Injury woes squeeze Mayo options for eagerly-awaited derby with Tribe

Mayo’s injury crisis is close to crippling point going into Sunday’s Connacht SFC quarter-final derby with Galway.

Jason Doherty has a slight tear on his Achilles ligament and has been ruled out of the trip to Pearse Stadium. Neither he nor Barry Moran are named in the 26-man panel.

While James Horan is able to name the same defence as that which started the 2012 All-Ireland final defeat to Donegal, just four of the total of eight midfielders and forwards from last September are able to start.

Aidan O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian O’Connor and Enda Varley are the quartet of survivors. Alan Dillon and Andy Moran are named on the bench but are believed to be nowhere close to match fit after missing out on the county’s entire league programme.

Doherty is expected to be on the sidelines for quite some time while Moran is expected to be out for at least a month.

Chris Barrett’s groin injury could keep him out for a number of months and a knee injury keeps Evan Regan out.

Cathal Carolan, who impressed for Mayo during the league, is chosen at left half-forward and is one of the team’s two Championship debutants with Darren Coen also making his first Championship start.

Asked recently if Mayo’s injuries had made them a stronger team, Horan said: “That’s probably why Mayo has been a Division 1 team for so long is because of the panel they have always had.

“I think this year we’ve one of the strongest panels that we’ve ever had. For every injury it’s an opportunity for someone.”

Galway have their own problems with captain Finian Hanley unavailable because of a shoulder injury. The county’s 2011 All-Ireland U21 captain Colin Forde takes his place at full-back.

Manus Breathnach is given his Championship debut in goal and in front of him Gary Sweeney and Gary Rice are chosen at left full and left half-back respectively. The team shows seven changes from the one that lost to Antrim in last year’s second round qualifier in Casement Park.

Niall Coleman takes the spot of Joe Bergin’s in midfield alongside this year’s U21 All-Ireland winning captain, Fiontán Ó Curraoin.

Thomas Flynn, who partnered Ó Curraoin in midfield against Cork earlier this month, is named in the half-forwards. The pair are the only players from Alan Flynn’s victorious team in Galway’s starting XV. Danny Cummins is in at left full-forward.

After a relatively injury-free spring, Michael Meehan is named at full-forward flanked by Cummins and Sean Armstrong. Gareth Bradshaw captains the team in Hanley’s stead.

MAYO (SF v Galway): D Clarke; K Keane, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; L Keegan, D Vaughan, C Boyle; A O’Shea, S O’Shea; K McLoughlin, C O’Connor, C Carolan; E Varley, A Freeman, D Coen.

Subs: K O’Malley, T Cunniffe, A Dillon, S McHale, M Walsh, J Burke, J Gibbons, R Feeney, A Murphy, A Moran, C O’Shea.

GALWAY (SF v Mayo): M Breathnach; J Duane, C Forde, G Sweeney; G Bradshaw, K Kelly, G Sice; N Coleman, F Ó Curraoin; T Flynn, P Conroy, C Doherty; S Armstrong, M Meehan, D Cummins.


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