There will be more than a passing Ulster interest in tonight’s Connacht senior football championship semi-final between Mayo and Roscommon.
Mayo midfield ace Ronan McGarrity, who recovered from a serious illness last year to reclaim his place in the side, has strong links with the province since his mother is from Dromore and his father from Irvinestown.
And although he would relish meeting Ulster opponents further down the line in the race to the All Ireland title, Ronan is focused on tonight’s mission against a Roscommon side that is now under the baton of former All Ireland Minor winning boss Fergal O’Donnell.
“It’s always tough at the semi-final stage but it’s just great to be back playing. We are very keen to land the Connacht title for which Galway appear to be favourites,” he says.
Mayo manager John O’Mahoney has not included Conor Mortimer, the county’s highest scorer for a number of seasons now, in his attack but the player is likely to see action at some stage.
O’Mahoney has also axed Tom Parsons and brought back veteran David Heaney as McGarrity’s midfield partner.
Heaney has given magnificent service to Mayo and should form a strong alliance with McGarrity who is now back to his best form.
In the other semi-final, Sligo will meet Galway next weekend with Liam Sammon’s side expected to reach the decider.
Ironically, Sligo are now managed by former Galway midfield ace Kevin Walsh, who likes to avoid the media spotlight.