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Mayo still in dark over glamour NFL opener

MAYO will know in the next 48 hours whether or not they can start their National League campaign with a crowd-pulling Saturday night opener against arch-rivals Galway in Castlebar.

The all-Connacht NFL glamour tie is in doubt because a planning appeal may not allow Mayo to flick the switch for their floodlights.

Castlebar Town Council's decision to grant retention planning permission for the development has been appealed to An Bord Pleanala by the McHale Road Residents Association.

It's believed that the lights can't be turned on while this appeal is in train -- it could go on until April -- and Mayo County Board have sought clarification on the matter.

Mayo secretary Sean Feeney said yesterday that they are awaiting critical feedback from their own legal team and the local Urban Council and said "we will know the situation within the next day or two."

The game is one of only four games on the opening night of the NFL on February 6 and one of only two in Division 1, along with Derry's hosting of Tyrone.

The Castlebar venue has undergone a €10m redevelopment and this encounter is due to be its first inter-county game taking place under lights and is also scheduled to be broadcast live by Setanta Sports.

Mayo officials are prepared to move it to the Sunday, if necessary, but the novelty of having a historic Saturday night opener would be an even greater draw for the county.

Meanwhile, county manager John O'Mahony has just re-appointed Trevor Mortimer (Shrule-Glencorrib) as county senior captain for 2010 and Peadar Gardiner as his team's vice-captain.

After last weekend's postponement, Mayo will open their season against NUIG in the FBD League in Garrymore this Sunday (2.0).

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