Mayo not giving up hope of bringing Lee Keegan back into the fold in 2023
Mayo assistant manager Stephen Rochford remains “hopeful” that talismanic star Lee Keegan can be cajoled back into the fold.
Rumours of a looming retirement intensified after Westport’s historic club campaign ended last month, but there is still no definitive word as Mayo’s only five-time All-Star (33) contemplates his county future.
And Rochford – who managed Keegan during his Footballer of the Year pomp – and has now returned as Kevin McStay’s assistant, sounded a guardedly optimistic note.
“Lee has given so much to Mayo over the last decade or so that we were affording him that time to make sure that his body and everything is possibly right for him to make a decision. We are under no time constraints for when that is,” he stressed.
“We probably expect to speak to him just before Christmas or very early in the New Year, and we are hopeful we’ll see Lee playing for Mayo.
“We obviously feel that he can still have a big role, he’s a huge leader for the group on the field.
“And just contextualising that, guys with young families and other demands – Lee has had a number of injuries over the last while and has been playing in the senior club championship with an injury. So it’s just a case of just giving that space and time.”
Rochford also confirmed that in their conversations with Oisín Mullin before he signed for the Geelong Cats, they wanted the player to understand that “at any stage if things don’t feel right in Australia, that it hasn’t worked out for whatever reason, it only takes a phone call back home to Mayo and we’d be more than happy to see him at whatever stage in the future.”