Derry date

Photo: Irish Examiner (Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile)

After the weekend off, we’re back in National League action this coming Bank Holiday weekend, playing the first of our two remaining games (at least we hope it’s only two we’ve left to play) in this year’s Division One campaign.

It’s a second successive match for us at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, where we’re aiming to win at the venue for the third time in a row, but, unlike the Dublin and Roscommon games, this one is a Sunday afternoon fixture. Throw-in is 3.45pm on St Patrick’s Day, Tipperary’s Seán Lonergan – who took charge of last year’s All-Ireland Minor final – is the ref and the match will be shown live on TG4, with radio commentary on Midwest.

Derry have established themselves as one of the top teams in the country in recent years – how they didn’t manage to kill off Kerry when they had them so badly on the ropes in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final remains a mystery, as well as an enormous missed opportunity – but they’re not a team we’ve played for a long while.

In fact, the most recent time we faced them in the National League was in 2015, when we had two points to spare over them in Celtic Park. They got relegated from the top tier that year and this season is their first one back in Division One since then. In between, they fell all the way down to Division Four before rebounding back up.

It’s a full ten years since we played them in the League at Castlebar. That game was in Round 7, a match we needed to win to make the Division One semi-final, whereas, with qualification already guaranteed, the Oak Leafers opted to field a second-string fifteen. We beat them handily that day but the following weekend at Croke Park their main contingent exacted revenge, beating us by two points in the League semi-final.

The most recent time we played them at MacHale Park was, then, that rollercoaster Championship qualifier clash in 2017. It looked like we were going to lose it, then substitute Conor Loftus smashed home a sensational goal, only for us to concede a really sloppy goal at the other end before we then went on to steamroll them by eleven points after extra-time.

Photo: Irish Mirror (Tommy Dickson/Inpho)

So, with no meetings at all between us for close to seven years, ourselves and Derry are the proverbial ships passing in the night. Not so with their manager, though, as we’ve locked horns with Mickey Harte many times when he was with Tyrone and we did so again last summer in his guise as Louth manager.

Regardless of who he’s prowling the sideline with, Mickey Harte’s teams have always proved difficult for us to break down at MacHale Park. It’s doubtful that this will be any different on Sunday.

Derry are arguably the form team in the country so far this year. They sit on top of Division One after five rounds, with one foot firmly planted in the final.

The only League game they’ve lost so far was last time out against Dublin, due largely to their decision to bench seven of their first fifteen, their main man Conor Glass included. They’re expected to come fully loaded, however, the next day.

Derry marked their return to the League’s top tier this year in positive fashion, by beating Kerry by a point at Tralee in the opening round. They had six points to spare over Tyrone at Celtic Park in Round 2 and then crushed Monaghan by thirteen points, also at Celtic Park, in Round 3.

The Oak Leafers’ storming start to the campaign continued in Round 4, where they got the better of Galway at Pearse Stadium by five points. That was the same margin they lost to Dublin by in the last round at Celtic Park.

It’s hard to know who wants what from Sunday’s meeting, aside from the chance for both sides to check out opponents they haven’t come up against before of late. Do Derry want to push on and seal what appears to be an inevitable League final spot? Do we want to extinguish whatever mathematical danger that still remains of our getting relegated? Your guess is as good as mine.

That makes the usual pre-match poll a wobblier than normal barometer of how everyone is feeling in the lead in to the game. Oh well, what the heck – despite all the above caveats, how do you think Sunday’s game will go?

How will we do against Derry?

  • Lose (52%, 359 Votes)
  • Win (36%, 250 Votes)
  • Draw (12%, 85 Votes)

Total Voters: 694

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53 thoughts on “Derry date

  1. Time to ring in the changes. Let’s get focused 100% on championship now, and no more injuries to first team players.

  2. I feel there’s no debate with this one. We should go all out to win against quality opposition.

  3. An innovation there is still time to try.
    A tall, strong worker at 10 who gets subbed by same and a pacey scorer at 12 who gets subbed by same.
    So a line something like
    Paddy Durcan Fergal Boland Jordan Flynn
    And finish with
    Enda Hession Fergal Boland Jack Carney.
    Don’t think we will do anything of this nature, but it is a line needs an overhaul.
    The idea is to improve this line with pure pace for 75 mins.

  4. Its an odd one this , does mcstay even want to win it , everyone is assuming mickey harte will be going all out to win the league but nobody knows for sure how either team approach this one . Mayo being Mayo they will probably rip up the script and win by 10 points .

    If Derry do go full blooded though ,its a great opportunity for players to see how they fare against that .

  5. I’m with @Brian . Focus on the championship now .
    Try and get more game time into fringe players and the likes of James Carr coming back from injury. I wouldn’t go more than 6 changes for Derry as we need to make it competitive.
    Monaghan will be relegated by the time we play them and hopefully Roscommon too .

  6. Is there another sport in the world where teams are reluctant to go for the 2nd biggest competition in that sport and where it makes a mockery of the whole competition. Instead of teams going all out and supporters roaring them on and filling stadia we have a competition where neither team or supporters know what to do. The powers that be should be ashamed of the mess they have created and we should be grateful they are not in the life or death side of planning. Even something as small as scrapping league finals wou make the league a bit more meaningful. Regarding the game itself I agree it’s a chance to give game time to a few more players and hopefully we’ll have a competitive game.

  7. This is the perfect game for us in my opinion.

    Hopefully both teams go fairly close to full strength as it will be a good guide to where we are at. (Can play the entire reserve team against Monaghan)

    The type of disciplined organised team we have struggled to work out over the years. Their men will stick with our runners from deep and a real test of our midfield against Glass/Rodgers

    It’s a free hit as we are safe but really think it’s a game we should use as a proper test as there is a real chance to learn what some fellas are made of here,better to find out now then in a connaught final.

    Obviously I’d be holding back anyone with injuries or recovering but think we can and should go close to full strength for it. The monaghan game will be a nothing game we can rest all our aces in and then you don’t have the rossies til April 21st which is ample rest time

  8. Interesting JP.

    I like your thinking. We need to think more about the squad & the subs.

    Our best performance last season was no question the Kerry game in Killarney.

    We brought on:
    Paddy Durcan
    Enda Hession
    Tommy Conroy
    Eoghan McLaughlin
    Stephen Coen

    The lads who started performed admirably, which is obviously crucial.. but it was a ballsy approach which worked well that day.

  9. If the mindset in the group is to win a connacht championship then we surely have to keep with that when one of the top teams come to town. Yes keep the likes of Paddy D wrapped up and any others carrying an injury/niggle but otherwise on with the best available 20 lads. The final away league game is the one to test out the broader panel and see how an alternative 15 perform and test three different lads in the fullback, fullforward and midfielder positions.

  10. The main issue with the competition is the timing , having a league final penciled in for the week before champuonship is utter madness , should be at least a 3 week gap , scrap the fbd , mckenna cup etc , start the league earlier , surely .

  11. Scrap the league finals. Top team after 7 games win the league. Would make for a great last round of league games.
    The inconvenience of making a trip to Croke Park so close to start of championship is undermining the last few rounds of the league.

  12. That’s a good shout @shoutmayo and a simple stroke of the pen to fix.
    Would have everyone finishing at the same time and also lead to great excitement on final day with everyone following action around the grounds, scoring difference etc.

    Finishing top 2 should be incentivised too to ensure no one playing silly beggars, something like top 2 teams getting 2 home games in group stages of ai series

    The league is such a brilliant competition its such a pity the latter stages are undermined by the looming provincial championships. Its alright for dublin and kerry who can put their feet up until the round Robin begins but for the likes of derry who are going to war with donegal in a few weeks time they are bound to be distracted

  13. For me this is a no brainer. We shouldn’t be anywhere near a league final so to ensure that we aren’t, I would select a much changed side with a view to getting competitive game time in to those who are returning to fitness, and, help to add experience to some of the fringe players that we will need later in the championship.
    I think we can see where McStays eye is with regards to his championship 15, and there are probably 9 or 10 certain starters who have a jersey nailed down already. That leaves 5 or 6 starting places up for grabs, plus another 5 or 6 who we will need to come in from the bench during games to help provide options and drive the team on to finish strong. In total that makes up to 12 jerseys still to be decided, that’s 80% of a team! The lads in that category need to be given a serious opportunity to play their way into those jerseys and McStay has to see them perform in a seriously competitive game. Derry will provide a serious test and it is in this game where we should take the opportunity to trial and test those players.
    I would ask the simple question….risk v reward, what’s the benefit? For example if we play it risk free, field a very settled and strong 15, compete in the game and maybe win it, what is the real reward in that? What have we learned? What can we take from that game and bring it forward into our championship preparations? The answer is nothing. There is no reward where there is no risk.
    On the contrary, if McStay decides to take a risk in his selection by fielding an inexperienced, disjointed team and he is willing to run the risk of a bad result and take the subsequent fallout that may follow, but, he learns who can operate at that level, who has the potential to be a starter now (or in the future) or be a sub coming in off the bench, then the rewards could be much greater than just the 2 points on offer for the match. Look further down the road than just the 2 points on offer v Derry. At the end of the day the 2 points are meaningless in the bigger scheme of things. If we win Connaught we won’t give a damn if we won the Derry game or not.

  14. I think we should go out to win but championship should still be in focus, players coming back from injury or recently back need game time Waiting for the Monaghan game as some have suggested is not enough. Players do not recover form from one game. The GAA have ruined the league with the compressed schedule. It is ridiculous that teams should be avoiding a final and the last two games are skewed because different teams have different objectives, some want a final, some want to avoid a final, some are fighting to survive, some are already safe.
    Why should spectators pay good money to go to games where their team may be resting some of their main players.

  15. I would not consider Carney, Coyne, McBrien, Callinan, Durcan, Flynn, McLaughlin, DOC or O’Donoghue. They all have had plenty of football to date, or are rehabbing from injury, and regardless all bar McLaughlin are certain starters.

    Brickenden, Tuohy, Reid, Conroy, Towey, Cillian, McHugh, F Boland, McHale, Hession, Ciaran Boland, Ruane, Loftus and Plunkett, for one reason or another, would all benefit from a good hard match. 14 players there who could do with a good “blow-out” to help towards form and/or fitness. I’d like a look at another keeper as opposed to Hennelly as a back up. Where is Byrne or Jennings?

  16. @pebblesmeller. I kinda get your point but for me it’s hard to judge a player playing with a more or less B team. I’ve stated this lots of times for example take someone like frank irwin and maybe towey. Put those 2 in with a full championship team with players who are comfortable on the field and can guide them through the game or put them in with 13 others nervous and fighting for their own place and afraid of making a mistake I’d imagine we’d see a better performance in the 1st scenario so maybe some players can be unlucky and fall down the pecking order from not showing what they can do in the right circumstances. All this needs to be taken into account so for me I’d leave plenty of experience on the field Sunday.

  17. @Pebblesmeller. You’ve nailed it.

    You can add James Carr to the list of those needing a game. Hes the sort of player we need to peak at just the right time and be at his best in June and July. If there is any risk though then we need to keep them back.

    Its a bit of a conundrum. I want us to go toe to toe with Derry but don’t want us to pick up any more injuries.
    I don’t want us to lose the game but don’t want us anywhere near a league final either. I think we look no further than Mickey the other week who had no qualms about resting half the Derry team. The same should apply to us on Saturday and let the result be what it is.

    Hopefully we come out of the game on Saturday with no injuries. Too many times over the years we have gone into the championship with numerous men down. If we can keep the large majority fit we would still be a match for most.

  18. @pebblesmeller

    You make a fairly convincing argument there, and yes I would defo agree that some lads (like Ruane, Carr need a full 70) while other key men with knocks (like Durcan etc) need wrapping in cotton wool.

    Aside from that I think we need to go as strong as possible for the following reason. We have no idea where we are at right now.

    Derry is a free hit and a great opportunity to find out if some lads really have the stomach/quality for it or if we have kicked on from last year. They are the type of disciplined fit outfit we struggle with over the years so we could learn a huge amount.

    The downside to last seasons good early season form was that it painted a false picture. McStay stuck closely with the same starting team (give or take a handful) throughout fbd/league and championship and it was too late in the day before we realised it

  19. Always plan to win. Rotate players as necesssary. In the unlikely event of winning with a weakened team, those players get the bonus of league final, and maybe new stars unearthed.

    IWhy should it be a question of whether to play to win or play to loose.?

    It only ever is a question of which team plays.

  20. Always play to win but f you rest several key players the team knows this game is not a priority and maybe the ultimate effort is not there [Tyrone game] It can have a phycological effect. Of course the players who get a chance should be giving maximum effort. Regardless the priority right now should be to have the maximum panel game ready for championship

  21. Interesting listening to James O’Donoghue talking about the importance of the pre-season games for him (the recent TFP interview with Paudie and David Clifford). As a fella fairly prone to injuries, he knew the longer he went without game time the more liable he’d be to pick up an injury when he did get back to playing, he liked playing every week. Very important lads get rest when they need it but where/when that ‘need’ is will differ wildly from player to player.

    Goes very much hand in hand with what Peter Hughes (ex-Derry Rehabilitation Physiotherapist before he got stolen off to the New Zealand Rugby 7s) used to say and actively do with the Derry lads under Gallagher. Playing week in week out can increase the risk of certain injuries, especially if not balanced properly with training workloads, but it can greatly increase robustness against others and when managed well make a player far less susceptible to many problems.

    Important to get minutes (and confidence) into the panel. Not always nearly as obvious who the players to be rested should be or why.

  22. I’d expect we will name a strong team for this one. Mcstay won’t want a hammering from the top team so far in the league let’s see if we can go toe to toe with them as others have said to.

    Then try out guys for monaghan game.

    Looking forward to this one mayo by 3

  23. Play every game to win and play best available team , I would feel there is more players injured in training and warm ups and not fully committed in a game than there is injured giving everything in a game.

  24. We don’t need to field a strong team because we don’t want to end up in league final!!!
    We have a big panel of players so let’s use them for this one , We should still be reasonably competitive

  25. League has the potential to be a great competition but by the time Round 6 comes along it takes a strange turn with only the teams in danger of relegation going flat out to win . That’s such a pity. As was said earlier the way to avoid this is to get rid of league final and have the top team as league champions. We don’t really know who wants what at this stage. We reckon Derry may wish to get to league final but are not so sure and I can see no reason why Dublin wouldn’t want to win it as they have a cakewalk in Leinster. Likewise Kerry in Munster. The counties in provinces with a bit of jeopardy such as Connacht and Ulster may not be so keen. We have won it twice in recent years so it’s not such a big deal for us now.

  26. I’ve thought on the whole thing of playing lots of games, isn’t there a bit of survivor bias involved?
    I heard referenced by Tyrone pundit that a study showed players get less injuries if they play regular games.
    But.
    Sure if a player gets injured, well, the next thing happens is he misses the next game(s).
    I’ve noticed that players with pace have no capability of playing lots of games. These are the players that blow hamstrings. Almost all our players with pace have had soft tissue injuries over the last two years. There have been SnC advocates that pacey players need a much lower mileage workload.

  27. @Pebblesmeller has 100% nailed it. Both posts sum up my thoughts. His/Her/They first comment shoukd be added as a vote option on the poll 🙂

  28. I disagree with the notion that squad players need to be played in a full strength team, to see how good they are. If a player is good enough he will stand out no matter what players are around him. Attributes like pace, height, strength, and technical ability, dont go up a few levels just because Paddy Durcan and Ryan are running beside ya.

    Its actually more important for the squad player to be played against a top team to be honest. We all heard about Toweys 105 points against some bucks on a jolly in the U.S. Great for Paul, but chalk and cheese in terms of top level I.C football.

    Yes new lads learn a lot of from the best players, and in game smarts and cuteness can be seiriously improved by playing along side them. But in terms of footballing ability, your either good enough or your not, no matter who’s playing with ya.

  29. The team that starts will be interesting. If eight changes like was made before the Tyrone game then it will highlight that the management aren’t too worried about the result and more focused on getting minutes into certain players.

  30. I want to see us do something about our midfield and half forward line.
    Here’s where we stand.
    We won’t find a fielder.
    We won’t find an elite wing forward.
    We have a surplus of defenders with pace.
    In my view we need one of our top athletes like Eoghan McLoughlin to midfield.
    We could be brave and attack the wing forward jerseys with Enda Hession, Paddy Durcan, Tommy Conroy and Jordan Flynn All four players.
    The idea is we create attacking disruption by togging the quickest 8-12 jerseys set of players in the country. This is ensured by being brave with holding subs. Bit of left field thinking like first half subs.
    Our propensity to just go with traditional use of our pacey wing backs means our dangerous pace is too far down field.
    If you win the half forward versus half backs battle it elevates your midfield and full forward line. It creates goal chances with overlaps, it leads to penalties and black cards.

  31. I have mixed thoughts on starting line up but would tend to go with a fairly settled team to start. I would prefer to have few few panel players mixed in with first teamers from a confidence perspective, in particular as I would expect Derry to put in a big performance. Our first sign of weakness was the Monaghan game last year, and this type of performance was repeated in the championship.

    We need to learn how to win tough games, we are fooling ourselves if we think that if we played our strongest team that we would win. If required, we could be more adventurous in the team selection for the Monaghan game, but beating a competitive Derry could have positive benefits come a tough championship game in April/May.

  32. Our performance against Derry will be a good yardstick as to where we are at in our season..
    An opportunity to find tune out championship team and bench.
    Carney has taken over the role of Loftus as director of our movement from defence to attack and is doing a top class job imo.
    I still think McBrein has a lot more to offer at 6, and expect thats were he will line out in championship. He is a confident assertive operator with the pace to make incisive runs.
    Our weakness still is taking long range points, we are over reliant on working ball to ROD, and reluctant to have a go when the opportunity presents itself from distance. That said Boland is a huge addition to our half forward line.
    I would have no worries about Ruane and Conroy finding their best form for the championship but I’d be trying Towey in remaining two games

  33. @margie.i imagine you’re referring to my post regarding squad players playing better with a strong lineup. Your point is fair enough but I stand by my opinion. imagine derry put out a full team v mayo team with lots of the non regulars and halftime score 2-10 to 6pts and the team are taking a tanking there’s no way a player could be judged on that game if the whole team had collapsed.Now compare that with a game of mostly first teamers and a competitive game where everyone gives their all and I’d imagine the new recruit will have fared better. I know this is all hypothetical but I’m just trying to get a point across.

  34. @No doubt exactly.. If Derry put out their strongest 15 and we put out a team like the one v Tyrone we will get absolutely hammered I know most of us don’t want to be in a league final and even if we beat Derry I think it’ll be a Derry /Dubs final.

    I know leagues for trying players etc and only league but I feel we need to go strong for this one as I’ve a feeling harte will name his strongest 15.

  35. Derry were beaten easily enough by Dublin. Mickey left half the team out but that result will count for very little later in the summer. The same applies to us on Sunday. It’s more about getting minutes into the legs that need it most and avoiding injuries.

    We will be cursing on Monday if we pick up injuries to key players that didn’t need to play.
    6 points at this stage allows us to pick our fights and we’ve done OK against Kerry and Dublin so the result is almost irrelevant on Sunday.

  36. Ah ref pod saying carr was playing in a v b game in bekan last weekend , be good to see him play on sunday.

  37. We said @JP re half forwards.
    And at all underage levels top players / athletes should redistributed and trained in other positions so whem it comes to senior team we have a proper balance of talent. This ongoing issue of always having a shortage in one or two positions should not be happening. Mayo GAA needs a proper strategy around team development, consistency and continuity.

  38. @MrTed: Interesting point… though not sure how much I’d agree. Very open to having my mind changed though if you’d care to try!

    I’d have thought that was one area they were doing pretty well on, relatively speaking. Any specific positions you’re thinking of when saying that? (I’m guessing it’s between midfield, wing forward or full/inside forwards? But can’t think of any recent teams where we didn’t have our best options for those positions playing in those positions. Maybe a case for playing Sam further forward at 8 or Jack Fallon further forward at 14… but even those I’d have question marks over)

    Seeing lads like David Dolan or Colm Reape being moved back to keeper and doing amazingly well, John MacMonagle or David McBrien moving back to full back as rocks when needed, Callinan, Coyne or Dawson back to man marking corner backs, or lads like Diarmuid Duffy, Enda Hession or DO’C liable to show up anywhere from 2 to 15 for club or county as needs arise shows we’re certainly not afraid to retrain or change up how someone is or can be used.

    Where we’ve tended to hit issues is having specific types of players (be it physicals for midfield/wing-forward [or full-back in the past] or mentals for high-scoring forwards even at high pressure) playing at incredibly high levels in specific positions. A far harder thing to achieve than simply redistributing young lads.

    A number of years ago you’d have had good money on Dylan Thornton, Ethan Henry, Connell Dempsey or Liam Óg Horkan to be pushing into elite level first teamers at wing forward around now (all lads like Frank Irwin still with huge potential and could well push into the panel or team yet in the future. Huge fan of all the lads mentioned) or lads like Conor Diskin, Mark Moran, Brian Reape, Colm Whelan or Ross Egan as likely lads pushing for inside forward spots. All fellas young enough to still make an impact, not writing any of them off at all, but shows just how challenging it is to predict who might make the breakthroughs and where or when it might happen.

    Glancing at the underage sides at the moment the only thing you’d fear we’re short on is big, tall, dominating ‘old-school’ midfielders (though important to remember how young the likes of Reid, Tuohy, McHugh, Duffy, Feeney or Cunningham are who could all still make impacts there yet as they mature/grow/bulk), an incredibly difficult balance of physical, athletic and mental profile to find at the best of times. Not sure we’ve really got bodies to try redistributing to that role, at any grade. We’ll probably be making do with more mobile players and working on their ability to leap/field (RO’D one of our best ball winners despite normally giving up inches to markers) rather than unearthing the desired Aido-esque mythical giants.

    We could always do with a bit more height/size among defenders & attackers (hard to judge that kind of thing too early as at u17-u19 lads are potentially still stretching) but in terms of tight man makers, speedsters, royles-royce cover every blade of grass grafters/runners and, probably most importantly, scoring forwards we’re as healthy as underage as we’ve looked for a very long time. With a lot of those players able to show up & do a serious job in a variety of positions.

    I’m really looking foward to the 20s to see where the likes of Diarmuid Duffy (played unbelievably for ‘robe normally at 6 this year, is almost the perfect balance of skills & talents for a modern wing forward as he lined out for the minor side in ’22, could do a great job in the middle as he lined out for the minors in ’21 [struggled with the physicality but he was playing a year up at the time] & could literally do a great job from 2 to 15 if asked), Conal Dawson (has been used corner back, wing back and wing forward in recent years for club and county) line out or how someone like Darragh Reilly (a relatively new face for many of us on the county scene given how much of his time was spent with the likes of Evan Ferguson on Ireland underage/schools soccer squads in the last 5 years… though always ripping it up for Parke the odd time he did get his hands on the O’Neills) might be used (usually a dangerous scoring wing forward when I’ve seen him for Parke, but another that could cause teams serious headaches anywhere from 2 to 15) might be utilised given the other options available in a very exciting forward unit.

  39. @TsuDhoNim

    I was also considering Sam Callinan as a midfield and I’d be curious to hear your concerns.

    He’s not the high fielding option we believe we need, but I would have seen him as a potential James McCarthy style player.

  40. Cheers frosty. I’m out of the country so that’s brilliant. I have to say I cannot understand the gaa…. lads having to play on St Patrick s day.

  41. @FrostTHammer: Yeah, I’d imagine he can/could definitely do a job there. Vague memories of seeing him do it there once or twice (guessing it must have been for Ballina but can’t picture who they might have been playing).

    No concerns on him as a potential midfielder, he’d be great, it’s the cost of losing what looks to be a truly phenomenal 6 (I would hope to see him evolve from tracking their stand-out danger men to becoming one of ours from centre back) that I’d worry about. Especially when he’d the likes of Bob Tuohy, Fenton Kelly and Jack Fallon around him at the time (with all 3 of those in and around or very close to the squad at the moment).

    He’s probably never going to be that dramatic fielder but you’d imagine he could do a serious job breaking (solid aggression)/scavenging (pace) ball on opposition kicks and with his pace always offer an outlet for our own kicks to space/in his path so plenty of pros even around his biggest con.

    Don’t imagine we’ll see it this year (think we’d be more likely to see Donnacha, Eoghan or David used out there if/when a defensive option is needed) but I’d be surprised if we don’t see it used an option in the future, like we used to see Lee out there, for both club and county.

  42. I agree there should not be a game on St Patrick’s day. It’s a family day. Parade has to be brought forward. The traffic is going to be crazy.

  43. @tsudhonim.that’s a very insightful and well informed post. Good to hear about the players not really in the limelight.

  44. @TsuDhoNim

    Thanks for that.
    Mirrors my own thinking.

    Donnacha is the guy in possession, but numbers mean so little in the modern game.

  45. Looks like weather be decent for game and fairly mild which is nice bonus.
    Initially i thought we would have a lot of changes in this round to see if we can develop squad depth, but as get closer to it I feel Management will stay conservative and go with near exact same team again, bar maybe Ruane for McLaughlin and Tommy in for Towey.

    Hopefully I am wrong and likes of McHale, McDonnell, O’Donoghue, Plunkett and Towey can get a chance to see if they can be viable options. Otherwise likely to be going well with same panel as last year and year before more or less with Fergal back obviously.

    Was good to hear on Ah Ref pod that McLaughlin running, so injury not as bad as looked it seems.

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