Kelly returns for Sligo

Corner forward David Kelly has been passed fit for Sligo's Connacht SFC first round clash with Mayo at Markievicz Park on Saturday (throw-in 5pm).

Corner forward David Kelly has been passed fit for Sligo's Connacht SFC first round clash with Mayo at Markievicz Park on Saturday (throw-in 5pm).

Kelly recently aggravated the ankle injury he sustained in Sligo's NFL Division 3 final win over Antrim, but has made a quick recovery and is reportedly in 'flying form' in training.

However, a hamstring problem has sidelined defender Mark Quinn, prompting one of the two changes Sligo manager Kevin Walsh has made to his league final team.

Brendan Phillips takes over from Quinn at centre back, while Championship veteran Eamonn O'Hara, who was an impact substitute against Antrim, has been included at left half-forward.

O'Hara made his Championship debut for Sligo against Mayo way back in 1994 and has edged out Francis Quinn for a starting berth this time around.

The 34-year-old Tourlestrane clubman has often been Sligo's main inspiration, and indeed he proved the spark in midfield for the Yeats men's last Championship win over Mayo in 2000 (1-13 to 1-10).

There is an intriguing subplot to Saturday's game as Sligo boss Walsh tries to put one over on his former Galway manager John O'Mahony, who is in his second spell as manager of his native county Mayo.

Walsh won two All-Ireland medals under O'Mahony in 1998 and 2001.

Former Mayo squad member Alan Costello will also be keen to impress as Sligo's centre-forward.

Walsh told the Sligo Weekender: "The fact that myself and John are the managers...will have no bearing whatsoever. It is not going to be the case that just because I had John as a manager for seven years that I will know exactly what he is going to do, because I don't.

"He has different players in Mayo now compared to what he had (with Galway) when he was my manager. We have our own side of things to worry about.

"With Alan Costello being from Mayo, these are all things that the media can pick out and make hay with. It is not an issue for us or the player bar what you want to let seep into your head.

"Alan has a job to do for Sligo and he knows that, which is the way it is going to be."

As for expectation levels within his adopted county, the Sligo supremo added: "People should be careful how they look at it but, at the same time, it is great to be able to take that bit of confidence forward from the National League win, but still you must be realistic about the job in hand.

"Some people look at history, the winning habit and that kind of stuff - do you respect a team too much to try to beat them?

"We are working with the panel for the last 18 months and that is something we are trying to get out of the players' system. No one has the divine right to beat anybody if the work is done and you go into the game properly. People need to start believing that."

Mayo are odds-on favourites to beat Sligo and progress to a semi-final showdown with Galway on June 27, especially given their Division 1 placing and the counties' recent history.

Mayo have won four of their last five Connacht SFC encounters with Sligo - 1997, 2001, 2003 and 2008.

SLIGO (SFC v Mayo): P Greene; C Harrison (capt), N McGuire, R Donovan; K Cawley, B Phillips, J Davey; T Taylor, S Gilmartin; M Breheny, A Costello, E O'Hara; C McGee, K Sweeney, D Kelly.

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