley, G Cafferky, K Higgins; P Gardiner; T Howley, A Moran; D Heaney, R McGarrity; P Harte, T Mortimer (capt), A Dillon; a Kilcoyne, B Moran, A O’Shea.
ROSCOMMON: G Claffey; P Domican, J Nolan, P Kelly; S McDermott, D Flynn, D Casey; M Finneran, B Higgins; G Cox (capt), K Mannion, D Shine; C Devaney, S Kilbride, J Dunning.
Referee:B Crowe (Cavan).
In the last episode:In the 2005 Connacht semi-final Mayo went to Dr Hyde Park and won 1-16 to 0-11.
You bet: Roscommon look a decent bet at 9/2 or with the four point handicap at 11/10. A draw can be got at 9/1.
On your marks:Both teams are already off the mark, Mayo learning nothing in beating New York and Roscommon showing a glimmer of potential in the defeat of Leitrim.
Gaining ground:John McHale was the Archbishop of Tuam from 1831 to 1881 and this 36,000 capacity stadium was named after him on its opening in 1931. The current generation of stadium names can be purchased.
Just the ticket: €5 for children and OAPs, €15 for students, €25 (sideline) and €30 for the stand.
Crystal gazing: All told, it looks like Mayo should have a few points to spare but whether any western teams make a national impact remains to be seen.