This week’s Mayo News (paper and digital versions) is reporting that four more players – Ger Cafferkey, Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan and Enda Varley – have been added to what is already a fairly long injury list. Ger and Lee both have hamstring trouble and the paper reckons both could be touch-and-go for the Kerry match on March 2nd. Colm Boyle went off at Healy Park with a shoulder injury – following a dunt from Peter Harte, a man who knows a thing or two about getting a shoulder from a Mayo player – but it sounds like he might be okay. Enda Varley, meanwhile, didn’t tog the last day due to a calf strain.
So it sounds as if those who feel we should be trying out other options at full-back – a wholly misguided proposition, in my humble opinion – might get their way against the Kerrymen. Careful what you wish for and all that.
In that report, by the way, James puts the number of players currently listed as “unavailable” at twenty. I’ve done a rummage round and I’ve managed to come up with a list that long too but mine includes the four players named above (all of whom might yet feature against Kerry) as well as the two Kiltane lads – Mikie Sweeney and John Reilly – who are now, with their Croke Park odyssey over, back in the frame for the Kerry match.
Apart from that six, there are the five Castlebar lads – Tom Cunniffe, Eoghan Reilly, Barry Moran, Richie Feeney and Tom King – whom we all hope will still be unavailable for the county team after this weekend’s All-Ireland semi-final. Then there are the eight others whom we know are out injured or recovering from surgery or whatever – David Clarke, Kenneth O’Malley, Chris Barrett, Donal Vaughan, Seamus O’Shea, Tom Parsons, Alan Dillon and Cillian O’Connor – and I guess Conor Loftus must fall into this category too, as he was mentioned in dispatches as a player who would get game time this year but hasn’t featured as yet. Add them all up and that’s your twenty.
Despite that long list of the (temporarily) fallen, that same piece in the Mayo News also states that Aghamore forward Cathal Freeman has been released from the panel, with the talented dual player instead joining the ranks of the county hurling squad for their spring campaign. That’s not an enormous surprise, in all honesty, because although Cathal started in a few league matches last year his injuries since then as well as the emergence of players like Cathal Carolan, the two Gallaghers and Diarmuid O’Connor have knocked him back a bit on the grid for now. He’s still very young, though, so there’s plenty of time for him to force his way back into the reckoning again.