Wednesday 21 August 2019

James Horan rolls the dice again with four changes to Mayo line-up but still no place for Cillian O’Connor

Mayo manager James Horan. Photo: Sportsfile
Mayo manager James Horan. Photo: Sportsfile

Frank Roche

JAMES HORAN continues to shake up his Mayo team with four more changes for tomorrow evening’s All-Ireland SFC qualifier at home to Armagh – but there’s still no sign of Cillian O’Connor in the starting line-up.

The Mayo boss had previously made five alterations, from the team that fell to Roscommon in Connacht, for last weekend’s initial ‘back door’ foray to Down.

Even after that action-packed five-point victory, Horan has ripped up the script again with call-ups for Michael Plunkett, the fit-again Donal Vaughan, Fergal Boland and Mikey Murray.

Murray, the Ballina Stephenites clubman who came off the bench just beyond the hour in Newry, will be making his first championship start. He is named at wing-forward, although speculation earlier in the week suggested he could feature at midfield.

The quartet losing out – bar any further 11th hour changes – are Colm Boyle, injured skipper Diarmuid O’Connor, Jason Doherty and Darren Coen. O’Connor could miss the rest of Mayo’s campaign, even if it stretches into the Super 8s, after fracturing his wrist in training on Tuesday night.

There is still no sign of his older brother, former captain Cillian O’Connor, who has yet to play a minute of competitive county football this year after undergoing knee surgery last December. 

O’Connor was not part of the match-day squad against Down but Horan later suggested he was getting “very close”. With no subs list announced, it remains to be seen if he’ll make the 26-man panel for tomorrow’s 7pm showdown at Elvery’s MacHale Park. 

MAYO (SFC v Armagh): D Clarke; C Barrett, B Harrison, K Higgins; L Keegan, M Plunkett, P Durcan; D Vaughan, A O’Shea; F McDonagh, C Loftus, M Murray; K McLoughlin, A Moran, F Boland.

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