Saturday’s edging ever closer and with it the start of this year’s National Football League campaign. Our Division One opener against Monaghan throws in that evening under the lights at MacHale Park at 7pm.
It was confirmed yesterday – report in the Irish Examiner here – that Aidan O’Shea is definitely out of contention to start on Saturday evening. He sprained his ankle playing basketball but the problem only seems to be a short-term one and it looks like he could be back in time to face Kerry the weekend after.
Today’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants) also confirms the already known absences of Ger Cafferkey (hamstring), Seamus O’Shea (knee) and Brendan Harrison (hip), as well as club-tied duo Lee Keegan and Kevin Keane. Both Westport lads won’t now be available until the Roscommon match towards the end of next month.
Also out of Saturday evening’s match, according to that piece in the Mayo News, are Chris Barrett, Caolan Crowe, Conor Loftus and Ger McDonagh. A fresh casualty on this list is Jason Gibbons, who lined out the last day against Roscommon. It’ll be Friday “at the earliest” before we name our team for this opening League tie.
There’s plenty more besides, by the way, in this week’s Mayo News, including a preview of Saturday’s game by Billy Joe Padden (he reckons this match “is the biggest league game Mayo have played for years”) and a good in-depth interview by Edwin McGreal with Stephen Rochford. There’s also extensive coverage in the paper of last weekend’s club action.
The ref for Saturday evening’s match is Cork’s Conor Lane. We last crossed paths with him the day of the drawn All-Ireland final where, I felt, he gave us a fair enough shake on the day. Mind you, had he blown for Bastick’s pick up off the floor from Cluxton’s kick-out deep into stoppage time just after Cillian’s equaliser that day, a statue to him in the Mall would surely be in place by now. That, though, is another story.
Paddy Power are bullish about our chances for Saturday evening, installing us as firm 4/9 favourites to do the business. We haven’t had a poll in ages (and I’ve no idea what the poll thingy will look like with all the new formatting but I guess there’s only one way to find out) so time time to crank up the machine again. Here goes:
How will we get on against Monaghan?
- Win (79%, 416 Votes)
- Lose (17%, 88 Votes)
- Draw (5%, 25 Votes)
Total Voters: 529