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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Keegan on the mend for back door bid

Lee Keegan of Mayo celebrates his goal in last year's All Ireland final against Dublin
Lee Keegan of Mayo celebrates his goal in last year's All Ireland final against Dublin

Lee Keegan is expected to make his return from injury for Mayo in their round 1 qualifier match against Limerick in two week's time.

The 2016 Footballer of the Year has been out since mid-March, when he suffered a shoulder dislocation in Mayo's League defeat to Tyrone in a collision with Pádraig McNulty.

McNulty was sent off for his part in the incident while Keegan was forced to undergo surgery, an operation that caused him to miss Mayo's third consecutive Connacht SFC defeat to Galway.

"Lee is back into more training and should be back into full contact this week," explained Mayo boss Stephen Rochford after his team drew Division 4 side Limerick in their first game of this year's qualifiers.

"At this moment we expect him to be part of the 26. He won't have much football played, obviously.

"He has been doing aerobic training but getting put to match sharpness is going to be a challenge between now and June 9 but at this juncture he should be part of the match day 26."

Toughest

Rochford also revealed that he had a conversation with St Vincent's forward Enda Varley over the winter about the possibility of him returning to the Mayo panel but ultimately, decided against it.

"My own thoughts were that to make that step back up it wasn't going to be a case of committing more game time," he explained.

"And really, we wanted to try to give some of the younger guys that are possibly going to be there over the next eight to 10 years, so look, that's where the mindset was on it."

Meath meanwhile, have been handed the toughest draw of the qualifiers after being paired with Uls ter champions Tyrone in yesterday morning's draw.

They have, however, been drawn at home, unlike Kildare who must go to Derry.

All-Ireland SFC Qualifier

Round 1 draw

(to be played on weekend June 9/10)

Derry v Kildare, Meath v Tyrone, London v Louth, Wicklow v Cavan, Offaly v Antrim, Limerick v Mayo, Westmeath v Armagh, Wexford v Waterford.

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