As has already been mentioned in the comments, five players who were involved in the county senior panel at the start of the year have, in the vernacular, been released back to their clubs. The Mayo News (paper and digital editions) reports today that Cathal Carolan (Crossmolina), David Kenny (Aghamore), Cian Costello and James Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels) as well as Gareth O’Donnell (Charlestown) have all been released, for now, from inter-county duties.
All of the five aside from Gareth O’Donnell saw action for us in this year’s FBD League campaign. The unfortunate Charlestown midfielder got injured just at the time he was called up and so never got to line out in pre-season. Hopefully his chance will come again, as it surely will too for at least some of the others.
It’s not easy to see lads being let go but given the fluidity in the squad at the present time – with a number of last year’s all-conquering U21s straining at the leash to get combat experience at senior level – it’s inevitable that there’s going to be a bit of coming and going. Indeed, that Mayo News report states that another group of players will be released from the squad over the coming weeks, as Stephen Rochford continues to shape his forces for the remainder of the League and with an eye to the summer’s action up ahead.
As night follows day, people are going to hear rumours (some of which undoubtedly will be true) about the names of those set to be let go. I know of one myself whom, I’m told, has already gone (and I see someone has now attempted to post this news in the comments as well). Long-standing readers here will know, though, that it’s not kosher to go naming names in the site’s comments section before any departures are confirmed officially so I’d appeal with everyone to abide by this house rule.
The flipside of players being released is that others are ready to come back. Both the Mayo News today and yesterday’s Western People report that our early year injury crisis (if such a term is warranted – on balance, I wouldn’t say it is) is abating. Names in the frame who could well be available for selection against Roscommon on Saturday week include Caolan Crowe, Brendan Harrison, Jason Gibbons, Conor Loftus and Aidan O’Shea.
The Western also reported yesterday that Stephen Rochford is hopeful to be able to call on both club-tied duo Kevin Keane and Lee Keegan for the Rossie match. I’d say we could well see Lee line out from the start in that one, as Stephen will surely want to see the current Footballer of the Year stretch his legs with the county side for the first time this year before we face Dublin at Croke Park the week after.