Six championship debutants in Sunday’s team

While I was making my way northwards over the course of the day today in gloriously ash-free skies – in the process being treated to a number of jaw-dropping views from 40,000 feet including this one of the Sahara desert – details of the team and subs for Sunday’s Connacht championship opener with London in Ruislip this coming Sunday (throw-in 3 pm) were released.

My thanks to those who put up the team details here on the site earlier on while I was suffering all those hours of WiFi deprivation cooped up for the most part in a big beast of a Boeing 777. The fact that this info has already been public knowledge for several hours obviously means that most of you will already have seen and have had time to digest it all but, as much for my own benefit as anything else, here are those details again.

Mayo (Connacht SFC v London, 29/5/2011): Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Alan Feeney (Castlebar Mitchels), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites); Richie Feeney (Castlebar Mitchels), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Chris Barrett (Belmullet); James Kilcullen (Ballaghaderreen), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber); Aidan Campbell (Swinford), Alan Dillon (Captain, Ballintubber), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen); Trevor Howley (Knockmore), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole).  Subs: David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites), Dermot Geraghty (Shrule-Glencorrib), Peadar Gardiner (Crossmolina), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Eoghan Reilly (Castlebar Mitchels), Lee Keegan (Wesport), Trevor Mortimer (Shrule-Glencorrib), Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), James Burke (Ballymun Kickhams), Enda Varley (Gayymore).

I’m a bit too knackered at the minute to engage in any kind of exhaustive (or even cursory) analysis of the team selection but here are a few quick facts.  The team contains six championship debutants – Hennelly, the two Feeneys, Kilcullen, Gibbons and Doherty – and you’d have to say that all six, with the possible exception of Gibbons, are undoubtedly deserving of a starting place come Sunday.  While I’m a fan of Gibbons, I think that it might have made more sense to give the other midfield spot to Aidan O’Shea but maybe the thinking is that the two lads who have been picked will complement each other to a better degree.

No starting spot for the likes of AOS, David Clarke and Peadar Gardiner is also, I suppose, a bit of a talking point but, to be honest, only Aidan is likely to have been in with  a real decent shot for one of the fifteen starting places on offer. I’d say it’s almost certain that we’ll see him on the pitch at some point on Sunday.

The return of the Shrule-Glencorrib pair Trevor Mortimer and Dermot Geraghty is worthy of mention, in that it confirms the recent reports about their late, late call-up to the panel for the championship.  This being the London game, they may well get to see some game time.

Other talking points: Alan Feeney at full-back? Ger Cafferkey (not injured at all it would seem) in the corner? Donal Vaughan starting at six? Aidan Campbell holding on at 10 despite the claims of others, notably Aidan O’Shea, who may have operated as a third midfielder? Trevor Howely named at 13 but unquestionably with the brief of acting as a seventh defender?

Question, questions – there are certainly  plenty of them but my poor brain is now on the point of keeling over so I think I’ll leave the consideration of those particular queries to another time.

UPDATE: As Mayo Man pointed out in the comments last night, there are six championship debutants in the team for Sunday (James Kilcullen was the one I’d missed), so I’ve now amended the post to reflect this.

13 thoughts on “Six championship debutants in Sunday’s team

  1. I think Jimmy Kilcullen is a debutant as well WJ, which makes it six. Quite an amount of debuts for the one game.

  2. Well spotted – he of course is, having fallen out of favour with Johnno prior to the start of the 2007 championship and having not played for the county side. We’re closing in on Leitrim and their seven championship debuts at this stage!

  3. Four possible debutants on the bench – Cillian O’Connor, Lee Keegan, James Burke and Eoghan O’Reilly, each of whom could possibly see game time to get rid of the opening day nerves in a relatively easy environment.

  4. cant believe Gibbons got the nod over AOS. Aidans performance V Cork at mid field in the league obviously didnt leave the same impression on James Horan as it did on me. I saw nothing from gibbons to suggest that he is up to this standard.

  5. On the seventh defender and corner back calls. In my opinion the ideal candidate for the seventh defender position would be Keith Higgins. He has speed, is a natural blanket defender, a good distributor and can attack at pace as well.

    But that leaves us short in the corner. I don’t know about moving Ger C to the corner though. Frankly the fella does not have the pace required for that position. Ok, he may have against London. But against Galway and maybe Nicky Joyce?
    As well as that what is the point of now playing him out of either the position of FB (where he has been for last number of championship years) of CHB (where he has been for all this years League)?

    I understand the idea of having cover for the CHB position but that should not merit the fact that Ger C has to have an automatic additional place on the team. In fact I don’t see the point of playing him at Corner Back at all. It’s a bizarre call and someone else should have been given an opportunity there.

  6. I am glad to see Donal Vaughan at no. 6, I believe he has potential to fill James Nallen’s boots, given time.He needs to avoid getting drawn into tussels away from play, as he will get yellow cards, I am sure james Nallen will advise him.
    Team seems as strong, as it can be at the moment, considering that Ronan McGarrity, Seamus O Shea and Keith Higgins are injured and waiting to come in

    .I would like to see Kevin McLoughlin and Aiden O Shea given game time but a strong bench is very important.
    I wounder how many of Leitrim’s debutants were on their junior team that played against Mayo juniors in the championship in Aughamore a couple of weeks ago.

  7. i susupect and would hope that the non selection of AOS is with a view to hopefully giving him the proverbial kick up the back side before his inclusion in the galway game. he is a better footballer at midfield than the current pairing.

  8. I have been out of touch for a while but has something happened that I am not aware of to account for leaving Aidan O Shea out?
    I would have thought he was a certainty.

    Kicks up the arse are fine and sometimes necessary but my experience is that a clap on the back and a vote of confidence can be important too.

  9. Im afraid AOS is already looking like a player who will require ‘the proverbial kick up the back side’ for the next number of years. Bags of talent but the fact he cant get into the side at the moment, when in the very early stages of rebuilding says a lot. Hopefully he can turn it around. Couple of strange choices-Cafferky at corner back doesnt sound or look right. As JPM says above, if its just to keep him in the first fifteen then they shouldve started a regular corner back and left it between AFeen and GCaff for No.3. Hopefully the new lads can provide some fight to the team that was so sadly lacking last year, not sure how much will be learned on Sunday but its the start of a new campaign and it surely can only be an improvement on last year.

  10. I am glad to see changes from our league teams.
    Last year some posters were saying that certain players deserved a place on our championship team because they played all our league games–we saw how that turned out.
    just one wish–our backs to defend mainly & get good fast ball to our forwards.

  11. this game is beyond analysis its an exercise in back slapping for the gaa in london its of limited value to us as a team. its a financial burden on our county board. it a no win situaton for horan, hope all the lads come through injury and suspension free.

    tactically we can assume TH will act as a sweeper, i feel the sweeper should be a plan B and be deployed in game when primary possesion is not bein won or when runners are doin damage. by deploying it immediately a manager is bein overly cautious. surely in certain games it is better to go for the jugular…….

  12. I suppose Cafferkey is there because we have stopped producing corner backs in Mayo. He certainly is not imposing enough for full back as we have painfully found out over the last few seasons, whether he is any better in the corner remains to be seen. The AOS exclusion is very dissapointing as I thought this might be the start of his revival, but he must not be doing the business. He may not make it all at IC level and could go the way of Parsons. Those two looked like they had the something extra that would push Mayo on, but now they can’t even make the team or the squad in Parsons case. I suppose Freemand and Doherty came from nowhere which kinda compensates.

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