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Mayo delight as Keith Higgins returns to training with the football squad

The dual-star played solely with the county’s hurlers during the league, but rejoined Stephen Rochford’s panel last night.

WITH JUST OVER a month to go to their Connacht championship opener against high-flying Galway, All-Ireland finalists Mayo received a big boost with news that Keith Higgins has rejoined the football panel.

Keith Higgins Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The dual-star had concentrated on hurling during the league, starring as Mayo marched to Division 2B glory, and it was unclear when, or if, he would return to the footballers.

Such speculation is at an end after Higgins trained with the footballers for the first time this year on Easter Monday.

With Mayo’s rivals Galway coming into the Connacht SFC quarter-final clash next 13 May on a high after an impressive league campaign, the news that four-time All Star Higgins is back is a timely boost for Stephen Rochford’s side.

Mayo struggled in the league and needed a last-gasp Kevin McLoughlin score in Ballybofey to avoid relegation. Speaking after that game, nine days ago, Rochford was hopeful, though not certain, when asked if Higgins would be back.

“We had left Keith to his own devices and hurling until the league was over so we will talk to him this week.

“Keith has given great service to it and all indications at the start were that he just wanted some time off. He’s mixed that in with a bit of hurling which was absolutely fine with us.

Keith Higgins Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“He’s kept his fitness levels up so I don’t have any immediate concerns at the moment. We spoke in January and said we’d speak again at the end of the league and that’s what we’ll do,” said Rochford.

It remains to be seen if Higgins will feature with the Mayo hurlers in their upcoming Christy Ring Cup campaign. They are due to play their opening game in the Christy Ring on Saturday, 12 May away to Wicklow.

That’s the day before Mayo footballers take on Galway in Castlebar.

Mayo also have Christy Ring Cup games on 19 May (v Kildare) and 2 June (Roscommon).
Higgins and the rest of the Mayo senior squad return to their clubs later this week ahead of the opening round of the Mayo club championships this weekend.

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