Fresh faces in the frame for the FBD


With the 2016 senior panel flying out to South Africa today for a 10-day break (no, before you ask I’m not sure where in that country they’re headed but, wherever it is they’re going, the weather in that part of the world looks a good bit better than here right now), the county’s 2017 campaign will get going this Sunday in the absence of the players who went so close to claiming Sam for us last year.

Stephen Rochford’s first assignment in the new year comes in the form of a pre-season FBD League clash against NUIG at MacHale Park this coming Sunday, where throw-in is set for 2pm.

As was announced the other day (piece in The 42 here), a number of players have been called into the panel for the FBD and most of them are likely to see action on Sunday. This call-up should see senior debuts this month for the likes of Rory Byrne, Donie Newcombe, Gareth O’Donnell, Michael Plunkett, Fergal Boland and Liam Irwin.

In addition, David Kenny, who started against IT Sligo in last year’s FBD, and Neil Douglas, who has made a number of appearances in both the FBD and the League in recent years, are likely to get game time over the coming weeks. Sunday could also see the very welcome return to the fray of 2012 All-Star full-back Ger Cafferkey.

The Mayo News reports today (paper and digital formats) that Jason Gibbons, who is also included on the list of those called up for the FBD, has gone on the South Africa trip so he won’t be available to face NUIG. That piece by Mike Finnerty states that 2016 panel members Robbie Hennelly, Shane Nally, Michael Hall, Conor Loftus and Conor O’Shea, as well as the recently-married Barry Moran, didn’t go on the holiday.

I’ve no idea if they’re all fit and ready for selection on Saturday but Mike Finnerty says in that article that, the U21s’ North-West Cup match against Derry the day before notwithstanding, Stephen Rochford is likely to dip into Mike Solan’s U21 panel for some reinforcements for Sunday’s senior inter-county opener.

In short, then, regardless of whatever team is named to start on Sunday it’s set to be one featuring a very significant amount of experimentation. Well, it is only the FBD after all.

54 thoughts on “Fresh faces in the frame for the FBD

  1. No matter what anyone says I am extremely proud of the Mayo players and I hope they have an absolute massive, memorable and enjoyable holiday. Thanks for your extreme efforts last year and good luck in the new year. Red and green forever.

  2. Thanks Willie Joe and Happy New Year!

    Looking forward to some of these fresh faces. However on close reading of Mike Finnerty’s piece, I note that he say Cafferkey will not be playing as the hamstring injury still hasn’t cleared. This is worrying. Also Gareth O’Donnell will not be playing due to injury.

    Maybe Rochy will have a word with Maurice Sheridan and get a few NUIG players to make up the numbers!

  3. Possible team based on who is available

    Rory Byrne
    David Kenny
    Ger Cafferkey
    Donie Newcombe,
    Michael Hall,
    Shane Nally,
    An other
    Conor O’Shea
    Gareth O’Donnell
    Conor Loftus
    Fergal Boland
    Michael plunkett
    Brian Reape
    Liam Irwin
    Neil Douglas

  4. @Done Deal
    From your list;
    Ger Caffekey – not playing in the FBD still recovering his hamstring
    Michael Hall – Groin injury not playing
    Gareth ODonnell – Not playing injury
    Leaves 11 players in total!!
    They’ll have to call up some U21s and other fringe players to make a match day panel.

  5. Lads whilst blogs like this are good for the maniac supporters who we all are it can also provide problems in that it can accelerate or explode small problems or matters. A small issue is made huge in our own minds. Time for us all to circle the wagons and draw a deep breath. We need to become even more cynical with outside forces. We need to destroy all opposition without mercy. We need to ignore commentary from outside our group. Let national journalists, ex players from other counties, other managers and all other counties supporters (especially those nearest us) go fxxx themselves. Who cares what they say? Time for us to support our large green and red family. Buy your jackets, scarves, warm gloves and get out and support the county from now until September. Add in the club when the club activity starts and don’t forget the underage matches. Trust and believe.

  6. The best of luck to all the squad for 2017,lets get behind our great team and management in unity and look forward to a great year Hon Mayo

  7. Looks like we are short at the back. From the U21’s Eoin O Donoghue has gone to South Africa. Seamus Cunniffe should come in at FB, Akram can fill one of the vacant hb spots, Boland and/or Plunkett can also play hb and fionan duffy can come into the forwards.

    Surprised Darren Coen wasn’t given a callup, He scored 1-23 in 4 games with the Juniors last year, looks like its the end of the road for him, Micheal Forde and Adam Gallagher if they cant make a squad less 26 players from last year.

    Looking forward to the weekend, U21s playing Saturday against Derry in the NW Cup. Should have 12-13 of last years group still underage

  8. Thanks Catcol/JP – I didn’t read that Mayo News piece close enough and missed the bits about Ger Cafferkey and Gareth O’Donnell not being involved in the FBD. I understand that another one on that list of players called up has picked up an injury in the last few days so he’s unlikely to feature for some time either. No point in naming any names, though – the story will be confirmed no doubt in due course.

  9. Would like to see Mayo follow a similar plan to Donegal in this years McKenna Cup and field an u21 team in the FBD, even if it were only against the college teams where the physicality and age profiles would be quite similar.

    Also mayomessi I saw somewhere that Adam Gallagher is playing for NUIG, here’s hoping he impresses Rochford.

  10. Akram and the other U21s who are still playing U20 are unlikely to feature. I would not be suprised to see some of our stalwarts of last season getting game time pending injury and other activities such as Vaughan, Stephen Coen and Doherty. Surely there’s a panel of 26 selected and would have had at least one training session together, but realistically the results in the coming weeks will not hugely impact the business end of the season.

  11. Leave the U21s to the Northwest cup you don’t need to be flogging U21 players with two games in two days they have enough with the Sigerson cup around the corner also.

  12. There are some of the U21s that Michael Solan doesn’t need to run the rule over this weekend in the North West cup. The likes of Seamus Cunniffe, Akram, Matty Ruane and Fionan Duffy will all be starting in the U21 championship. They could make up the numbers in the FBD game on Sunday instead.

  13. My prediction of up to 12x U21 winners making the Senior panel by 2020 might happen a hell of a lot faster than expected…..well at least for the short term anyways…!! Or else a few of us on here might have to tog out to help make up the numbers on Sunday for poor aul Stevie !!!

  14. Could I plead with the social networkers and Club 51 over exuberants to tone things down on twitter and social media generally.

    What we don’t need is a load of Mayo4Sam 2017 nonsense. The joke has been done. It’s not funny anymore, and we all just look ridiculous until that silverware is in our hands.

    We have a great team and a great management with a good year ahead of us. With a bit of luck we can do a lot of talking come next October, but these lame jokes only serve to allow others to talk down the team and are attributed to the team (as stupid as that is) and they don’t need that.

  15. i agree with mayomessi,Darren Coen is an exceptionally talented footballer and had he been at least been on the bench for mayo over the last 5 years, mayo would have attained the sam maguire,ditto for Niel Douglas and conor loftus ,these are natural footballers the have that vital ingredient that cant be taught or practiced on.Irwin and Plunkett also great prospect.i feel mayo have a two year window to complete project sam maguire.

  16. So from what i can see, it seems that those available include

    Loftus, Irwin, Reape and Douglas.

    These are who i wanted to see getting thrown in there, even if a full panel was available.
    We need to see what these fellas can do.

  17. I understand that people are looking for new players to be brought on to the panel, but given Newtons 3rd Law, who would people drop to make room for them??

  18. I believe we dropped these off the 2015 panel last year Ronaldson Conroy Sweeney Krrby and Cunniffe . The year before it we dropped Enda Varley Darran Coen Adam Gallagher.

    We had 15 backs in last years panel if we include Cafferkey and they have mostly been together for 2 years or more. Nally and Crowe broke into it last year. This will be the hardest group to break into. We also had 13 forwards plus Barry Moran who can also play there. Reape and Carolan were the new additions last year

    McLaughlin AOS DOC Doherty Andy COC
    Loftus Dillon COS
    Regan Freeman Reape

    None of last years additions made any contribution in the championship.reape is different to the other 3 as he has enormous potential. I can see a couple of new faces coming in but not wholesale changes.i believe that Daren Coen Douglas Adam Gallagher have more to offer than some of the current forwards. It’s a big year for Conor o Shea still haven’t seen what his best position is. Don’t want to see midfielders that can play in forwards. I want to see forwards that are scoring forwards which we are sadly least there is room for improvement in loftus Regan and Reape.

    Our midfielders SOS Parsons Gibbons and Barry on top of this we have players we can play there like Coen. Not a bad idea to try out options on what else is there it there as they aren’t getting any younger. Ruane will come in time. Not sure if he is starting for DCU this year would be a sign of his progress.

  19. Happy all these guys getting a chance and I see some getting caught in type casting Akram as a half back. IMO he should be used as a half forward cause our strength in depth at HB line means he won’t break through there. Has pace to burn which we know from Paddy Durcan is a great attribute at intercounty level. As far as I recall he was a wing forward for minors.

  20. Good posts there Shuffly and Messi.

    Agree that Akram just oozes class and feel he has the ability to make it anywhere, and half forwards, with his pace and intelligence, could be just the place. Still, Rochy seems to be biding his time with him.

    On Darren Coen, he has been tried, he really has talent, but managers don’t seem to be able to nurture it – so far. Adam Gallagher’s lack of pace is a problem. Pace isn’t everything as many have posted, but in an attack that is lacking it, particularly the FF line, that IS a negative. Dougie – yes, let’s try him.

    Disagree on the midfielders. We need to find rangy, high fielding, mobile, very mobile midfielders who can score. Matty Ruane fits this bill even if he needs S&C and probably nurturing, but who better than Rochy to develop him? Am excited about O’Donnell though I haven’t seen him and am just going by what posters are telling me, but who better to keep us informed? This is one of the glories of this site – the little nuggets that keep popping up after club games that below the radar, all choreographed superbly by WJ at the helm.

    I feel our current midfield squad have lacked something at vital stages of all the big games, good though they are.

  21. Agree with Mayo Messi – think people are getting false hope that some U21 will burst on to the scene this year and solve our attacking problems – It just doesn’t happen like that, particularly to burst onto a team in the top 1-2 teams in the land. I really do think that we tend to look for the next great underage white hope, they get limited chance in FBD or one or two league games, they don’t shoot the lights out, are dropped into obscurity and we move on to the next big hope. Only the very exceptional can make that sort of impact, the Gooch or Peter Canavan. If I’m correct, Bernard Brogan, Dairmuid Connelly, James O’Donoghue, even Padraig Joyce etc were 23-24 before they started to make any sort of mark at senior level. I do believe we should be looking at the best underage forwards some 2-3 years ago, U21’s the years pre the U21 winners, to be making an real impact now…but how many are in the team / squad now? Regan is the only ones to my mind and he has been in and out. Coen and Gallagher for example are 22-23 now, surely they should be in consideration right now or have they suddenly become such bad players that they are not even considered within for a 3rd Mayo team in the FBD? Unless you are in the window of U21 or on a dominant senior club team, then you will not be considered and I feel this is a problem in Mayo. Coen has put up very big returns for both his clubs and Mayo Juniors paths to all Ireland finals in recent years while Gallagher, if I recall, got little or no opportunity after putting up big scores during the early league in 2014.

  22. Adam Gallagher had a hip operation early last year or late 2015. It is only this year he will be getting back up to fitness. Possibly this hampered his pace in 2014/15. If he goes well for NUIG it will help him.
    Our midfield as a duo have tended to not be an attacking platform. Used more to secure posession and provide defensive cover.
    It’s a bit unbalanced. I expect some changes in our midfield selection and match switches this year.

  23. Padraig Prendergast is another man to keep an eye on, as he is meant to be in great form for Louisburgh at the moment.

  24. Our U21 from last year had 9 players going to DCU. Only Diarmuid o Connor was on their Sigerson Cup team. Four ” Reape Akram Plunkett and Ruane were on the Fleshers league and championship winning team.

    I see that Akram and Diarmuid played in the Ryan Cup league final in November, the only 2 from Mayo. Dublin last year from the Sigerson Cup Final had Fitzsimons, Davy and David Byne, McCaffrey and Mannion. If we are expecting these young players to make a different they should be standing out among their peers and getting into these Sigerson teams as they are competing among county standard players

    I also see that DCU and UCD are drawn in the same group as Dublin in the O Bynre Cup. DCU play Dublin on this Sunday. I believe Colleges and Universities have first options on players unless the rules have changes. If this rules Akram out at least he can get experience playing against the likes of Dublin.

    I do believe Ruane is the future and he needs to be brought in sooner rather that later but I’m not holding out for an immediate impact.

  25. Interesting stuff there Messi. However I don’t really mind if the guys didn’t make the Sigerson team, they delivered the goods for us in the U21 championship. However, Akram getting game time against Dublin would be good, great in fact.

  26. @ Mayomessi
    I agree. If our lads can’t get on the Sigerson teams (or even on the panel) then they are unlikely to be the game changers we seem to be looking for at Senior level. I also agree with others that it takes a while (2 or 3 years) for a young fella to make a real impact at senior level particularly at all ireland level. There are exceptions like Diarmuid O Connor but I don’t see too many like him around.
    Id be surprised come the summer If we didn’t see most if not all of this years forwards in place. The only one I see possibly making a real breakthrough is Conor Loftus. Then again you never can tell.

  27. @mayomessi
    Freshers players were and are not allowed play Sigerson, hence they weren’t eligible anyways.
    The Dublin players you mention are bar Davy Byrne 22 and an u22 last year, a fair bit older. Mannion/Mccaffrey are playing senior since 2013. Fitzimmons is since around 2011.

  28. I see in the connacht telegraph that Conor o’shea, Loftus and Reape will be lining out for their colleges this month. Good to see that Reape and Loftus have made the Sigerson panel for DCU but it leaves us very short on numbers for the FBD.

  29. @JP,
    i agree with you, but the point im making its the older players that are making the Sigerson teams and County teams . Its players like Fitzsimons and Davy Bynre that Dublin brought inlast year that stood out in Sigerson football. Akram may be going against this rule as he is still A u20 player. Can’t expect young players to come in to do the business straight away. From last year we already have o Donoghue, Hall, Coen, Diarmuid, Loftus and Reape involved. With Boland, Plunkett and Irwin that makes 9. That should be enough for now and let the rest of the U21 stay were they are

    Players involved last year and still under 21 are Flanagan, Ruane, Murray, Akram, Cunniffe,Barry Duffy, Fionan Duffy, James Lyons, James Carr not to mention Reape and o Donoghue

    The idea of a fresher is any player can play if its his first year of football in college. There can be 2nd, 3rd or 4th year scholars but they can play if they have never played before. If they are good enough they can be fast tracked into the senior setup. Reape, Plunkett Ruane and Akram were freshers in the 2015/16 season and are eligible for 2016/17 sigerson season. Akram has already played for the senior team.

  30. Forgot about the two kiltimagh lads TJ Byrne and Forkan. Forkan played in the junior all Ireland final. Kilkenny from aughamore. Should be a tidy U21 outfit this year too.

  31. @wide ball
    Missed your comment before about the Connaught telegraph articles. Looks like we are down to 7 outfield players and 2 goalkeepers. Interesting to see who gets drafted in. Also interesting to see if reape or loftus lines out for DCU against Dublin on Sunday

  32. I thought the Dublin senior team were gone to Jamaica on holiday? leaving DCU to play some 2nd string Dublin team.

  33. There is also panellist Colm Reape who was involved last year.
    I’v said it before but the way it has worked out with lads available from last year gives us a strong U21 team again.
    In particular you have most involved again from 1-9.

  34. I think I heard Michael Solan say that 18 of the 32 that were in last year’s panel are available for this year’s U21 campaign.

  35. That is correct – over half of last years U21 panel are available again this year for selection. However, with the moving on of players of the calibre of O’Connor, Coen, Loftus, Plunkett, Irwin, Boland, Hall, Kenny etc it is going to be a very tall order for this years crop to retain their Connacht title nevermind their All Ireland title. Galway will be the team to beat this year with a panel of very talented young players from their very strong ’14/’15/’16 minor teams. Hopefully the Northwest Cup can help prepare our lads as best as possible for the big Galway game in March.

  36. You have the likes of Donovan Cosgrave I think who will get in as a strong U19.
    Then Jack Reilly and Fionn McDonagh as possibles to strengthen the forwards.

  37. O’Connor, Coen, Loftus, Plunkett, Irwin, Boland, Hall, Kenny etc is basically the spine of the side and main leaders gone.

    Mayos last two minor teams weren’t the best and the 2014 minors Hanley the clear stand out player in the team and it’s doubtful if The Connacht title would have been won that year without him.

  38. Akram is probably a 2 or 3 year project but sometimes a lads like P Durcan can come good in year 2 so it’s worth getting Akram involved asap as he has the kind of pace that could be very useful in the forwards.
    Agree that it’s only a few who make the cut at 19 or 20 and to Gooch and Canavan Padraic Joyce also managed that and Alan Dillon for Mayo. The O Connor Bros also but we know they’re exceptional. Adam Gallagher might come good again as he was a bit unlucky with injury, has plenty of time. We’ve all heard of Darren Coen’s skill which is something ye just can’t buy but what are the missing attributes that would make intercounty star? And can they be groomed.
    I expect when FBD done and dusted the 3 forwards coming to the fore will be Loftus and Regan again with another winter of S&C and Douglas who has worked a lot on his physique. Other than that I could see Kirby getting back if he’s in the winter programme as he made a noticeable difference when introduced for Castlebar against Corofin. Has the physique to bully full back lines. However Irwin is very similar in attributes and there may only be room for one of those 2 in league / championship.

  39. We should remember that Dublin introduced two players this year in the final replay who had seen very little game time in the last few years. Cormac Costello and Mick Fitzsimons. One kicked 3 points from play and the other got man of the match. So it does show that you need something different to win All-Ireland titles. Horses for courses as they say. I do remember Costello playing against us in the 2014 league game in Croke Park that we drew, so it does show that players can make a difference when they are given a chance and when they have the patience to wait for that chance. It’s very hard to remember any Mayo sub making an impact like that in the big games apart from Andy Moran.

  40. I’d be still positive about our u21s.
    In my view Akram and ODonoghue were the two most effective defenders last year and both are still involved.
    Ruane was the best midfielder and he is involved.
    All these 18 lads will be a year on. An odd lad slips back, but you’d expect 5 or 6 of the 18 to be much improved given the extra years experience. A big difference a year makes at this age.

  41. Goalkeepers Flanagan and Kilker,
    Full backs line O Donoghue Cunniffe Sean Conlon or Kilkenny
    Half backs Forkan Kelly Akram
    Midfield Ruane Barry Dutfy or Mikey Murray
    Half Forwards Colm Reape Carr Lyons
    Full Forward line Fionan Duffy TJ Byrne Reape

    I believe this is the 18 from last year, wasn’t sure about Harrison or Ryan Lynch
    Couple of players with senior club experience like Dylan Cannon Breaffy, Rhyne Collins Castlebar, Jack Reilly Charlestown, Oisin Horan Kilmovee, Liam Byrne Moy Davitts James McCormack Stephen Brennan, Colin Gill Claremorris may be added. Moy Davitts Conor Byrne seems to have disappeared but was a dual minor in 2013 and 2014 coming on a s sub and scoring fine points in the All Irealand run that year. We also lost Cian Hanley and Gary Boylan Belmullet from the 2014 team.

    Some Claremorris lads seemed to be very unlucky not being selected at minor level except for the latter. Proved still by getting to the U21A final that they are still around.

    Eventhough we haven’t had much luck with the minor teams the last couple of years there has been good individual players like Ross Egan coming through someone mentioned Donovan Cosgrove, Ryan O Donoghue Belmullet, Matthew Mackin Claremorris and Colm Murphy Balla were others. I expect a large group to viewed over the 3 North West Cup games as some of the top players may be left out due to college commitments..

  42. Peter Naughton from Knockmore is another forward that should feature. He played well against breaffy and castlebar in the senior championship.

  43. That’s as impressive a knowledge of up and coming players as I’v seen in a while mayomessi.
    There is Fionn McDonagh who is with Westport until they finish. Doing well at Intermediate level. A key player for Westport, he has good accuracy. But not an option until Westport finish in the championship.
    David Hanley is a tall midfielder from Burrishoole might get close.
    Peter Naughton from Knockmore will be close.
    Swinford have James Devaney goes well in a lot of their games at U21 and Intermediate.

  44. Derry have apparently withdrawn from the Northwest cup leaving it a three team competition now. Sligo beat Donegal by 6 points in the only game so far and Mayo play Sligo next in their GAA centre on Jan 14th at 6pm. With short notice like that and as seen with the final last year it seems to be a poorly run tournament and i think Mayo U21s would have better off playing in the Longford run Hastings cup or Laois run McNulty cup

    At least now any U21 picked this Sunday v NUIG won’t have to play twice in two days now but a few are cup tied because the Colleges have first pick in these pre season competitions.

  45. There is no announcement on Derry or Mayo gaa twitter so I think that the match is going ahead.

  46. Hi all- Does anyone know how much it costs to go to Mayo match against NUIG this Sunday? and are kids free? Thanks

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