Young guns give Mayo big chance to finally lift trophy at Croke Park
The Allianz Football League title does not quite carry the same currency as the All-Ireland crown but when a side has endured the heartbreak which has been Mayo's lot spanning the past two decades any glint of national silverware would be welcome.
That's why there will be an extra edge to James Horan's side when they square up to Kerry in tomorrow's league decider at Croke Park (4.00) where both teams will come in for forensic inspection from every other side in the country ahead of the race to the Sam Maguire Cup.
With both having undergone renovation, the focus will be on the plethora of new faces which will be getting a first taste of Headquarters action.
Sean O'Shea has been scoring for fun for Kerry in the league to date while Dara Moynihan, Diarmuid O'Connor, Gavin O'Brien an Shane Ryan have made the most of the opportunity afforded to them by manager Peter Keane.
Mayo, too, have not been slow to unveil a fresh tranche of talent. Aidan O'Shea, Kevin McLoughlin, Donal Vaughan and Jason Doherty are still among the senior citizens in the side but they have now been joined by Conor Diskin, Fionn McDonagh, Brian Reape, Michael Plunkett and Eoin O'Donohue who are providing adequate proof that the Mayo conveyor belt of talent is still operating at full throttle.
When the sides met earlier this month in Tralee, Mayo terminated a five-match unbeaten streak by their hosts and in doing so offered the prospect that the league title might not be outside their gambit.