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Published: 12:40 | 20/12/17

Mortimer urges Mayo to blood youngsters

Former Mayo captain Trevor Mortimer has urged manager Stephen Rochford to blood the youngsters in this season's Allianz National League campaign.

The Shrule-Glencorrib clubman says Rochford should give his "flogged" Championship stars a break, eight of whom have played in all four of Mayo's All-Ireland losing teams since 2012.

Mortimer says experienced players such as Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Aidan O'Shea, Kevin McLoughlin, Jason Doherty, Cillian O'Connor and Seamus O'Shea should be rested for the National League campaign, even it means relegation from Division 1.

Mayo start their National Football League campaign against Monaghan at Clones on Sunday, 28 January, before going on to face Kerry, Galway, Dublin, Kildare, Tyrone and Donegal over the subsequent six weekends.

"I would like to see them do a Dublin on it and flood the squad with new players for the league," Mortimer told the Mayo News.

"Whether we do well in the league or not is irrelevant for the majority of Mayo people at this stage.

"I don't think Stephen is going to be under pressure the way he was in the last number of years in the league. 

"So I think he can afford to get relegated out of it. Nobody would want it but it wouldn't be the end of the world. He has to find one or two guys that could add something this year.

"You need to throw them in, let them develop for the next five or six months in the thick of it, and I think that’s the hope we have — that we can find one or two new players."

Mortimer, 37, retired from inter-county football in 2012 after 11 seasons wearing the green and red, appearing in two All-Ireland finals and winning a National League title in 2001.

eir Sport have exclusive coverage of Saturday matches in the 2018 Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues. Coverage begins on the evening of Saturday, 27 January on eir Sport 1 and eir Sport 2.

Photo: James Crombie

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