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O'Mahony issues Ballina rallying cry

MAYO boss John O'Mahony will ask Ballina's players to swallow their All-Ireland club semi-final disappointment quickly and throw themselves behind the county cause this weekend.

Saturday's away game to Laois marks a make-or-break encounter for both sides as they are the only two Division 1 teams who have to date failed to register a win in the league.

"Obviously I won't know until later in the week how the Ballina lads are fixed but I will be looking for any of them that I can get," said O'Mahony after the 'Stephenites' heavy loss to Nemo Rangers last Sunday.

Yet O'Mahony insisted that a third consecutive NFL defeat in this bottom-of-the-table clash would not completely doom Mayo to relegation.

"As we've seen already, everybody in this group is capable of taking points off other teams so you never know how it's going to end up, but it is important for us to get off the mark and unfortunately Laois will be feeling the same way."

"We've actually had good performances in our first two games but got nothing from them," O'Mahony continued.

"We were especially unlucky the last day against Donegal. We had the game done and dusted with three minutes of injury-time announced, and their goal didn't come until the fourth minute, but that's a referee's decision, you can do nothing about."

Mayo could certainly do with the likes of Ronan McGarrity, Pat Harte and company back for this tough match in Portlaoise as the county already has several injury worries.

Billy Joe Padden damaged his ankle in training last Thursday and both Conor Mortimer and Seamus O'Shea picked up injuries in the Donegal match.

If Padden does make it O'Mahony will be persisting with is his experiment of playing the Belmullet six-footer at full-back. "He has played at centre-back before and played in defence for his club so I had no worries about putting him there and will stick with it.

"It's a tough league for us in that it is a very strong division, we're blooding a lot of new players and, on top of everything, we have four away games. We still have to go to Tyrone and Kildare and there's definitely no easy game in our group so the sooner we can get some points on the board the better."

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