Wednesday 21 August 2019

O'Connor returns to spearhead Mayo attack in Connacht derby


Cillian O'Connor. Photo: Sportsfile
Cillian O'Connor. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Cillian O'Connor will make his first competitive start of the season in Mayo's summer-defining All-Ireland SFC Round 4 Qualifier showdown with Connacht rivals Galway at the LIT Gaelic Grounds this evening (7.0).

The former skipper, and Mayo's all-time record scorer, has been hampered by a serious knee injury this season but is trusted to spearhead their attack having come off the bench to good effect in last week's defeat of Armagh.

Aidan O'Shea is named in the engine room but worries persist about the Breaffy powerhouse's fitness when it emerged that he was wearing a protective boot on his right foot following their defeat of the Orchard men.

Mayo boss James Horan has selected O'Shea but he is without former Footballer of the Year Lee Keegan after the Westport flyer was ruled out as expected due to an ankle injury picked up last weekend. The Mayo injury crisis means that O'Shea has yet another new midfield partner with Stephen Coen recalled, while Michael Plunkett and Kevin McLoughlin have also earned starting jerseys.

The injured Keegan, Mikey Murray, Conor Loftus and another former Footballer for the Year Andy Moran lose on a weekend when the final pairings for the 'Super 8s' will be revealed.

The winners of Galway/Mayo, as well as tomorrow's clash between Meath and Clare in Portlaoise (2.0), will join Munster champions Kerry and Ulster kingpins Donegal in Group One of the Super 8s.

The second quartet will be made up of five-in-a-row-chasing Dublin, Connacht champions Roscommon, and the victors of today's all-Ulster tie between Cavan and Tyrone (Clones 5.0) and the winners of beaten Munster finalists Cork and Laois in Semple Stadium tonight (5.0).

Meanwhile, Shane Kingston and Conor Lehane are among five Cork changes for their preliminary All-Ireland SHC quarter-final against Westmeath tomorrow in Mullingar (3.0).

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Elsewhere, the HSE are investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis due to "possible issues" with a private water supply at last weekend's camogie senior double-header in Croagh GAA involving Limerick, Kerry and Wexford teams. Fixtures between the trio are postponed until the matter is rectified.

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