Saturday 15 December 2018

Keith Higgins' return for Mayo footballers still on ice while Diarmuid Connolly remains on missing list

Keith Higgins. Photo: Sportsfile
Keith Higgins. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Keith Higgins will not be making a swift return to the Mayo footballers this weekend for their Allianz Football League Division 1 match with Donegal.

Higgins has spent recent months immersed in the Mayo hurling team and that reaped dividends in Cavan last weekend when they beat Down to claim the Allianz Division 2B league title.

But any hope that he would quickly turn around and put his shoulder to the wheel to avoid relegation appears to have evaporated.

Higgins' continued absence from the Mayo squad has prompted some speculation about his football future but there is strong optimism that he will return in the coming weeks ahead of their May 13 Connacht quarter-final clash with Galway.

Definitely out of that match is Lee Keegan who, scans have confirmed, has a dislocated shoulder after a heavy challenge from Tyrone's Padraig McNulty last weekend.

Keegan will have surgery in the coming days to repair the damage and could be out of action for up to 10 weeks, putting him in jeopardy for Mayo's next game after Galway, whether that's a Connacht semi-final or a first-round qualifier.

With Cillian O'Connor ruled out for this weekend because of a hamstring injury picked up against Tyrone, the pressure has been compounded on Mayo but O'Connor should still be ready for the Galway game.

Dublin won't have Paul Mannion back for their Allianz Division 1 league final with Galway next week as he continues to recover from a grade two hamstring tear sustained in their win over Mayo in Castlebar.

Dublin have been hit hard with long-term injuries with Cian O'Sullivan (dislocated shoulder) and Bernard Brogan (cruciate) joining Jack McCaffrey (cruciate) on the absent list.

Diarmuid Connolly is also on the missing list as he is not currently involved with Dublin, though manager Jim Gavin has said he is being "rested".

However, Connolly's future with Dublin is now looking increasingly uncertain.

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