The team to face London in this year’s historic Connacht final at McHale Park on Sunday (throw-in 2pm) was named this morning. Here it is:
Mayo (Connacht SFC Final v London, 21/7/2013): Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Chris Barrett (Belmullet); Lee Keegan (Westport), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber), Richie Feeney (Castlebar Mitchels); Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Darren Coen (Hollymount/Carramore).
So it’s four changes – two enforced – from the team that started against Roscommon in the semi-final last month. The injured Kenneth O’Malley (who was himself a replacement for David Clarke the last day) is replaced by Robbie Hennelly, the Breaffy man swapping a seat in the stand for the goalkeeper’s jersey as he makes his first championship start for the county since the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final. Injury also rules out centre-back Donal Vaughan where, in what for James Horan has to be seen as a surprisingly radical move, Keith Higgins shifts to 6 to create a truly eye-watering half-back line. Chris Barrett gets the nod to fill Keith’s place in the corner.
In the forwards, Cathal Carolan and Enda Varley are the unlucky men to give way, with Andy Moran making his first championship start since the day he did his cruciate against Down last August while the enormously promising Darren Coen gets his first championship start at corner-forward. Richie Feeney was meant to be a doubt due to a reported stress fracture in his foot but the Mitchels man is named to start at 12 while Alan Dillon – a man who knows better than most what it’s like to play through the pain barrier – lines out at centre-forward.
The list of subs hasn’t been released at this stage and most likely won’t be until Sunday.
Looking back to the last time we played London – on that almost fateful day back in May 2011 – Sunday’s team contains seven survivors: Robbie Hennelly, Tom Cunniffe, Richie Feeney (who played at half-back that day), Chris Barrett, Andy Moran, Alan Dillon and Alan Freeman.