Johnno is interviewed in today’s Indo where he says he’ll gratefully accept any of the county panellists from Ballina who are willing to make themselves available for Saturday evening’s league clash away to Laois. David Clarke will almost certainly return between the sticks and others such as Ger Cafferkey, Pat Harte or even David Brady could play some part in the match at O’Moore Park this weekend. Ronan McGarritty looked to be some way from full fitness the last day against Nemo but it’s also possible that he’ll get tossed into the action at some stage.
The Deputy is remaining fairly phlegmatic about Mayo’s league predicament and makes the very valid point that all sides in the Division are capable of taking points off each other but he obviously wants us to start racking up a few points all the same. You can see that he’s still more than a bit annoyed about that last-minute loss to Donegal, noting wryly that “we had the game done and dusted with three minutes of injury-time announced, and their goal didn’t come until the fourth minute, but that’s a referee’s decision, you can do nothing about”. Let it go, Johnno, let it go: he’s not worth it. (Apropos the ref: PJ informs me that it was, in fact, Michael Duffy not Martin Duffy who reffed the Donegal game. He’s Marty’s brother, apparently, but he’s still a bollix).
In terms of early team news, BJ apparently damaged his ankle in training last week and both Seamus O’Shea and Conor Mortimor picked up knocks in the Donegal game (Mort got absolutely poleaxed when two Donegal defenders took him out in the second half so that was probably when he picked up his. O’Shea was apparently injured early on). I would have expected Tom Parsons to start ahead of O’Shea in midfield in any case and you could argue (this is another of PJ’s specials, which follows on from my post last week about Mort’s scoring record) that it would make sense to rest the blonde bombshell as (a) he’s got nothing to prove and (b) it might prompt the other forwards to take their scoring responsibilities a bit more seriously.
He’s got a point, you know, but I can’t see it happening, due to the obvious desire to get off the mark in the league. Personally, I don’t give a hoot about the league and, as I’ve said before, relegation is a price well worth paying if it helps us to build a better championship team than last year’s.
Laois are, of course, in the same position as ourselves and so will be equally keen to secure their first win of the campaign. They’ve also got a score to settle with us from the 2006 championship, where it took us two games to get past them in that year’s quarter-finals and then only by the skin of our teeth. It’s no surprise, then, that moves are afoot to entice Joe Kelly, Tom Higgins and Chris Conway back into the fold, possibly in time for Saturday night’s match. They’re all experienced campaigners and Laois will be a far tougher proposition for us if this trio are back in their ranks. Of the three, it seems as if Higgins is the most likely one to return to the panel but he may not do so in time for the game with us. What’s your hurry, Tom? It’s only the league!