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.