When he spoke to the press after the Galway game, James Horan may have been reflecting on defeat on the night under the Dome, but what he had to say about player availability for the forthcoming National League campaign was pretty positive.
Speaking with the Mayo News this week (paper and digital variants), the first bit of good news James confirmed was that long-term absentee Jason Doherty – who has done a double cruciate rehab since he last lined out for Mayo against Donegal in the Super 8s clash at MacHale Park in Augusut 2019 – is fully fit and ready to go. While he wasn’t able to get to Bekan for the Galway match on Friday night – on that, James stated “you know what’s happening around the world, so he just couldn’t be here” – he could well feature in the League opener against Donegal at the end of the month.
There’s positive news too about Cillian O’Connor who, according to the manager, is back training with the squad and “is making great progress.” James did, however, caution that Cillian has still a bit to go and that he “won’t be playing for the first couple of games.” All the same, the thought of having Cillian back in action for at least part of the League campaign has to count as a real bonus.
Aside from that, James confirmed that everyone else is expected to be fit and available for selection against Donegal. Some of the players have niggles and some are doing rehab but there are no serious injury concerns and the expectation is that we’ll head to Markievicz Park with “a strong group.”
Whether or not that group includes Oisín Mullin remains a matter of speculation. James was fairly tight-lipped when the question was put to him by Mike Finnerty on Friday night and all he said then was that “It’s a difficult situation and Oisín and his family deserve the time and space to work through it.”
Colm Keys has a piece on the issue in today’s Irish Independent (here) but this adds nothing to what’s known already. The bottom line is that it’s not clear what the situation is with the Kilmaine player but, given that pre-season training has now started Down Under, the position should be clarified soon, certainly before the League gets underway in a bit over a fortnight from now.