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Poacher: Will Mayo play a full team on Sunday?

Steven Poacher outlines why he thinks Kevin McStay should not play a full team for Mayo’s Division 1 final with Galway

Kevin McStay Mayo

Mayo face Galway in Sunday’s Allianz Football League Division 1 final. But Kevin McStay will know that win or lose, they have a seven-day turnaround to their crunch Connacht SFC quarter-final meeting with Roscommon.

With the western province’s ‘big three’ all on the same side of the draw, it will be a battle royale to reach the Nestor Cup decider in the coming weeks.

And with performances in the provincial championships deciding seedings for the new All-Ireland group stages, it could be crucial for Mayo to progress in Connacht.

Steven Poacher therefore feels that McStay should not play a full team at Croker this weekend.

“If you win the league, you win the league,” he said on Our Game, in conversation with Enda Varley.

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“The league finals, with the new format of the ‘Super 16s’ if you want to call it that and the provincials, I think the league finals is getting in the way for a lot of teams. There’s Kerry away on a training camp, and they have four weeks. Whereas Mayo…Will Mayo play a full team on Sunday? I know you think they will.

“You’re risking [injuries ahead of the championship]. Imagine Ryan O’Donoghue – I don’t want to wish it on anybody – imagine he got injured, imagine he pulled his hamstring on Sunday. That’s Mayo’s championship in jeapordy.

“I was looking at this earlier. If you don’t get to the final of Connacht, you could end up as third seeds in the group with Dublin or Kerry, or possibly the Ulster champions. So you imagine, say Mayo beat Roscommon but lose to Galway, Mayo could find themselves in a group with Kerry, Derry and AN Other. All of a sudden, it looks a different scenario.”

Varley disagreed, however, stressing that his former team have significant depth this season.

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“I think they can handle a few injuries,” he opined. “I don’t know what Cillian O’Connor’s story is. If Ryan O’Donoghue did go down, Tommy Conroy is there. There is good strength and depth. It is still a national title. It’s not the end of the world if they don’t win the provincial.”

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