Wednesday 22 November 2017

Mayo opt to freshen approach for Sligo

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

MAYO manager John O'Mahony has gone with new blood for Saturday's Connacht SFC clash with Sligo by handing championship debuts to four players.

Chris Barrett, Seamus O'Shea, Alan Freeman and Enda Varley will all make their championship bows for the visit to Markievicz Park with O'Mahony making a total of five changes from the side that surrendered so meekly to Cork in the NFL Division 1 final.

Keith Higgins returns to left corner-back in place of Liam O'Malley while Tom Cunniffe comes in at centre-half back in place of Trevor Howley. Ronan McGarrity comes in for the injured Alan Dillon, with Seamus O'Shea moving from midfield to centre-half forward to fill Dillon's No 11 jersey. Aidan O'Shea and Mark Ronaldson lose out in the full forward line with Freeman and Varley given the nod.

Meanwhile, Kilkenny have been dealt a blow with the news that James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick will miss their Leinster SHC opener on June 20. He will miss the clash with either Dublin or Laois with a hamstring strain that could keep him out for up to a month.

Fitzpatrick was forced out of a club game against Clara after less than 10 minutes' play over the weekend and it is unclear whether he would be fit for the Leinster final on July 4, should Brian Cody's team make it that far.

Elsewhere, Stephen Lucey will return to action for the Limerick footballers on Sunday in the Munster SFC against Waterford in Dungarvan after overcoming long-term injury.

Conor Mullane is confined to the bench with injury, so Johnny McCarthy returns at full-back while goalkeeper Brian Scanlon makes his championship debut.

Limerick (SF v Waterford) -- B Scanlon; M O'Riordan, J McCarthy, A Lane; S Lavin, S Lucey, P Ranahan; J Galvin, M O'Riordan; P Browne, J Ryan, S Buckley (capt); G Collins, I Ryan, S Kelly.

Mayo (SF v Sligo ) - D Clarke; C Barrett, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; D Vaughan, T Cunniffe, K McLoughlin; T Parsons, R McGarrity; A Moran, S O'Shea, T Mortimer (capt); C Mortimer, A Freeman, E Varley.

Irish Independent

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