The point raised by Seán in the comments yesterday is, I think, worth a bit of an airing. He posed the question as to whether or not it’s worth our while thinking about calling up some reinforcements in the forward line ahead of the All-Ireland series. I think he has a point.
While Conor’s flouncing off into the sunset is the obvious example that can be pointed to when discussing our diminishing options on the bench, his absence isn’t the only problem facing us in this sector at the moment as this piece in the Mayo News illustrates vividly. Definitely out for the quarter-final are both Pat Harte and Aidan Campbell while Evan Regan is currently nursing an iffy hamstring. Seamus O’Shea – who could be a half-forward option – hasn’t featured for the county in a competitive match for months, although he has lined out for Breaffy in recent weeks.
I never saw the full teamsheet for the Connacht final but, based on the programme for the Leitrim match, it looks as if the forwards we had on the bench in Hyde Park included Micheál Forde (who, I know, could equally be deemed as cover in the half-backs), Michael Conroy and Alan Freeman. Am I missing anyone?
With Conor gone and Pat and Aidan definitely ruled out of action for the August Bank Holiday weekend this means that we have arguably three forward vacancies on the bench for Croke Park. Who might fill this gap? Names that spring to mind are Danny Kirby (releasing him from the panel just a few weeks back now looks to have been a wee bit previous), Darren Coen and Conor O’Shea, all of whom featured on the panel at the start of the year and who all saw action in the FBD.
I know the FBD isn’t exactly good preparation for Croke Park in August but then again neither is turning up at HQ with a dearth of forward options off the bench. It looks as if a combination of a few late call-ups plus some reshuffling among the lads already on the panel (which we could be forced to do anyway in the course of the quarter-final) is the best option facing James and his selectors at this stage.