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Mayo boss hopeful Cora Staunton extends her stay for a 23rd season

Staunton looks set to pick up her 11th All-Star on Saturday night.

Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

RETURNING MAYO SENIOR ladies senior football team manager Frank Browne is hoping that ace forward Cora Staunton will be back for a 23rd season of inter-county fare.

Staunton, who’s tipped to win a record 11th All-Star award on Saturday night, will make a decision on her inter-county future after Carnacon’s club campaign.

The Mayo and Connacht champions will take on Dublin’s Foxrock-Cabinteely in the All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday week, November 20, with fellow county stars Fiona McHale and Martha Carter also invovled.

McHale, who is planning to travel for a number of months, is delaying her departure until Carnacon’s season is over and Browne is hopeful that she will return to the Mayo fold ahead of the 2017 championship.

Browne’s decision to commit for a third successive season in his second stint at the helm could also entice Staunton, Carter and goalkeeper Yvonne Byrne to give it one more year at the top level.

And Browne said: “I’ve spoken to all of the senior players – I’m going back and I’m building a team that’s going to try and win the All-Ireland.

“That train is going to leave the station and I’d love them to be on it.

“They have to make the decision about whether they want to be on the train but I haven’t a notion of putting the Carnacon players under pressure until after the All-Ireland campaign. They’re just brilliant club people.”

Mayo won the Connacht championship this year but agonisingly lost out by just a single point to Dublin in a classic All-Ireland semi-final at Kingspan’s Breffni Park.

And Browne admitted: “I was just so disappointed, that we had put absolutely every ounce of our life and soul into it and we came up short.

“We were hurting awful badly for five or six weeks after but my daughter Deirdre fell and broke her ankel and the girls sent her a card and flowers.

“I thought ‘we’ve got to finish the job’ and it said so much about the group.”

Wexford native Browne is also involved with Mayo intermediate club hurling champions Ballyhaunis as they prepare for next weekend’s Conancht final replay against Galway’s Ahascragh/Fohenagh, who have the Mannion brothers in tow.

But Ballyhaunis also have a current county star in their own ranks – Mayo senior footballer Keith Higgins, who has also represented the hurlers with distinction.

And Browne said: “He’s the best club man in the country, a legend, not just because of what he does for Mayo, but because of what he does for his own club on his own doorstep.”

Elsewhere, Connacht Tribune sports reporter Stephen Glennon has been confirmed as Galway’s new ladies senior football team manager.

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