The best-kept secret in the run-up to Saturday’s Round 4B match against Westmeath was the injury concern that eventually ruled Diarmuid O’Connor out of the fixture. I didn’t hear a whisper about it in advance and so the first I knew about Diarmuid’s unavailability was when the murmurings began to spread around the Cusack Stand just before the lads ran out onto the hallowed turf.
It’s clear from Stephen Rochford’s post-match comments, however, that there were concerns all week leading up to the game about Diarmuid’s availability for it. It’s pretty impressive that, despite this and the fact that the world we now inhabit is such an information-frenzied one, there wasn’t a peep about this story anywhere during the week. I think it’s safe to conclude that there are no moles within the organisation at the minute.
Which, of course, makes it all the more difficult to discern what’s the crack with Diarmuid now and whether or not he’ll be available for Saturday’s seismic All-Ireland quarter-final showdown against Tyrone at Croke Park (throw-in 4pm). In attempting to cast some light on this question, though, I decided to go Route One and look at what Stephen Rochford had to say about the matter in his post-match comments. Having done so, I think it’s safe to assume that the prognosis looks promising.
This, from yesterday’s Western People (paper and digital formats):
Diarmuid picked up a dead leg against Fermanagh and took another collision last weekend on the same spot. We were quite hopeful that he’d make today’s game but our expectations are that he’ll be available for next week.
And this from today’s Mayo News (also paper and digital formats):
We were quite hopeful that he was gonna make it [i.e. for last Saturday], but player welfare, that’s very, very important for us. But our expectation is that he’ll be available next weekend.
There you have it. In that Mayo News piece, by the way, Mike Finnerty says that we’ll wait ’till later in the week to make a definitive decision on Diarmuid’s availability for Saturday. That’s only to be expected, though, as I assume we won’t be announcing our starting fifteen to face Tyrone (the same team we named ahead of the Westmeath game, I’d imagine) until some time on Friday evening.