Monday 19 February 2018

Rochford's positive comments will have Mayo fans counting down the days until All Ireland final against Dubs

Diarmuid O’Connor of Mayo (right) in action against Cathal McNally of Kildare
Diarmuid O’Connor of Mayo (right) in action against Cathal McNally of Kildare

Donnchadh Boyle and Michael Verney

Mayo boss Stephen Rochford believes his squad are in peak condition as he declared all 33 members of his extended panel fully fit ahead of their All-Ireland final clash with Dublin.

Speaking at their pre-final briefing last night, Rochford confirmed that Diarmuid O'Connor, who had carried a knock earlier in the year, suffered no ill effects after playing in the semi-final win over Tipperary.

"Diarmuid is alive and well," he revealed. "We've trained three times since the Tipperary game and he's been in all those sessions as has everyone else. We have 33 fit guys at this moment in time.

"We got back training a little bit later than we would have liked and later than what other teams were doing so we were probably playing bit of catch up. But thankfully this is the right time to have everyone available."

Rochford watched Dublin see off Kerry last Sunday and was "impressed" by the reigning All-Ireland champions.

"A team that is undefeated in 27 games between league and championship in two seasons . . . that level of consistency was evident again in how they came back from the five-point deficit and it was more evidence of the quality and threats they have," he said.

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile

Cork referee Conor Lane will be the man in the middle for September 18 decider in his first All-Ireland senior final at inter-county level.

Laois' Maurice Deegan will be the stand-by referee while Down's Ciaran Branagan has been appointed for the minor decider between Kerry and Galway.

Meanwhile, the managerial merry-go-round keeps turning, with ex-Tipp All-Ireland winner Colm Bonnar named as the new Carlow senior hurling boss, replacing Pat English.

The former Wexford supremo has an impressive CV, having enjoyed Fitzgibbon Cup success Waterford IT while also guiding Ballyhale Shamrocks to All-Ireland club success in 2015.

Turlough O'Brien remains in charge of the Carlow footballers, while John O'Mahony could be poised for a surprise inter-county return as part of Leitrim's coaching team in 2017.

The position is far from clear in Wexford, however, with 10 interested candidates for the football job while there are 19 parties vying for the hurling post, with Liam Dunne facing stiff opposition to remain at the helm.

Elsewhere, recently-retired Offaly hurler Brian Carroll has been appointed as the county's director of hurling coaching for the next five years, which includes overseeing coaching and providing mentorship to Offaly Hurling Academy coaches extending to clubs and schools as well as development squads.

Read more here:

Irish Independent

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