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Holmes not worried by Clarke injury
26 Aug 2015 13:01
Mayo joint-manager Pat Holmes says he has no worries over the goalkeeping position ahead of Sunday’s crunch All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin.
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First choice net-minder David Clarke suffered an adductor muscle injury in his hip during the quarter-final win over Donegal earlier this month and he remains a major doubt for this weekend.
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Robbie Hennelly took over between the posts against Donegal and is in line to start if Clarke doesn’t prove his fitness in time for throw-in.
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Such uncertainty may be a cause for concern in some counties, though Holmes claims that Mayo’s management and players are relaxed about the situation.
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“David picked up an injury in the semi-final, a strain of an adductor muscle, and he has responded well to treatment,” he explained.
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“We’re delighted to have a player like Rob Hennelly to come in and we have no concerns.
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“In the modern game it’s not about the first 15, though it’s important to have a strong first 15; it’s about having a strong bench as well.
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“We’re lucky that we have a very, very strong bench at this moment in time and to have players of the calibre of Rob Hennelly to come into the team is very satisfying and gives great comfort.”
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Clarke was Mayo’s long-time goalkeeper until he suffered an injury during the 2013 Championship, losing his place to Hennelly.
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Hennelly was in nets for that year’s All-Ireland final defeat to the Dubs, keeping his place until earlier this season, and he may have to face the Boys in Blue again this weekend.
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Holmes, who is in joint charge of the five in-a-row Connacht champions along with Noel Connelly, has first hand experience of just how good Dublin’s main strike forward is.
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He was in charge of Castlebar Mitchels when Diarmuid Connolly scored 2-5 as he helped his St Vincent’s side to All-Ireland club glory on St Patrick’s Day 2014.
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“When I was manager of Castlebar Mitchels we got to an All-Ireland club final and came up against St Vincent’s. On that day we came out second best and Diarmuid Connolly had a huge say in that game,” he explained.
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“He was fantastic, man of the match, and I have bitter memories of that one.”
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Speaking about the rest of Dublin’s impressive attacking arsenal, Holmes said: “Paul Flynn has won four All Stars in-a-row.
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“You have Ciaran Kilkenny playing at eleven who is an excellent footballer and you have Bernard Brogan who is their top scorer, banging in goals for fun, and you have Dean Rock who is a fabulous footballer and a brilliant free-taker like his father.
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“When you look at the talent they have up front, they are a formidable outfit. Throw in Kevin McManamon or Paddy Andrews into that mix as well and we’re under no illusions about the task facing us.”
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Mayo pose a serious attacking threat of their own, of course, led by full-forward Aidan O’Shea.
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O’Shea developed a reputation as one of the most imposing midfielders in the game, but he has thrived since his move to the edge of the square this season.
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“It has worked,” said Holmes about the switch. “Aidan is a major, major talent and no matter where he plays on the field he is going to receive extra attention.
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“We felt earlier in the year that maybe his talents could be best utilised at full-forward. He has played very, very well in there despite getting extra attention from other teams and no doubt it will be no different on Sunday. He’s a real leader and he has done very, very well for us.”
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