Pressure is on Mayo and Rochford to secure first league win against Dublin this evening

Mayo suffered a heavy defeat against Cork last weekend

Pressure is on Mayo and Rochford to secure first league win against Dublin this evening

©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

His appointment was founded on the back of a player rebellion and now with the added unpleasantness of injuries, concussions and unavailable players, Stephen Rochford is already on shaky ground.

The new Mayo manager's first League outing against Cork could definitely have gone better. Not only was his side on the receiving end of a nine point pummeling, but controversy followed him in the days after the game for hesitating to substitute Lee Keegan after a head clash.

Stephen Rochford explained the reasons behind waiting 11 additional minutes to withdraw Keegan and a follow-up statement from Mayo GAA admitted that they should have acted sooner. The statement divided public opinion with some condemning Mayo for their lack of diligence while others commended them for having admitted to their mistake. 

The incident has since petered out and Mayo's penance is that Lee Keegan will not be lining out against Dublin tonight. This latest blow compounds Mayo's injury situation, having already lost the services of captain Keith Higgins who suffered a suspected knee injury against Roscommon in an FBD League game.

And with Castlebar Mitchels preparing for an All-Ireland club semi-final, Rochford's supply of players is growing thin. Given their unsettled situation, Mayo would ideally like to be facing fellow first round losers Roscommon or Down this evening to give them a better chance of acquiring some points. 

Alas, Dublin, with their substantial squad, will be the ones converging on McHale Park tonight, after flexing their muscles last Saturday with a comfortable first round win over southern rivals Kerry.

Their firing squad was ruthless and formidable in front of goal, with Paddy Andrews picking up 1-04 and Dean Rock scoring 0-03 from open play as part of a convincing six point victory without much resistance from Kerry.

Dublin scored an emphatic 14 point victory over Mayo in last year's League encounter, but Rochford's men will fiercely want to atone for their loss in the All-Ireland semi-final replay. 

With Mayo leading by four points inside the last quarter of the game, it looked as though the westerners were poised to claim a place in the All-Ireland final, but three goals in 15 minutes propelled Dublin into a higher gear and steered them to victory. 

With Keith Higgins missing in Mayo's defensive pack, Rochford's men could be left exposed to another heavy defeat tonight. It would be ill advised to worry for Mayo at this early stage, but it is important that the new man in charge finds some winning rhythm in his new role.

Unlike Jim Gavin, who has elected to stick with the same starting line-up as last weekend, Rochford has reshuffled his pack ahead of tonight's game.

Lee Keegan and Kevin McLaughlin have been omitted from selection due to injury, with Mike Sweeney and Aidan O'Shea coming in to replace them.

A win would be the ideal parting gift for Aidan O'Shea, who will be flying out to the States this week to sample some American Football as part of TV3's The Toughest Trade but will be back in time for the next League fixture.