» Preview: MAYO vs SLIGO (Connacht Football Championship)

19 May

Preview: MAYO vs SLIGO (Connacht Football Championship)

Posted by Darren Kelly in Match Previews / Reports,News | May 2017

MAYO vs SLIGO (2pm MacHale Park)

Whether that’s the way they actually line out, the team announcements ahead of this quarter-final have gotten tongues wagging.

Aidan O’Shea has been left off the Mayo side as they aim to reclaim the Connacht title they lost in 2016. O’Shea suffered an ankle injury playing basketball in January and didn’t start in the league. But he was expected to play after scoring 3-4 against the Yeats men in the 2015 Connacht final.

That was a red-letter day for the visitors and they have made tremendous strides since losing 6-25 to 2-11. Niall Carew’s charges already have a win with Kyle Cawley’s goal and 10 points between Mark Breheny and Adrian Marren helping them to a 1-21 to 1-13 win in New York two weeks earlier.

Sligo name the same outfit that travelled stateside meaning no place for Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch, Kevin McDonnell or hamstring victim Niall Murphy. Breheny is one of four starters who won the county’s 2007 provincial title along Charlie Harrison, Ross Donovan and Brendan Egan in defence.

The 2016 All-Ireland finalists were 14 Connacht games unbeaten before their 2016 semi-final loss to Galway and their previous defeat being to Sligo in the 2010 quarter-final. But Sligo haven’t come out of Castlebar with a championship victory since winning the 1975 final after a replay.

Mayo welcome back defender Ger Cafferkey after 14 months but All-Star Brendan Harrison is injured. David Clarke in goal; Keith Higgins and Paddy Durcan in defence; midfielder Tom Parsons; and attackers Cillian O’Connor, Andy Moran and Kevin McLoughlin will be Mayo’s key men.

Sligo will look to keeper Aidan Devaney; defenders Eoin McHugh and Keelan Cawley; Adrian McIntyre in midfield; and Kyle Cawley, Marren and Breheny up front as they attempt to produce a shock.

Mayo are 1/14 favourites, Sligo 8/1 with the draw 20/1. There won’t be 26 points between them at the final whistle but Stephen Rochford’s team are genuine All-Ireland contenders even if off field matters seem to generate headlines.

Verdict: Mayo

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