Saturday 24 August 2019

Clashes with the Dubs will be set aside - Keegan

Lee Keegan
Lee Keegan
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Lee Keegan insists that the Dublin and Mayo footballers will put their differences behind them as they look forward to next week's international rules test.

Keegan is one of two Mayo players on the 23-man squad named yesterday while All-Ireland champions Dublin have five but within that there is the dynamic of some sparky personal battles that erupted during this year's All-Ireland semi-final and replay.

Diarmuid Connolly was red-carded - his one-match suspension was subsequently and controversially set aside by the Disputes Resolution Authority - after an incident with Keegan at the end of the drawn game while Aidan O'Shea claimed he was head-butted during the same game, forcing Philly McMahon to deny the allegation.

O'Shea and McMahon are also included by manager Joe Kernan but Keegan is adamant there will be no apprehension as preparations intensify for the visit of the Australians at a weekend base in Carton House.

"We played with them (Dublin players) last year and the year before, some of them would be good friends of mine anyway. What we do on the pitch during the year is totally separate to what we are doing here with Ireland," he said.

"There are no problems. We're both adults at this stage," he said in relation to himself and Connolly.

"There is always a bit of awkwardness between players, not even from a Mayo/Dublin point of view but you can be quite nervous coming into an environment you're not used to."

Keegan has been able to use the preparations for international rules duty for a touch of escapism from the fall-out over the departure of joint-managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly after a loss of confidence in them by a majority of players.

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"Obviously there's a lot going on and thankfully I'm up here most weeks so it's been a great distraction," he said. "Things have quietened down but this (international rules) has been my sole focus for the last few weeks."

Keegan was named locally in Mayo as one of the seven players who wasn't in favour of change and admits he had a detached role in what was going on.

"Whatever happened, happened. I left that to itself because I was brought in here straight away. I tried to stay away from that as much as possible. I'll deal with that when I go back (to Mayo) in December."

When he does return to county colours Cillian O'Connor will be absent as he has undergone surgery for a knee injury that forced him out of action for 11 weeks earlier in the season. O'Connor is now set to miss Mayo's entire Division One campaign.

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