Photo: Irish Post
There I was expecting the team announcement to happen tonight but I just checked back on the site a few minutes ago – I don’t spend all day every day on it (though it does feel that way betimes) – and there it was. I guess it’s a bit like going onto the tube and thinking it’s like the buses over here in that you could be waiting half the day for one to show up but the train comes rattling into the station as you’re alighting from the escalator. Or something.
Anyway, here for the record is the line-up for Sunday. In a break with tradition we’ve named our full match-day 26, which reads as follows:
Mayo (Connacht SFC quarter-final v London, 29/5/2016): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); Brendan Harrison (Aghamore), Kevin Keane (Westport), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Lee Keegan (Westport), Colm Boyle (Davitts), Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels); Tom Parsons (Charlestown Sarsfields), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole); Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites), Cillian O’Connor (Balintubber, captain), Conor O’Shea (Breaffy). Subs: David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites), David Drake (Ballaghaderreen), Caolan Crowe (Garrymore), Shane Nally (Garrymore), Michael Hall (Breaffy), Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Cathal Carolan (Crossmolina), Conor Loftus (Crossmolina), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber).
So, then, those stories about the injuries in the squad were on the money, with Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey and Diarmuid O’Connor all missing from the 26 named, as is Alan Freeman. Still, Stephen Rochford’s first championship pick is a strong one, with plenty of experience in both the starting fifteen and on the bench.
Ten of the team named for Ruislip also featured in the All-Ireland semi-final replay against Dublin last year, with the injured Ger Cafferkey, Chris Barrett, Seamus O’Shea and Barry Moran as well as Donal Vaughan (is he injured as well or what?) the five starters from then not lining out on Sunday. The starting fifteen for Sunday features just one full championship debutant – corner-forward Evan Regan – but if I’m not mistaken it’s also a first championship start for both Brendan Harrison and Paddy Durcan.
Sunday’s team has just three survivors from the last time we played London over in Ruislip, back in 2011. Robbie Hennelly, Jason Gibbons and Jason Doherty all started that near-fateful match, while Aidan O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin and Cillian O’Connor (in his first senior championship appearance from the county) also featured from the bench.