Talk of Level 5 Covid restrictions notwithstanding, we’ve just named our team to play Galway on Sunday. Here’s it is:
Mayo (NFL Division One v Galway. 18/10/2019): David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Oisín Mullin (Kilmaine), David McBrien (Ballaghaderreen), Lee Keegan (Westport); Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels), Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport); Matthew Ruane (Breaffy), Conor Loftus (Crossmolina); Fionn McDonagh (Westport), Mark Moran (Westport), Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber); Tommy Conroy (The Neale), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy, captain), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber).
So, there’s a bit to unpack relating to this selection.
First, the number of changes – eight in all – from the side we last put out in a competitive fixture. That was the League game against Kerry which took place on 1st March. Out from that team go James McCormack, Tom Parsons, Keith Higgins, Jordan Flynn, Ryan O’Donoghue, Kevin McLoughlin, Darren Coen and James Durcan. In come David McBrien, Eoghan McLaughlin (who featured off the bench against Kerry), Mattie Ruane, Conor Loftus, Fionn McDonagh, Mark Moran, Tommy Conroy (also came on as a sub that day) and Cillian O’Connor.
Second, Sunday’s team features two debutants. Neither David McBrien nor Mark Moran have lined out for us before in a competitive fixture – indeed, I don’t believe either have even had a run-out for us in the FBD. Best of luck to both of them.
Third, county champions Knockmore have no players on Sunday’s team. Not even Kevin McLoughlin. Hard to know what the story is there. Westport, meanwhile, fill four of the fifteen starting places.
Fourth, it’s a first competitive start this year for a few of last year’s regulars. Mattie Ruane, Fionn McDonagh and Cillian O’Connor missed all five League matches played in the spring but they’re all named to line out on Sunday. It’s Cillian’s 90th appearance for the county.
We don’t even know, of course, if the game will go ahead at all, in light of all the Level 5 chatter at the minute. Personally, I think it will and if it does it’s being shown live on TG4 (throw-in at Tuam Stadium is 2pm).
As ever, we don’t know if the team we’ve named is the one that will start the game. We have a tendency to shake up selections on match-day and I’d say the same could be true of this game, for both teams.
Best of luck to James and the lads on Sunday.