Mayo sweating on key players for London battle

Some of Mayo’s biggest names face a race against time to be fit for Sunday’s Connacht SFC quarter-final against London in Ruislip.

Young Footballer of the Year Diarmuid O’Connor, Chris Barrett, and All-Ireland U21 winner Brian Reape have already been ruled out due to hamstring problems.

Former All Star full-back Ger Cafferkey and Barry Moran are also rated as “doubtful” due to injuries while Seamus O’Shea, Andy Moran, and Tom Parsons are hoping to be declared match fit by Mayo’s medical team later this week.

Alan Dillon, who is preparing for his 14th championship season with the Westerners, is also believed to have picked up a knock in training last week.

He was due to be assessed at Mayo’s final training session last night.

The Mayo squad, backroom team and county board officials fly out from Ireland West Airport Knock on Saturday at lunchtime.

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford is adamant his team will give their first championship game of the summer the respect it deserves.

“People that aren’t invested within the group may have a different agenda for the weekend in London, it might be a social thing with the game thrown in. That’s not what this group is about,” he said.

“A lot of this group have played in London before, they understand the 2011 match, and they will see what New York brought to the table against Roscommon.

“What we need to be very mindful about is that New York didn’t play a game for 12 months.

“London played seven rounds of the National League, they’re a lot more developed group, I’m aware that they’ll have played three top quality challenge games by the time we’ve played them.

“Knowing those facts alone offers you a sense of reality that this isn’t anything other than a serious fixture for us.

“We need to respect that and deliver a performance that’s respectful of that. Plain and simple.”

London took Mayo to extra-time in this corresponding fixture five years ago, but Rochford’s team have been installed as 1/100 favourites to book their place in the semi-final against Galway at MacHale Park, Castlebar on Saturday, June 18.

Mayo are staying on in London for a training camp next week before returning home on Friday evening.

“If we’ve got the result there’ll be a fixture two weeks after that, and we’ll be using that camp to give us a springboard into our next fixture in the championship,” explained Rochford.


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