Four changes for Saturday night

We’ve named our team to play Dublin on Saturday night, with four changes from the side that lined out against Donegal last weekend. Here’s the team we’ve picked to face All-Ireland champions Dublin.

Mayo (NFL Division One v Dublin, 2/2/2020): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); Padraig O’Hora (Ballina Stephenites), Oisin Mullin (Kilmaine), Brendan Harrison (Aghamore); Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber), Colm Boyle (Davitts), Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels); Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber); Fergal Boland (Aghamore), Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet), Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), James Carr (Ardagh), James Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels).

So it’s four changes from the Donegal game. In come Robbie Hennelly, Michael Plunkett, Kevin McLoughlin and James Durcan, while out go David Clarke, Tom Parsons, Bryan Walsh and Brian Reape. While it’s a first League appearance in 2020 for both Robbie and Michael, Kevin and James both featured off the bench in Ballybofey.

Saturday night’s team also features a host of positional switches – to the extent this means anything nowadays – from the Donegal game. By my count, Paddy Durcan is the only player on the starting fifteen who will be wearing the same number on his jersey – no.7 – on Saturday night as he did up in Ballybofey. Is that some kind of record for us?

No sign of the Dublin team yet, of course – they usually hold out until close to throw-in before they deign to release team details so best not hold your breath ahead of that particular development.

63 thoughts on “Four changes for Saturday night

  1. Definitely, Best of luck and congratulations to Stephen Coen…big honour to Captain your County!

  2. Forwards look very light weight. Not many there able to win 50:50 ball. Backs will be under serious pressure

  3. It seems a weak selection to me particularly in midfield. DOC really needs to start upping his performances and the forwards are definitely on the light side.

    Still I suppose fellas have to be given a chance.

    Surely O’Hora won’t play in the corner and I’d say they’ll be some changes before throw-in.

  4. James Horan is certainly in experimental mood. I’d say that Dubs looking at that lineup will be expecting their outfit to chew them up and spit them out. I myself will not be expecting a win but you would never know what surprises lie in store. Castlebar here we come, God willing.

  5. Is it a case of power being sacrificed for pace? Not sure what advantage that will give on that shit surface in MacHale park. In any case good luck to our lads. No doubt they’ll get stuck in and fight like dogs no matter what the result.

  6. One of the forwards won’t start ( prob Carr) and Aidan will start, in the hope to crowd the middle and use the pacy forwards inside. Big night for players 1 to 6 in particular, Hennelly needs a solid, meltdown free performance against Dublin while all the backs apart from Durcan need to show they can handle a Dublin forward, and that includes Harrison and Boyle.

  7. Congratulations to Stephen Coen he has been captain to three all Ireland winning teams so here’s hoping for a fourth,decent team named hopefully they will play to their best and set down a market for the future,hope no injuries for either team and a good game to help us retain the league title

  8. Is stephen the captain for the year ?. if he is i think he is a great choice for captain.he has great experience and has being a lucky captain with mayo winning minor and under 21 all-irelands.after last saturdays night lucky breaks we got this could be the year we get lucky and finally land sam.I really am looking forward to the dublin match and hopefully mayo get stuck in to them and win the match i really think MAYO can win it.

  9. Hope that is not our starting team or I would fear we could be in for a long evening in Castlebar.

  10. It is a good thing that Horan is experimenting against Dublin. That is the purpose for this league campaign. Build experience that will stand to them in the summertime and in future matches. Obviously we all would hope for a win but it would be better for the new guys to get experience than the older guys to compete well and lose out by a couple of points.

  11. I think people should cast their minds back to the league game in Croke Park last February when Rob Hennelly was voted our man-of-the-match.

  12. Hope they get their cogs right and not be sliding all over the place again. Some of them looked as if Ballybofey was a figure skating championship.

  13. Couple of positives
    1) GK change was because Donegal specifically targeted our kickouts last week. It was as much about lack of options out the field but Hennelly would be able to improvise quicker when someone comes free. Dublin could otherwise hammer us on our kickouts.
    2) Durcan in because he stuck his hand up last week, good to see that rewarded.
    3) O Hora is sticky and we’ve loads of half backs so good to see him inside.
    4) Diarmaid in MF is a good idea if it were just to stop Fentons raids alone. Anything he does offensively is a bonus.
    On the minus side I’d be worried about Mullen FB as inexperienced. Also thought Flynn didn’t do quite enough in MF last day but he’s a big lad and an option on kickouts. Maybe wing will suit him better. Expect Aido on for Carr if he’s carrying a knock.
    Tom P was considerably better than some say in first half the last day, I suppose Stephen deserves his chance there too .

  14. Mobility and speed seems to be key attributes for this team against Dublin – which makes sense. Dublin play at such speed and intensity you really need 15 great atheletes on the field.

    Agree that forward line looks very light as (presume Flynn will play as 3rd MF) especially as Dub defenders are strong men. That said though, there is speed and great passing ability there in O’D, Durcan, Boland if we play in a way that suits them. I assume that we wont be playing too much of that 50/50 ball in to the FF line like in 1st half against Donegal – which really did not work out.

    Anyone know what happended Gary Boylan – was looking forward to seeing him in the league but no sign yet.

  15. Blooding players all over the shop but back and forth with goalies no 1 and 2 which ever one that is….who’s no 3 and must be very frustrated……no wonder omalley cleared off to rossis, can’t really blame him…as for dubs, is it not we past time we really did try and put down a marker for later in season against them as Kerry at least tried and let them know last weekend they weren’t up to bow to them …dubs have hammered and bullied us in league down the years and have physiological advantage on us come championship time and looks like will continue with this line up…hope I’m very wrong… like we did last sat nite up in donegal and it will be a long nite, thet wont be dropping balls into hennellys paws…they be flying over him or past him…….

  16. Hennelly’s kickouts are the stuff of myth at this stage
    Every time he doesn’t play they improve……..”but Hennelly would be able to improvise quicker when someone comes free. Dublin could otherwise hammer us on our kickouts”
    Have we all really forgotten about the last time we played Dublin already……….
    Or even the last few minutes against Galway in FBD for something more recent

    For christ sake there isn’t another team in Ireland that does this . For a bloody reason!!!!! Clarke doesn’t concede a goal, makes an excellent save along the way that we just take for granted cos its Clarke and absolutely commands the area around the goals and his reward is to be dropped??????? We are absolutely heaping pressure on his kickouts with this nonsense imo. Every game he plays it is in his mind

    Can not understand why another BACKUP keeper was not tried in FBD/League. Leave Clarke number one and stop undermining his confidence at every turn and let another keeper get experience.
    We have seen time and time again when the chips are down Hennelly AND his much fabled kickout go to pieces.
    And yet here we are again……..
    Whats the definition of madness again…….

  17. I think starting doc in the engine room is a good choice, normally we start jack Barry on fenton to keep him busy and his absence proved costly for us as Fenton did as he pleased. He is by far and away the top midfield player in the game and the team that doesn’t have a plan for him will lose in my opinion.
    It’s good to see some new names on the team and I look forward to seeing them over the season, your backs better be hungry on Saturday night as that dublin forward line will ask serious questions of them. I was talking to a buddy who knows his stuff and he reckoned that both Kerry and Dublin could be a little flat after last Saturday’s battle, both teams served up a feast of football and to do this in the month of January showed what bragging rights to all concerned. One edge we have is we have Galway at home and hopefully we will get the two points, in Castlebar I’d imagine the sight of a Dublin jersey will get the adrenaline pumping in the Mayo lads and indeed in the stands as well,,,
    Good luck and I hope ye do the necessary

  18. I was pleasantly surprised by the condition and cohesion of the Dublin team last week against Kerry. As posted before, this Dublin thing is a machine that has reached amazing levels of efficiency, almost regardless of personnel.
    It remains to be seen whether we are still seeing momentum that is carrying forward from the Gavin era which may dwindle over time or if the institution that is the Dublin Senior County Team really is a self-maintaining beast that will sustain the consistency and even improve. The signs are good (if you’re a Dub) that its the latter.

    In the interests of a competitive battle, I’m hoping the Mayo side is well-organised and is able to get max return from that forward line.

    Once again, baffled by the Mayo goal-keeping strategy though. It suggests there still isn’t a consistent game-plan based on consistent kick-out delivery. Have people not learned how crucial the goal-keeper-as-quarter-back role has become?

  19. I would imagine numbers on the backs might not mean a lot on Saturday. It will be about match-ups. Since we don’t know the Dublin team yet it won’t be clear who plays where. In fact a bit surprised that James named his yet. I think Saturday would have done so as not to give Farrell any advantage.

  20. It’s hard to see a Mayo victory, as Loreto road points out the Dublin setup is now a machine producing players that are as fit in January and February as they are in June July and September. Look at how o Callaghan, for example but not him alone, has developed physically in the last year or 2, from a normal looking lad to looking like a professional rugby player and flying fit year round.
    Anyways, we will go along and see what happens I suppose. I’d say if Mayo are within 5 points at the end of it and have let mullin, ohora and the likes have the full game to get the feel of it, it will be considered a good evenings work. Best of luck to them all and let’s enjoy the evening regardless.

  21. Interesting to see the stopped clocks are still out having their sly digs at Hennelly again. Time that craic was stopped and people got behind the players. How quickly his performance in the same League fixture has been forgotten. Funny too how the annihilation we got as a result of poor kickouts against Dublin in the 2017 fixture seems to have been pinned out the outfield players.

    As for another keeper – if there was one good enough I’m sure he would have been tried by now.

  22. Cant believe Horan has chosen Hennelly over Clarke especially with a third keeper keeping the benches warm and no doubt getting more and more disillusioned with county football by the minute, would have been very interesting to see O’Hora and Aidan starting together in midfield now that would have upset Dublins plans on marking Aidan out of the game

  23. The problem for Hennelly is that whilst he’s good at shot stopping and with kick-outs he’s continues to be unreliable in the air and in commanding his area. That means that whilst he can produce excellent performances (Dublin in league last year) he can also make mistakes (against Dublin in semi-final last August he messed up a kickout straight to a Dublin player and also soloed out with a ball under the Hogan, lost possession and cost us a point).

    Yes Clarke makes the odd mistake too….but not nearly as frequently as Hennelly. For me its disappointing that he hasn’t ironed out that aspect of his game in the last 10 years.

  24. The keeper debate is so boring at this stage! It’s like groundhog day.

    The query re: Gary Boylan…yeah where is he?

  25. pointing the car West at 2pm and heading home for the first time this year. Really looking forward to the game, close to 20k expected I believe? Should make for a great atmosphere. What more can the newer lads ask for at this time of year? huge crowd, the greatest team of all time coming down the road, I hope they’re chomping at the bit for a cut off them. I’d go as far to say that the result doesn’t really matter and we should all head into this one with a positive mindset and not let our record against Dublin weigh us down. We have to play with a freedom and not get sucked in to trying to stop them, if we do that we’re done for, though I appreciate easier said than done. The target must be to try and outwork them and see where that takes us, and ensure we’re headed for a must win game in Meath with a positive mindset. Finally, whilst I’d never doff my cap to the Dubs, they are a fantastic exponents of our great game, who’ve gone where no team has ever gone. I hope our supporters give them and their supporters a warm and respectful welcome to McHale Park tomorrow evening – h’on Mayo!

  26. Only four players that started against Dublin in the league last year start this weekend for Mayo.


    None of the 6 forwards from last year are named to start.

    McDonagh O Shea Treacy
    Moran Reape Doherty

  27. Agree Spotlight….can Clarke’s issues not be worked on?… surely he can improve himself and be coached on his kickouts?….eg golfers improve putting. Too much S&C and not enough actual ball work. IMO once a player has made the county grade he/she it should then be all about improvement… doesn’t seem to happen with Mayo setup. Definitely does with Dubs.

  28. Hard to get a coherent kickout strategy in place when two keepers with very different styles are being rotated in and out alright ………
    It’s madness
    No other team does it

  29. The people criticising Hennelly might do well to cast their minds back to our last league meeting with Dublin when he stopped them from utterly humiliating us by stopping several goals. They also might do well to cast their minds back to the last league in general and think about what a great league he had.
    Furthermore to suggest that Clarke’s poor kick outs are something to do with people undermining his confidence is laughable. No. His kicking style hasnt changed over the years but the role of the goalkeeper has and his kicking style is simply too easy to attack. This is obvious. Other teams have cottoned on to his style in the last couple of years and his kickout is a known weak link now. Sorry if that offends but it is a fact.
    The issue here is that James Horan seems to have no kickout strategy in place, doesn’t seem to have looked into the option of a third goal keeper and until this is sorted, we won’t win an all ireland and we’ll be having the same conversations about goalkeepers come the end of the championship.

  30. Agreed
    Incidentally the mayo news stats from last weeks game
    Clarke 21/28 , 75% and second half after the changes in midfield 100% (I think )
    Patten 15/19
    He was 100% at HT
    And he is perceived as being one of the best in the business For kickouts .
    One other stat
    He conceded two goals
    Clarke conceded none. Again

  31. Team Sheet – anyone within an asses roar of the stephenites will tell you how hard Clarkey has worked on his kick outs over the last number of years. The comparison with practicing putting doesn’t make any sense to be honest. Clarkey’s style of kicking isnt going to change because ultimately its dictated by his physical shape, he’s maxing out with what he has, plain and simple. His short kick outs tend to be successful but require huge work rate from the half and full back line. His long ones require a different strategy from our outfield players to win possession, which at best, is likely to result in a 50:50 success rate. He’s not going to add any length to his kick outs either at this stage. We are where we are on that front, there’s not much more to say on it to be honest

  32. Interesting interview with 22 year old goalkeeper Paddy O Malley in mayo news also
    I’ll summarise
    He still wants to play for mayo and would love to have been given the chance as even 3rd or 4th choice to “learn off the likes of Clarkey”
    Also questions why keepers are not brought in as part of development squad to be coached………..

  33. Exiled in Dublin in that case then we have to assume that Mgt have weighed up all the other goalkeeper possibilities and have determined that no other option is better than what we have. Because im not saying Clarke’s hasn’t made.the effort but he hasn’t evolved like Cluxton did. Cluxton has improved year on year in every facet of his game….. along the with other player in Dublin set up. Let’s be frank Mayo players have not.

  34. I wouldn’t be too disheartened by this team . Reckon Horan has picked on form and fitness. I think Coen will pick up Fenton and do a man marking job on him . I’m also bored with the goalkeeper debate . We should have a good bench to call on . League is the only place to blood new players and good luck to them. 4point loss and I’d be happy enough.

  35. For one; I’m happy to see Hennelly back in goals. This fellow has received some amount of criticism (most of it overboard) and still puts himself forward. He is a damn great keeper & I think we get more success with his kickoffs than we get with Clarkes. There is very little between Hennelly and Clarke in the shot-stopping department (both keepers are outstanding).

    @km stats you posted do not reflect the full story of Donegal game. Clarke when short (very very short) in second half and any ball that travelled more than 15-20 yards tended to hang in the air (except in first half and his first kick-off which I thought he executed superbly). The effect was even with winning position we were very far back and really on the back foot. We all know this and we all know Hennelly with right kick-off strategy can give us more. We all know this too! Clarke is supposed to be great in the air and commanding box with a high ball, but he wasn’t so hot against Donegal when he came out to contest one high ball. The others where just balls dropped short. There wasn’t a cohort of people on here ready jumping up and down calling for him to be dropped nor should they have been. It was a mistake and we got away with it (simple as). I do not feel the same treatment is given to Hennelly.

    I ain’t on here to confidence others about who should be picked or not. I’m just trying to balance the debate up a little. I find it vile how cohort individuals are out to criticise Hennelly from the get-go which isn’t really on. End of the day they’re both Mayo footballing superstars and out there giving it there best for the team, for supporters! I think people should remember that.

  36. Micheal Schlingermann was in the development panel last year and Rory Byrne is there now. If new players are good enough (O’Hora, Mullin, Flynn etc) Horan will give them a chance. We can only assume Clarke and Hennelly are the 2 best options around. Horan worked with O’Malley at Westport btw so I’m sure is well aware of his capabilities.

    Both Rob and DC have pros and cons to their game. These have been done to death at this stage.

  37. Well said, A Mayo Fan. I too am uncomfortable about people having a go at both keepers, in particular Robbie who is the target of the vast bulk of it. What’s on the site is the more reasonable stuff, I’ve had to delete or not allow up at all other far less reasonable comments.

    As a minority have pointed out, both players have positives and negatives to their play, both have performed well for us, both have also committed howlers in matches. If it was an easy decision then every manager we’ve had since 2011 would have made that easy choice. Likewise, if there was an obvious new option I think we’d have seen him by now too, though I do agree we should be doing more to develop and coach our possible next no.1.

  38. Is it any wonder Hennelly loses his confidence ,when the crowd are sighing when he is soloing out with the ball as it happened several times against galway, it is very unfair on the player, ironically he is a lot more comfortable at this than Clarke

  39. Agree there with Jp2…. While in the overall scheme of things I too am surprised that more hasn’t been done, with to improve the efficiency of David Clarke’s restarts, given that he is undoubtedly the best best shot stopper, and the safest hand’s in the business… ..In Ballybofey last Saturday something that was irritating me in the stand, particularly in the first half, was David Clarke would place the ball for the restarts, stand about One Foot behind the Ball, someone from Mayo would make a run, David Clarke would then take a few steps back from the Ball, before he attempted the kick, .. However the time taken to take the few steps back from the Ball, gave the Donegal player’s time to mark the original Mayo player who made the early run in the first place… Has also to be said, that Mayo were being cleaned at Midfield in the first half this reducing David Clarke restart options… From the man in the stand point of view, some very simple changes to David Clarke teqnique and cheorography of his place kicking would improve his effency …Of course it would have to be coached and worked on… Hennelly also has had many superb match’s for Mayo…I wish him well on Saturday and hope that Robbie has a very good Match… So I will go along with what Jp2 says… seems like a Guy that knows what he’s talking about as regards Goalkeeping…Of course the original JP 2 was probably the most famous Goalkeeper that ever came from Poland… Anyway whoever is lining out for Mayo, deserves our support, let’s not turn on ourselves or any of own…. It’s big enough of a challenge to beat the mighty 5 in Row Dubs all pulling in the same direction… Let’s do that on Saturday!…Up Mayo!

  40. Horan for me doesnt seem to know or is unsure of who the best young players in the County Under 25 are.Where are the likes of Cathal Horan, Conor Diskin , Sharoize Akram, Cian Hanley, Seamus Cunniffe, Jack Reilly , Conor O’Shea and Evan O’Brien.Some of the players hes picking are too light to compete against the Dubs in my opinion.

  41. James Horan can do no right in some people’s eyes. From what I’ve seen in club football all the best players have got a go with the county. The best club player not involved this year is Andy Moran.

    Nephin20 – 5 of those players were on the panel last year and not deemed good enough to remain. 2 of them left of their own accord and went to America.

  42. Nice to see a good few young lads, (sorry, they’re all young) or less experienced lads being named. Even with a few changes on the day it’ll still be a fairly unfamiliar bunch.
    It’s good to see regardless of the final result. We have sent out way more experienced teams in January and February against Dublin and got fair trimmings.
    As for the goalkeeper thing. . . Jesus wept.

  43. We all know that many new players are badly needed this year, think back to our two games in 2019 v the Dubs, the thumping in Croker last February and the 2nd half collapse last August.
    No better way to test guys out than v the Dubs.
    Could be a quick rebuilding process plenty of experienced guys to help the new fellas.

  44. We’ll said AMayofan.
    Bottom line is both keepers have given Mayo so much.
    Really is unfair to criticise either.

  45. My thinking is that Dublin and Kerry are going out guns blazing far too soon in the season. Championship football in January!! James is right to be trying out young lads now and I would far sooner see Aido left on the bench until his fitness levels improve for more important games v meath and Monaghan. We don’t want him getting the usual injury he gets this time of year every year and then has to play through it for the rest of the season at half tilt. We all know Fentons mobilty and how he is probably the best midfielder in the country right now. Let the young lads have a cut of him.. nothing like it when you get a chance at the very best to see where your at.

  46. Real test for what is an inexperienced team, there are 6 or 7 players with limited time playing the top teams like the dubs. This is worth doing, and we will know more about their potential tomorrow evening. Our key games in terms of points are Meath, Monaghan, Tyrone and Galway.

  47. Changing keepers again? Crazy stuff. Just pick a keeper and leave him there. Jesus wept

  48. Holy shit – Farrell all out to win early silverware this spring. Goin to be some schoolin’ for our young bucks tomorrow evening. Give it socks lads.

  49. DUBLIN (SF v Mayo): E Comerford; E Lowndes, D Byrne, R O’Carroll; J McCarthy, J Small, E Murchan; B Fenton, B Howard; N Scully, P Mannion, C Kilkenny; K McManamon, P Andrews, D Rock.

  50. 1 – 4 the only ones that you might call inexperienced in the team and they have all been involved for a number of years. Curious that the Dubs are playing such a strong selection, but we do need to try new players in tough games. If they stand up to this test then a real positive for the future, whatever the result tomorrow.

  51. Good article on James Horan and his shear belief in mayo football.
    When building a panel you have faith in all the panel.they won’t improve sitting on the bench.
    Looking forward to tonight win or lose.

  52. I think it’s a very hard decision for the mangement to make regards the goalkeeper situation. They are two brilliant keepers. But I think the mangement are right tonight to go with Robbie. Do people not remember his performance last year in the league against the Dubs when only for him we would be embarrassed altogether. Also his kicks out last year in the 1st half against Dublin in the all Ireland semi final were top class. Then the Mayo team tired and there wasn’t much he could do. Robbie has a great record against Dublin and has never let us down league or championship. I know Robbie had a bit of a melt down against Galway a few weeks back in the FBD. These things happen and it was his only his 1st game of the year. Anyways looking forward to this evening. It will be interesting to see how the younger lads get on. I’m not a man for questioning mangement decisions but I think Aiden O Shea has to start. Hopefully everyone gets behind the Mayo lads tonight.

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