We’ve a small bit of breathing space at the minute, with our NFL Division One Round 4 match against Dublin not taking place until Saturday week. I’m doing a more considered piece on where I think we’re at after the first three rounds of the League – that’ll be online tomorrow – but first it’s worth having a quick run-through on where we stand in relation to playing personnel.
Over the first three League matches we’ve used a total of 27 players. Of these, a hard-score of six – Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Paddy Durcan, Diarmuid O’Connor, Aidan O’Shea and Jason Doherty – have started in all three matches. Six more – Donal Vaughan, Brian Reape, Andy Moran, Stephen Coen, Fionn McDonagh and James McCormack – have seen action in all three games.
Seven lads – Brian Reape, Fionn McDonagh, Conor Diskin, Ciaran Treacy, Michael Plunkett, Matthew Ruane and Colm Moran – have all been handed full League debuts so far this spring. James McCormack, another newbie, has made three appearances off the bench.
Players from last year who have yet to feature in the League in 2019 include Seamus O’Shea and Conor Loftus (who both got runs out in the FBD) as well as Chris Barrett. Interestingly, all three were added to the match-day 26 just prior to throw-in on Saturday night, replacing David Drake, Fergal Boland and Darren Coen.
Other players who featured for us in the pre-season FBD games but have yet to see any action in the League this year are Caolan Crowe, James Kelly, Ben Doyle, Oisin McLaughlin and Conor O’Shea.
Others are still recovering from injuries and medical procedures, with Cillian O’Connor, Cian Hanley, James Durcan and long-term absentee Tom Parsons all falling into this category. Last year’s U20 captain, Ryan O’Donoghue, who has yet to feature for us at senior inter-county level, is also recuperating from surgery at the moment.
James mentioned a few of the injured cohort in his post-match comments on Saturday night, noting that they’re all making good progress but giving no clear timeframe on when they might be fit to play. All he said in that regard was that he expected them back “in the next couple of months.”
One area where we’ve been lucky this year – so far at least – is on the injury front. Some years it goes like this: in 2017, for example, we were blessed with an injury-free run right through the Championship whereas last year we suffered one injury blow after another.
We lost Evan Regan – a player who has had no luck whatsoever with injuries over the last number of years – late on the last night. The Mayo News yesterday (paper and digital variants) quotes James speculating after the game that Evan’s AC joint “could have gone.” (Primer on AC injuries here). If so, it’s very likely that, sadly, his League campaign is now over.
Aside from Evan, though, and those other players on the road to recovery, we’ve a full squad as we head into the next few League matches. It’s just as well, as these are all set to be tough tests for James Horan’s rejuvenated Mayo team.