Clean bill of health reported as the quarters approach

Mayo team Connacht final 2015

There was a press night at MacHale Park yesterday evening (presumably this was the one for the quarter-final and if so the raw material for all the interviews you’ll be reading next week would have been gathered there) and this piece by Daragh Small in the Irish Examiner has some positive news on the injury front. That piece is, by the way, exactly the same one – by the same writer – that headlines the sports section in this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital versions) and, for good measure, it also gets a run-out on the GAA’s website this morning – here.

The report confirms that Seamus O’Shea should be okay to line out at Croke Park on Saturday week. Noel Connelly stated that the decision to withdraw Seamie so early at Hyde Park was mainly a precautionary move, a luxury we could afford on the day given the big lead we’d racked up at that stage and the fact that a sub of Barry Moran’s calibre was straining at the leash on the bench. Seamie will train tomorrow night and take part in the A v B match on Saturday.

Noel references the weekend’s practice match as “a big day for a lot of the fringe players” all of whom will be battling to feature in the match-day panel of 26. Chief amongst these is surely Evan Regan, who didn’t make the cut for the Connacht final, but who would be a great wild-card to have in reserve for Croke Park. The young Stephenites man is once again fit and raring to go and he’ll be taking a full part in Saturday’s internal match as well.

So too will Kevin Keane – who will surely be pressing hard for a starting slot in the quarters – and Diarmuid O’Connor who shrugged off a hairline fracture in his wrist picked up against Galway to put in a sparkling performance on his Connacht final debut.

In summary, then, it’s all good news as the lads turn their focus towards Croke Park and the defining part of this year’s championship. Given the many travails we’ve had on the injury front in recent years, this makes for a welcome change and hopefully our luck holds in this area from here on in as well.

74 thoughts on “Clean bill of health reported as the quarters approach

  1. Thanks for the update WJ. Noel mentions the A vs B practice match.
    Anyone know what the B team would look like based on whose training with the Senior squad? I’ll have a go but probably off in a few places. I’m not sure if some of these guys are fit or training with the squad.
    Barrett, McHale (?),Harrison
    Hall, Coen, Durcan
    Moran, Gibbons (?),
    Loftus,C O’Se(?), Conroy
    Regan, Freeman, Ronaldson

  2. B team would normally contain a lot of first team regulars as games would be very one sided otherwise.

  3. My A vs B teams would look a bit like this..

    A: Hennelly (kickouts)

    Barret Keane Higgins

    Keegan Boyle Vaughan

    Parsons SoS

    Mc L AoS Diarm

    Ron CoC DoC

    B: Clarke

    Cunniffe Caff Harrison

    Hall Coen Durcan

    Moran Kirby

    Dillon C o se Loftus

    Regan Andy Sweeney

    Unlucky to miss out on ”A” would be Cunniffe, i think Barret is more comfortable on the ball. Also Caff could feature against a more mobile full forward.
    Hennelly gets the nod for his kickouts, Against Sligo it took Clarkes an age to come down.
    Regan and Sweeney must be pushing hard for a start also.
    The potential in our alternative young half back line is exciting. Coen and Durcan are already showing this, and i believe young Hall is a wonderful young talent.
    Apologies if i have left out someone

  4. Crunch

    This masquerades as fact when it is clearly opinion.
    Dont agree on a number of positions!

  5. I would imagine that A v B would vary week to week, that its not a case of starting team v the remaining 15 due to the fact you want your starting corner back marking your best corner forward rather than one not good enough to start, or you would want your best midfielder to be competing with your second best midfielder otherwise they would not be training at divison one standard, but than of course they would also need there starting 15 playing together to get there system in place, why would they practice with Hennelys kickouts insead of Clarkes kickouts if that what they are going to be playing with, so I would imagine its changes on a regular basis.
    Can anyone tell me is Gibbons still involved, i dont think he is but with O Sheas injury ‘scare’ it makes you realise were only one injury away from a crisis in midfield

  6. hueyandlouis

    How does it masquerade as fact? I state that this is ”my” choice as our ”A” team. And this is only what i believe is our best starting line up, based on performances this year. I obviously cant base it on form in training, I’l leave that up to Noel and Pat. And I’m sure alot of people dont agree with it.

  7. Thanks WJ.

    The C/F programme helpfully gave pen pics of 34 panel members – presumably that’s the total at the moment.

    Here is the list – in alpha order.

    Coen, S
    Moran, A
    Moran, B
    O’Connor, C
    O’Connor, D
    O’Shea, A
    O’Shea, C
    O’Shea, S

  8. Sean,on the contrary,I think A v B is exactly what it says on the tin. A=probable,B=possible.I know from previous outings that if guys are playin on the B team,they more or less have to bust a gut to get ahead of their ‘A’ rival.The reverse of this is of course true,that the guy playing in the ‘A’ team knows that a lacklustre outing means that his ‘B’ rival is chomping at the bit to get the jersey.All as it should be.

  9. I presume the A v B game will be behind closed doors! By all accounts these games do be fiercely contested and nothing is held back which is great.

  10. The lads might be well advised to do a sweep of the trees in the MacHale Park area on Saturday, bearing in mind that incident down in Killarney before last year’s All-Ireland. I know Donegal have to get by Galway first but still …

  11. I’d highly doubt it’s the ‘first 15′ versus the other 15. As others say, it’ll be a mixture

    Can you imagine what it would do for the starters’ confidence if they lost to ‘B’ team 😀 It wouldn’t be ideal preparation that’s for sure!

  12. you can be sure Rory Gallagher is as much a student of Bill Bilichick as he is of Jim Mcguinness. I fully expect Donegal to get past Galway, of course I hope I am wrong.

    were Galway to win does that mean we would have to play tyrone if they beat sligo ?
    i think it does but could be open to correction here.

  13. It would be great to see Regan make a burst now. Wat a lift that would give us for the big push. Injury free? Great news. I’d love to meet Galway again but Tyrone will hammer Sligo.

  14. That’s it, Roger – it’s only if Donegal and Tyrone lose that we’d be playing Galway. If Donegal and Tyrone win then we play Donegal because a repeat of the Ulster final is ruled out. If Galway and Tyrone win we get Tyrone, on the basis that we’ve already played Galway. If Galway and Sligo win then it’s Galway as a Connacht final repeat isn’t allowed. Odds-on (literally) it’s Ulster opposition for us, most likely Donegal (who are 1/2 favourites to beat Galway).

  15. its a tough quarter final at any rate but i have to say that neither Donegal or Tyrone are at the peak of their powers. I would expect us to win same as I expected us to win when we last met these two teams.

    I would expect the dubs to win their game and Kerry to win theirs.

    Monaghan have not been a croke park team , its time for them to step up in Jones Road.

  16. That is the best 34 man panel we’ve had. 34 players injury free, thats worth so much in terms of being triple covered for every position. Any player could make a drive for the bench now. I’v never really viewed our bench as a strength. Now we can bring on pace and skill. Might be wishful thinking but young Loftus or Regan being a bolter would add some excitement. Im convinced Regan is the most suited player to run loops off of AOS. Has all the attributes physically and skillwise.

  17. I’m a bit worried about our full back line we look dodgy under the high ball also I think Clarke needs to keep his kick outs down a bit ill shut up now before I go all negative like Billy Fitzpatrick ????

  18. If its a draw I would imagine we are pushed out a week, and play as a curtain raiser to a Hurling semi final, like in 2009. .. I was really looking forward to that Kilkenny vs Waterford game until Meath beat us, walked out at full time in our game thick as f**k!

  19. Savage panel alright JP. Although I feel sorry for lads like Freeman and Sweeney who didn’t get a run out against Sligo. Freeman is brilliant on his day, unmarkable.

  20. Karl Lacey is a massive loss to Donegal and the returning S Walsh is a massive addition to Galwy.
    Does that give them any hope I dont know?.

    Midfield should be even enough with O Currain and Comer matching up pretty evenly with Donegals. I do highly rate Gallagher but if the young O Currain can get in amongst him, maybe will break even ,.
    The halforward line of Galway will be the winning of the game if they do win and with Cummins inside he is a totally different threat to the McGee’s.
    A threat of the small pacy man which has given the McGees problems in the past.

    I do think Donegal will win though and the main reason is the Galway Fullback line they are too loose and against this talent it will be curtains for them on current form .

  21. Its as good as panel as we have had for a while and when you consider Jason Gibbons, Cathal Carolan, Richie Feeney arent on it due to injury then it is a strong panel.
    If any/ all of those three were deemed fit, they would be looking to get into the panel as they have being the most used subs/ started league games over the past two years outside of the “regulars” .

  22. OOB, I think those guys are fit in the sense of having recovered from injury. However, it’s another matter to get back on the panel.

    Unless current panel members suffer injury, then there will be no changes. Competition is fierce, and it’s now all about making the 26 for match day.

    Significant that Connelly did mention Regan by name though.

  23. Can i mention a little observation in the GAA website, they have Leinster v Connacht and Munster v Ulster in the Semi finals. I thought Kerry would meet the Dubs… Was happy with that, now, anything we win will be very tough. Kerry will have Monaghan and if we win, the Dubs face us. Well the up side is, that by kicking the shite out of the best, we will deserve Sam… 😉 🙂

  24. I personally think management plan on using Regan in some capacity the only concern and it ain’t a footballing one is he’s shoulder.hes had 2 series injuries to it already this year and if it goes again it could have series consequences for him

  25. Consideration should be given to spraying the treeline with shotgun pellets prior to the A v B game. After (some) due warning of course.

  26. As it was Evan’s collarbone that broke, hopefully it will have healed fully this time. I don’t know, but I imagine that a dislocation would be more vulnerable to re-injury, so there is every chance it’s a full recovery for Evan, one that won’t require any surgery. Given the difficulties Cillian had with his shoulder dislocation, I would not expect the backroom team to allow Evan return to full training without it being perfect, especially given his age. It’s great news for him that he’s in the mix now to play some part this season.

  27. Why are we back to criticising Clarke again ?

    I thought he had a great game against Sligo , pulling off two magnificicaht saves and kicked well.

    As outlined by the various media pundits, it’s the full back line that’s the worry.

    A sweeper needs to be deployed.

  28. Robinbanks I assume your question as vague as it is concerns my valuation that Evan Regan has all the attributes to be a good loop runner for layoffs from Aidan OShea. Based on all of the following, none of which will dissapear because he is suddenly facing Division one competition.
    – Pace, he is quick from a standing start.
    – Ability to shoot quickly without soloing.
    – Above average accuracy.
    The usual response “He’s never done it at senior level”. The common viewpoint on here is to introduce him from the bench. Game time minutes should always be limited for those returning from injury to minimize number of heavy contacts.
    If your question concerns that this is the strongest Mayo panel, well that is based as follows. This team has more attacking threat, is physically fitter and has a much deeper panel beyond the first 15 than any other year I’v seen.

  29. Don’t know about sos as a Sweeper , was thinking Keane to play full back with mc loughlin dropping back if necessary

    Did anyone spot that Tom parsons dropped back against Sligo to play around full back ?

  30. Don’t want to sound too negative but why is everyone so hyped up about Evan Regan?
    I agree he has potential but he has anyone ever seen him play at inter county championship level? Certainly not me. He showed well in FBD in january but July is a different battlefield altogether. I’ll reserve passing judgement on him until I see him with 2 championship games under his belt. Please give him a chance to at least show his worth before hyping him up as our Lionel Messi.

  31. Evan Regan played against us in an FBD league game on a pisser of a day in Baken last year where he displayed everything that JP mentioned earlier.You can say and rightly so that it was only an FBD game but he went at it from the start and showed a hunger for it,something very few players do in these games.If I recall correctly there were plenty calling for him to be brought into the panel last year.He was very lucky down in Kerry to leave it with just a broken collarbone with the way he hit the ground and very unlucky to break it for a second time.I spoke to him in Castlebar at the open evening and even at that early stage he was counting down the days until he could get back training again.I have no doubt that if given the chance he can do a job and improve the team.

  32. So the GAA have marked a Connaught v Leinster semi final for August 30th.What happens if Sligo and ourselves are knocked out before then?

  33. I think Galway might beat Donegal, I’m basing that on the fact that Donegal don’t look like the Donegal of old and are vulnerable when a team gets ahead of them. Galway are quiet capable of getting the scores to get in front and playing their defensive system (which they appeared to be only learning when we played them) to keep Donegal out.

    Mind you Galway haven’t won a game in Croke Park in 14 years (2001 being the last time) and there were plenty of times during those 14 years when you’d expect them to win so who knows.

  34. mayomaningalway, if we lost in the quarter finals, whoever that team is that beats us assumes the moniker of “Connacht” for the semi final

  35. Cant wait for next match.
    It is becoming real now.I do think Evan will get a small cameo at some stage and he will have a good career as he is good.Dont honestly think he will dislodge any present guys though.
    Actually think there is morein Freeman and Conroy too…in fact they and Ronnie could be our aces before summer over.

  36. Think I might St Pats Oldie – my in-laws are Tyrone season ticket-holders so will go under the “Bring a Friend” option – although when you do that they move you to a different (less central) part of the stadium.

  37. Has anyone heard how gibbons is performing in training??

    I think we will need he athleticism and running as we push for the summit – thinking how Dublin ran our midfield ragged when two O’Sheas were there, I am far happier that Aidan has pushed in further our midfield unit is far more mobile – however not sure if both Tom & Seamus could keep it ticking for 70’mins against a Dublin or Kerry and I would prefer to see gibbons if fit and on form to drop in with 20 mins to go, where Barry is a great fielder I think he is too pedestrian in that sector and if the game is in the mix we need to keep the foot on the pedal – Thoughts anyone??

  38. I hope Regan gets game time, he looked very sharp against Kerry and Mayo need him to complement AOS and Cillian upfront. Its something we were missing in previous championships, a new player who is unpredictable, the opposition havent seen him play championship before. He could easily dislodge A Moran, i like Andy but there is high mileage on the clock and he seems to be not lasting the full game. Maigh Eo Abu.

  39. Nally Stand – re Gibbons training – there is no evidence that he is back on the panel.

    While he has many attributes, I doubt if he will get back in unless a midfielder is injured. If problems arise Aido can go back. One of the problems with him at midfield is that his high octane game is so energy sapping. His current role allows him to conserve more energy, crucify opposing backs, and still help out in midfield. Donie Vaughan is another option.

    Wasn’t impressed by Dublin’s midfield against Westmeath. Macauley off the pace at the moment, but that could change of course. Moran and Maher are serious opposition. However all midfield pairings are vulnerable and not likely to dominate every game consistently, so the more variety you can bring the better.

    I do have some reservations about Gibbons on the big stage though: league final against Cork and drawn match against Kerry stand out.

  40. Nice to get your opinion Catcol

    I suppose I was hoping that Gibbons could have reached the heights he was playing at for us during the league last year before he got injured, he was a serious prospect then. Vaughan does have the engine for the position so that is a viable option and of course we could mix it up with Aidan interchanging for spells so lets see how things go just hope all the main players can stay injury free for this run in.

  41. Only realized this morning Freeman goaled nicely versus Monaghan. Caught the highlights on youtube. He goaled against Kerry also.

  42. Woah, lets steady on a bit here. I like Evan Regan, he has shown promise. But “easily dislodge Andy Moran”?

    How bloody good is this guy?!

  43. Both Freeman and Sweeney know where the goal is JP and could prosper playing off AOS . I have little complaint about Pat and Noel so far but they could have given the lads a shot at kicking a few championship scores at the end of the Sligo game imo.

  44. Digits I think I’ll drive up on Saturday. Couldn’t face two days watching football on the box.
    Galway have a chance if they can keep it tight for the first 10-15 mins but I think Donegal will have learned loads from Aidans exploits.
    I expect Murphy to go full forward from the outset and draw frees off Hanley.
    Hopefully we’ll learn a thing or two by watching the opposition in the flesh.

  45. My team for the quarter, anyone agree ?


    Barret Keane Higgins

    Keegan Boyle Vaughan

    Parsons SoS

    DOC Mc L Docherty

    Andy AOS CoC

  46. Anyone who attends club games (there appears to be few on here who do) will know that Regan is a good corner forward with future potential but no more than that. He has been quite inconsistent at both U21 club and Senior club level in recent years. If he were a star in the making he would have made a breakthrough on the Senior county panel a couple of years ago. I’m sure he’ll be a regular starter for us in the years to come – but the new messiah he is not !!

  47. Agree about regan he has never proved himself really for ballina or Mayo u 21

    Who would drop off the squad for him, forward wise ?

  48. Never proved for Ballina – wrong
    Mayo u21 – wrong, top scorer with an 18 year old middle 4 diamond beat out the gate versus Ros.
    Best player at Sigerson level for Sligo, game winner.
    Held scoreless rarely. The young defender who did hold him scoreless at u21 few years ago is an excellent player that seniors should be looking at by now.

  49. Andy Moran is still a key player on this squad. While pace may be an issue, his presence on the field is huge to the team. Watch him in any game, his hands pointing like a conductor, moving and changing the positioning. A true leader of men. He is needed in the first half to ensure the game is taken by the scruff of the neck

  50. I agree, League Legends. The pace is gone a small bit but he still looks very fit and focused this year and there is a sharpness about him and determination. I feel he has put the injury from a couple of years ago behind him now and the confidence is high which is a key thing. He’s in a good place. His presence, for sure, helps absorbs a lot of the intensity and energy that opposition bring in first half.

  51. Andy didn’t look too sharp against Sligo, and didn’t last too long against Galway despite his two superb points.

    He is indeed a leader but the body is letting him down at this stage (understandably).

  52. Joe – you raise an important point there about Donegal support.

    It’s likely to be low on Saturday. Fans are always low after a defeat. But, if Donegal and Tyrone win, the two Q/Fs could be a sell out, with all of Ulster heading for Croker.

    And that could raise a further issue. Mayo would be in real danger of being outshouted, with the Nordies embracing their bitterest enemies against the wretched Free Staters.

    We need to bust a gut in fandom to get everyone to Croker on that evening.

  53. In relation to Evan Regan, Martin McHugh, who manages IT Sligo speaks very highly of him anyway. The question is really, will he make the 26 man match day squad. The forward subs for the Connacht final were: Alan Dillon, Mark Ronaldson (both came on in the first two games), Alan Freeman, Mickey Sweeney and Michael Conroy. So the question will be can Evan dislodge any of the latter three. With the black card now in vogue, you have to think about things like if Kevin McLoughlin got black carded, Evan can take left-footed frees so that might be taken into consideration. Or if Cillian O’Connor was to get back carded, Alan Freeman is usually the back-up free taker, so his place on the bench should be safe. If we needed a goal late in a match then Mickey Sweeney could be a good option for that. So maybe it might come down to either Michael Conroy or Evan Regan getting the last place on the bench. Of course other things like, current fitness, match sharpness etc. comes into the equation as well, so it will be a tough call to make for Noel and Pat.

  54. Andy is still playing great football in my view. He’s not going to have probably that 2011/12 type form. But he’s now bringing in left footed passes. He’s accurate in all that he does in terms of passing and shooting.
    The left footed free taking is the clincher for me in terms of Regan. A relevant point there in relation to Kevin McGloughlin. If he gets injured, suspended or black carded in the rest of this championship who will take left footed frees? There is literally only Evan Regan.
    Also if we make the semis we are facing Dublin. The 26 man panel needs more pace to take on this Dublin team. It would be naive not to make preparations for Dublin now by giving game time to Regan off the bench. Dublin have the quickest defenders in the championship. They are all lean, strong flyers. You need guys like Regan who have that sharp burn you pace to give them a problem. Cillian, Conroy, Sweeney, Diarmuid, Ronaldson, JDoc don’t have that burn you over 10 yards type pace. Only Kevin Mc of the 26 man forwards is burn you quick. That’s an oversight of major proportions to go into a Dublin game like that. Diarmuid being tall and rangey needs a few yards to get his stride going, once up and striding he is quick. But from the day Gaelic Football was first played the first 10 yards is what it’s all about. Can you gain 1 yard on the defender over 10?
    But again, not having Regan as the backup for Kevin Mc for left footed frees would simply be a mathematical oversight. Literally mathematical if you look at the % probablility of black card, injury, suspension. Injuries are no matter how we might like to think otherwise something any panel have to be prepared for.

  55. I have spoken about this before having seen Regan play against Kiltane last year , he missed frees that day and in my opinion it is down to his technique , it looks to be all for show with these little steps he takes and in my opinion he throws himself off balance, he should be coached to take them in a better way.

  56. Kilcoyne was the same. Its more about the striking technique which is fine. Kevin Mcs striking technique is poor. His striking leg is not extended and he gets under the ball not through the ball.

  57. @ Roger Milla ,

    I was at the same game ( as a Ballina man I really thought we would go down after the beating we took off you!!!) and while Evan missed a couple of frees I can guarantee , having been lucky to watch him a lot for the Stephenites , it is a rare occurrence for him to miss frees.The short steps are not for show , they are simply a mental mechanics trick so when you take a free no matter what the situation/pressure , you repeat the same process star to finish every time ( Oisin McConville used the same technique).
    It is a trick used by all the top place kickers in Rugby and NFL to trick the mind that if you miss a kick , the next free kick you repeat your routine which has worked 99 times out of a 100 to relax your mind and focus on scoring the current free and not the previous miss. Also what really sums up Evan from that game if you remember is the goal he scored in the second half totally against the run of play to give Ballina a tiny bit of hope which is what he does week in week out for the Stephenites.
    On the left footed free taker problem, I have watched Cillian take frees for Ballintubber from the right hand side of the field no bother and see no reason why he can’t take them for Mayo unless there is an impossible angle.I remember Connor Mort scoring a load of great frees form the left hand side of the goals for Mayo for years without too much trouble so I don’t see the need for Kevin Mac to take the frees from the right unless it is an acute angle!!

  58. Crete Boom I hear you alright and I understand about the process but i think he is off balance when he kicks and the further out he is the more wayward it becomes (unlike some free takers ) . I think he should refine it a bit. he certainly did score a fine goal against the run of play

    I enjoyed that game alright but was happy to see Ballina stay up the week after.

  59. Something else that might need to be considered for our subs bench is whether to include Danny Kirby or not. With Seamus O’Shea getting injured in the last game, Danny would be proving cover for midfield and up front as well just in case any of our midfielders get injured as Tom Parsons, Barry Moran and Seamie can be all a bit injury prone. Mickey Harte was making the point that all 34 players in the panel should be available for the match day squad but then again with it set at 26, it probably leads to a lot more competition for places in the lead-up to matches.

  60. I had the same thoughts on Kirby. Also late on against a defence with two yellows in full back line could try AOS Kirby Freeman. AOS draws the biggest defender leaving one of either Kirby or Freeman in single cover with a height advantage.

  61. Yeah PJ, it’ll be very interesting to see if the management will change things up a bit now that we are in the quarter-finals, to try and keep the opposition guessing. The main thing is, it is great to have a fully fit squad to choose from. I was reading that Arsenal were having a lot of problems keeping their players injury free so maybe thats another reason why Barry Solan was brought on board.

  62. Height is one advantage we could spring on a team. I expect Kirby to be better after all this recent uninterrupted training. Certainly will be stronger.

  63. Talk about Dublin midfield a bit premature but as it’s out there MDMc is not at his 2013 form to date and the other lad is a rookie. Cian O Sullivan is now sweeper / CHB unless they change things and possibly weaken their backline. Cluxton is really the player with something extra we need to look at if we get that far (I give Fermanagh no Chance).
    The other teams mostly have only one strong midfielder apart from Kerry… Moran coming back from injury but Kerry don’t scare as AI champions normally do, might struggle against admittedly improving Kildare team demolished by Dublin. Maher kicked a few too many wides against us last year but seems to be at last year’s level if not better. Monaghan have Clerkin on bench and were bit slow to use him against Donegal so they’re good in that dept. Galway would be mad to play Comer there given his forward potential and maybe should play 3 in midfield with Conroy and Flynn sometimes going forward for scores. Donegal’s Mcelhinney is good footballer but can’t handle the Mayo lads, maybe in year or 2 so for now they need Murphy helping out Gallagher who we all know is good, injured against us in 2013 as was Lacey who they haveThompson as good replacement for.
    Plan B for us is move Aido out in any game we’re struggling and Big Barry into FF.

  64. this trend is gone very quite lads…………………………….pick the team for the quarter?

    Who would people prefer Donegal/Tyrone ?

    Lacey must be badly injured

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