Joe Kernan has named his team for Sunday (this is, I know, stale news as the team was announced last night but I was in bed by then, feeling like death warmed up and half the house down with the winter vomiting bug. It’s amazing, though, what a good night’s kip does – I feel fairly okay now as does everyone else Chez WJ). Here it is:
Galway (SF v Mayo): Paul Doherty; Garreth Bradshaw, Finian Hanley, Donal O’Neill; Declan Meehan, Garry O’Donnell, Niall Coyne; Joe Bergin, Mark Lydon; Paddy Kennedy, Paul Conroy, Niall Coleman; Sean Armstrong, Nicky Joyce, Michael Martin.
With the likes of Padraig Joyce, Mattie Clancy, Barry Cullinane and Fiachra Breathnach all out injured, Big Joe has opted for a fair bit of experimentation for his first proper competitive match in charge of the Tribesmen. He’s also decided to give Michael Meehan at least some of the afternoon off, with Michael Martin (who was full-forward on Galway’s All-Ireland winning minor team in 2007) starting at top-of-the-left. That’s a fairly potent full-forward line they have, especially when you consider that they also have Meehan waiting in the wings.
It’s also a side that’s heavy on midfielders, with Paul Conroy and Niall Coleman lining out in the half-forwards. Given our decision to start an out-and-out midfielder on the forty, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that the midfield sector could get a bit congested the next day. We could also have a fair bit of stopping and starting with all those marks that could be claimed around the centre.
It’s interesting, I think, to compare both sides’ line-ups for Sunday with the teams we both fielded in last year’s Connacht final. In this respect, it’ll probably surprise you (well, it surprised me at any rate) that our team for Sunday contains just eight survivors from the one that started in Pearse Stadium (Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins, Peadar Gardiner, Trevor Howley, Ronan McGarrity, Trevor Mortimer and Aidan O’Shea) while they retain nine of that team (Coyne, Hanley, Bradshaw, Meehan, Bergin, Conroy, Coleman, Armstrong and Nicky Joyce). We did, though, bring on Donal Vaughan, Tom Parsons and Mark Ronaldson in Salthill, all of whom are starting for us on Sunday, whereas none of their subs from that day are in their starting fifteen for this one.