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Mayo left in red following colour change

MAYO and Fermanagh have reached agreement on a colour change for Sunday's All-Ireland SFC semi-final. In past meetings the clash of similar green colours has been striking to the point where it has been distracting.

MAYO and Fermanagh have reached agreement on a colour change for Sunday's All-Ireland SFC semi-final.

In past league and championship meetings the clash of similar green colours in their respective shirts has been striking to the point where it has been distracting.

Last year's qualifier in Markievicz Park, Sligo, which booked Fermanagh a place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals, was played in an evening downpour which made distinction between the players almost impossible at times.

But both teams have agreed to switch from dominant green shirts to mostly red with green trimming in Mayo's case, while Fermanagh opted for a predominantly white shirt with less green.

The last time Mayo wore red in an All-Ireland semi-final was against Meath in 1988 when they lost by five points.

Meanwhile, Gary Ruane will take over as Mayo captain for Sunday's semi-final after the demotion of Fergal Costello, manager John Maughan has confirmed.

Fermanagh are not due to confirm their team until tonight but match winning hero against Armagh, Tom Brewster, is tipped to replace Ciarán O'Reilly from the start this time.

Brewster scored the last two Fermanagh points against Armagh and is quickly regaining fitness after a spell away in Australia and an injury he picked up on his return. Significantly, Mayo manager John Maughan is not oozing the same confidence he had before his side's wins over Galway and Tyrone.

In both cases he was able to eyeball a camera before throw-in and declare that his team "would win."

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But his mood this week has been tempered by the "enthusiasm and style" which Fermanagh have played with, particularly against Armagh.

"We've watched videos of them and they are a team that really knows how to give it a go.

"We were confident against Galway because we know their players so well and with Tyrone's style of play we devised a strategy we felt would work against them and it did. But these guys play terrific open football, they use space well and they have a lot of quality," admitted Maughan who managed Fermanagh for a year in 2001.

Stephen Maguire, Ryan McCuskey, Shane McDermott, Raymie Johnson and Martin McGrath were all part of Maughan teams while Barry Owens and Liam McBarron were on the periphery.

Maughan recalls how hard it was to persuade Owens, a promising under-21 player at the time, to link up with the squad.

The Mayo manager is also happy with the public mood in the county which has had the capacity to swell and rise too high in the past.

"It's a more balanced approach. I think the experiences of 1996 and '97 still stick in people's minds here. Thankfully no one is getting carried away."

Meanwhile, GAA president Seán Kelly will unveil a memorial to PN Fitzgerald in the graveyard where he now lies tomorrow night.

The late Fitzgerald, who died aged 54 in 1907 was a hugely influential figure in the early days of the GAA, and it was on his insistence that Michael Cusack set about founding the Association.

It was on his suggestion that a full-time paid secretary to the Central Council, now the role of director general, was appointed, and in fact Fitzgerald was head of the Fenian movement in Ireland. He was born in Midleton, Cork in 1853, was heavily involved in the affairs of the GAA, and by 1887 he was chairman.

For many years Fitzgerald's remains lay in an unmarked grave in Templenacarriga, near Lisgoold in Cork.

In an 'Our Games' article of 1966, renowned GAA historian Marcus De Burca wrote that it was to "to the shame of Rebel Cork the grave of this neglected Leeside patriot in Templenecarriga cemetery lies unmarked".

This will be rectified with the unveiling of a memorial while a book on his life, written by Tomas O'Riordan, will be launched by former GAA president Con Murphy tomorrow evening.

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