Although Noel Connelly reported a clean bill of health within the squad at the press night last week, it appears that Kevin Keane got a knock in the A v B game on Sunday and so is doubtful for the final. The Connaught Telegraph broke this unwelcome news yesterday evening (here) and the Mayo News (paper and digital versions) confirms today that it’s a knock to Kevin’s ankle that’s the problem.
If Kevin isn’t fit to start – though Mike Connelly says in that Connaught Telegraph piece that he may yet be okay to line out – then Ger Cafferkey is the obvious replacement for him at full-back. The team is expected to be named on Thursday and it’s doubtful there’ll be much change from the starting fifteen in Salthill. The Mayo News also reports today that Diarmuid O’Connor is likely to be okay to start on Sunday, with Michael Conroy and Evan Regan both back to full fitness as well, though it’s a place on the match-day 26 rather than the starting fifteen they’ll be pushing for. Stephen Coen is unlikely to be togged on Sunday due to knee ligament trouble.
As you’d expect, there’s loads of stuff in this week’s Mayo News to get your teeth into ahead of Sunday, with the usual big game supplement. Seán Rice has both an analysis piece – revealing the surprising statistic that only two of Sligo’s 2015 team were around when we last lost to them in the championship while we have eight survivors from that 2010 meeting – and one reminiscing on the 1975 decider. Billy Joe Padden and Edwin McGreal concentrate on the defensive side of things in their respective analysis pieces, where Ed presents some stark figures on goals scored and conceded at provincial and All-Ireland level over the past three years, noting that our goals for/against ratio is 20:1 in Connacht but 14:13 when we hit Croke Park (and Limerick).
There’s plenty more to wade through apart from that in this week’s paper and the Mayo News pre-match podcast is due to go online a bit later too so watch out for that as well.