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Sunday 4 December 2016

Mayo hoping '50-50' Donie Vaughan can make replay

Donie Vaughan
Donie Vaughan

MAYO won't be rushing into any team announcement for their Croke Park rematch with Dublin amid fresh hopes that Donie Vaughan could yet feature.

Initial suggestions that Vaughan's AC joint injury would almost certainly rule him out of Saturday's All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay have been tempered by more optimistic noises in Mayo.

"We will be looking to give Donie Vaughan every opportunity to declare his fitness for the game, so I'd say we will be probably leaving it (the team announcement) to Thursday night," revealed county board PRO Aiden McLoughlin.

"It's 50-50. We've had players who have come back within a week. The medical team are working hard with him, so we are going to give him every opportunity to be fit for it. He is not ruled out yet but he obviously is a doubt."

The powerhouse defender was an early casualty of Sunday's torrid semi-final stalemate, coming off the worst when he put in a huge shoulder on Jack McCaffrey.

The Ballinrobe defender tried to carry on before bowing to the inevitable with his tenth minute departure.

Joint-manager Noel Connelly was initially pessimistic about Vaughan's availability.

MEDICALLY

However, the player went for an MRI on Monday and, since then, the door has been left ajar with his shoulder due to be medically assessed again, possibly today.

The fact that no bones were broken has fuelled hopes of a speedy recovery while comparisons have been mad to the recent comeback of Kerry's James O'Donoghue after he 'popped' his shoulder against Kildare.

However, one key difference is that whereas the current Footballer of the Year had three weeks to get ready for Tyrone, Vaughan has a window of just six days.

Otherwise, Mayo are reporting a relatively clean bill of health. Tom Cunniffe didn't tog last Sunday, having failed to recover from the hamstring injury that forced his first half exit against Donegal - but with another week, he could come back into the reckoning.

David Clarke will definitely be fit and available for selection. The Ballina netminder also came off against Donegal, with an abductor muscle injury; he was named for the drawn semi-final only to be replaced by Rob Hennelly, but he was sub 'keeper on the day.

Elsewhere, Herald columnist Kevin McStay has been nominated for the vacant Roscommon manager's job.

The former Mayo forward and Sunday Game analyst has been nominated to succeed John Evans by the St Brigid's club, whom he led to All-Ireland club SFC glory in 2013.

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