Sunday 24 September 2017

Mayo sweat as Higgins awaits cruciate scan

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

MAYO manager John O'Mahony is hopeful about the outcome of an MRI scan on Keith Higgins' knee today.

Higgins suffered the injury in the 44th minute of Mayo's clash with Monaghan at McHale Park on Sunday.

The corner-back would be a big loss to Mayo as they prepare to make a push to clinch a place in the NFL Division 1 final when they play Cork away on the weekend after next, but yesterday the word was that the injury is not as bad as it first seemed.

O'Mahony was cautiously optimistic.

"Until you get a scan and it's cleared, you never know," said O'Mahony. "For once, a lot of the other guys are coming back from injury and are nearly there, so I hope Keith isn't long-term. We'll have to get a scan to be sure."

Dual player Higgins played Division 3A hurling for Mayo the previous day, scoring six points in his county's defeat against London at Castlebar.

Although a very fit player, it was always going to be a tough ask to play two inter-county matches on gruelling pitches at this time of the year.

Alan Dillon, who was substituted when he received a knock on the ankle he injured the previous week, is likely to be available for the Cork match .

"Alan might have been able to run it off, but the fact that it happened last week as well, we didn't want to take any chances. We have a fair few options at the minute," said O'Mahony.

Like Tyrone supremo Mickey Harte, O'Mahony had been taken by surprise over the rules deciding the issues about final places and relegation in the top flight.

"We'll have to check the small print to see that that was told in advance of the League. I only heard about it during the week.

"The only thing within our control is to do something in Cork, and we'll focus everything on that.

"As I have been saying all along, we'll tot up the points at the end of the day and deal with whatever rules are there and see where that takes us," said O'Mahony.

Meanwhile Mayo wing-back Donal Vaughan, scorer of the vital first half goal that gave his team a lifeline, stood up for team-mate Aidan O'Shea, who got another crucial goal in the second half against Monaghan.

Vaughan (21), who got the man of the match award, said: "I know Aidan's been getting a lot of criticism lately but I never had any doubts.

"He had a massive year last year, and coming off it, there was a lot of expectations on him, which wasn't fair for a young lad.

"He's only 19. I knew he'd come good. He's a fantastic player so hopefully that goal will give him confidence to drive on for the rest of the year."

Irish Independent

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