Injuries update + venue change for Monaghan game


Photo: The 42

A quick one, just to provide an update on those who may or may not be available to play Donegal this Sunday, courtesy of this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants).

The good news first. Keith Higgins and Lee Keegan should both definitely be okay for Sunday. A number of other experienced players – Chris Barrett, David Clarke, Seamus O’Shea, Andy Moran, Alan Dillon and Michael Conroy – are all, according to that Mayo News piece by Mike Finnerty, back in training. How many are in the squad for Sunday, though, will, I guess, depend on how strong a team we’re in a position to field for this important fixture.

Mark Ronaldson and Stephen Coen, the latter fresh from his Sigerson Cup heroics, are also available for selection. With all the football he’s been playing of late, I’d be tempted to tip Stephen in from the start at Ballybofey.

Now to the not-so-good news. Kevin McLoughlin, Tom Parsons and Donal Vaughan – three battle-hardened players we really could do with the next day – are all still recovering from their respective injuries. The trio are, according to that piece, “all doubtful” for Sunday. Balls.

Definitely out for Donegal are Alan Freeman, Caolan Crowe and Kevin Keane. The Wesport player has been out since picking up that shoulder problem against Rosommon in the FBD while the other two have picked up knocks in training.

In other news, the paper is also reporting that the League match against Monaghan on 6th March has been switched from Castleblaney to Clones, reportedly due to capacity considerations. St Tiernach’s Park is a grand spot – I first stood there at the 1983 Ulster final and have had a soft spot for the place ever since – but it’s been a while since we played there. Indeed, since the blog’s inception I think we’ve only played there the once, and that was against Fermanagh rather than Monaghan, as Brewster Park was closed for redevelopment work then. That was back in March 2007 when this happened:

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50 thoughts on “Injuries update + venue change for Monaghan game

  1. Thanks for the update WJ.

    I love Clones. There is nowhere in the world like Clones on Ulster final day, though a league game on a damp day in March might be another story. Plus it cuts a good 40 minutes off the journey too.

    Massive game for us this weekend; hard not to be a bit nervous about it but I’d be quietly confident all the same, even with the injuries we’re carrying.

  2. Will that Monaghan Batchelor that was on Facebook last week make it to Clones…he wouldn’t have looked out of place on TV3 last night!

  3. The latest update leaves us very thin on the ground up front. From what we know the line up has to be something like this!

    Flanagan,D McHale
    Hall, Kenny,Ruttledge
    It will surely have to be a big defence day out. Scores will be hard to come by obviously. It’ll be an interesting venture for the new management and of interest to us to see how they deploy the limited but useful enough forwards. For instance if they happen to put MR at ff….not daft but unlikely,there ll be no big high balls offered…placed to his favour etc….easy stuff! AOS can move in for a while and the brother can move out etc.There are many options available so we can expect to see some thinking going on in Ballibo on Sun. Indeed the unavailability of so many of the first choice players makes these games all the more spicy.
    C’mon Mayo! Tough job ahead!

  4. I wonder what are the capacity considerations? It’s not like castleblayney wouldnt be big enough to host this game maybe lack of cover (roof on stand) for the supporters? Or maybe it’s switched because Clones is where Monaghan are hardest to beat.

    What injuries did Vaughan,Parsons get? I’m nearly sure the Mayo news said last week that Mcloughlin would return for the Donegal game. It’s seem Clarke,S O Shea are back sooner than expected.

  5. The latest update leaves us very thin on the ground up front. From what we know the line up has to be something like this!

    Flanagan,D McHale
    Hall, Kenny,Ruttledge
    It will surely have to be a big defence day out. Scores will be hard to come by obviously. It’ll be an interesting venture for the new management and of interest to us to see how they deploy the limited but useful enough forwards. For instance if they happen to put MR at ff….not daft but unlikely,there ll be no big high balls offered…placed to his favour etc….easy stuff! AOS can move in for a while and the brother can move out etc.There are many options available so we can expect to see some thinking going on in Ballibo on Sun. Indeed the unavailability of so many of the first choice players makes these games all the more spicy.
    C’mon Mayo! Tough job ahead!

  6. This game is a couple of weeks too soon for us. Donegal have this chalked down for 2 points around about last Christmas. This is a great chance for new players to taste Div 1 football at its best and gain some valuable experience. Great to see some posters include some of our new players in their selections. I went for Donegal to win this one and I think they will if they did not exert themselves too much on their training camp.

  7. Could be a weekend to go with someone pacey and mobile at midfield. What have we to lose? SOS, Barry Moran and Tom Parsons all out.
    AOS didn’t look so far like he had that ability to get from 45 to 45 for 70 minutes. He is strong defensively, but you do need that linkman who is also an attacking threat.
    Too early for Diarmuid OConnor to be in the rough and tumble of midfield.
    Gibbons is going to need pace to support him. Would not be suprised we go for someone shorter and pacier at midfield. A non-traditional player in that role. Someone has to make up for the loss of Tom Parsons mobility.

  8. A quick rescan of who is available 🙂
    Lee Keegan we have never got a chance to see him at midfield. I think freed up at midfield he could be even more of an attacking threat.
    Obviously be smart on opposition kickouts in who he picks up.

  9. In my view Keegan is the best option for there given how we want to play and our unavailables.
    Fast counter attacks and high mobility closing down. Given our lack of threat upfront you are adding in probably at least two or three more shots per game from Keegan. We know he shoots 66% when on form. Adding in an extra 2 points a game. Midfield I see him scoring on average 3 points a game.

  10. I like the idea of Keegan in midfield, the other speedster I would consider is Keith Higgins. Otherwise through Coen in the deep end and see how he goes. Parsons will be missed, either of the O Sheas could fill the role too, Connor has been in good form.. maybe too soon for Aido to be as effective there as we would expect though we could bring him out whenever we need a momentum change during the game.

  11. Keegan is the one who shows he is a game dominator regular at this level and able for the bigger guys up to Diarmuid Connolly size.
    Higgins a useful idea, just think a bit under powered. Coen not really dominant enough for Hollymount for midfield at this level.
    Would love to see Higgins freed further back in our defence. Try and get him kicking those long balls to our target men. That low bullet ball he is able to do. Drops out of the air very catchable for the forward with the trajectory on it.

  12. Keegan at midfield would be a great idea. He can dominate the area at midfield at club level and I would back him to do a good job in the middle at county level also

  13. My birthday that weekend so i won’t be able to go up. But no dought midwest radio will keep me posted.

  14. Hello, Just a thought as they are available would like to see Andy Moran start next Sunday. I am sure he is fit and would never let the side down. He has the ruggedness for the Donegal defence and might even get a spectacular point. And also why not give Alan Dillon the last 15mins or so. It would be a great statement to the ‘Oldies’ that they are wanted as part of the team. They would be the first to bow out if they felt that they could no longer complete at this level.
    You mentioned that Conroy was back training as well. He looked good against Kerry last year when he came on for Regan. .
    It may be that we are not seeing what is at our feet. There will still be time for Loftus, Regan, Ronaldson, Sweeney etc to have a go against Monaghan. Douglas and Kirby later.
    There appears to be so many options in defense now. As i have said before i know very little and am more than happy to leave it all to Management.
    There really are mind boggling combination all over the forwards and defense.
    C. 2.

  15. In my opinion, in most league games, a blend of maybe 8 or 10 established players with a few “squad” players and a few downright new faces should be used.

    I am happy to see Andy Moran or Alan Dillon in the league – but we must not postpone trying out the new guys. We need to develop them, we need to test them, we need to challenge them. By doing this we also challenge the “established” guys, which drives them to keep working and improving.

  16. Can the play the oldies till then end of the league meaning Dillon and moran and the younger lads a chance. I know this comment won’t go down to well.

  17. I ment keeping Dillon and Moran the 2 veterans till the end of league and give the younger ones a chance.

  18. I would agree with you to a point. However we need to look at Moran & Dillon to see if they are still up to it. Moran is tending to be a bit selfish imo. Remember the squad will have to be culled before the championship,

  19. I could see us going with a 26/34 that has pace and height. I really don’t see us having too many panellists under 6 foot if they don’t have pace. That’s just the physical reality that 2016 championship football will be. Look at Dublin and even Donegal now. All of their smaller players have pace. It’s very hard to get open from Johnny Cooper, it’s very hard to close down Ryan McHugh. That’s all pace related as prime reason added to their football intelligence.

  20. HSE,

    Saw that piece re Donegal but what I thought was more relevant to a Mayo supporter was the piece by Malachy Clerkin on Mayo Ladies player Sarah Rowe where she highlights some of the realities of playing for Mayo Ladies – and probably playing for any Ladies team.
    “Training on a pitch with two floodlights….we can barely see the other side….the pitch is an absolute heap” “MacHale Park….we get to play on it once a year for the Connacht final” “the lads complain that the game isn’t professional while we’d settle for a bit of food”.
    The bit about the training pitch is amazing considering that the Connacht Centre of Excellence is only a few miles down the road from that pitch. Is it so busy that it’s not available? Or is it so expensive to hire that its not affordable? My guess is it’s probably the latter.
    Clerkin makes the point that for any of this to change those players need to “be louder and bolshier and more willing to make things uncomfortable for the people in charge. The only reason it is seen as being okay for the best women footballers and camogie players in the country to bring their own food to training is that they don’t complain about it. The are literally empty vessels, making no noise” They are probably too busy training to bother.
    Some years ago there was much talk of the Ladies Fooball and Camogie being integrated with the men’s association. Where that talk went I do not know. Possibly it was the dream of the then President of the GAA and died when his term ended or possibly it died when the possible implications of the women expecting the same “terms and conditions” as the men hit home. However the reality is that things will not change until the Ladies insist that they should. Part of this change needs to come from the media recognising the reality of the ladies games, football and camogie. Next Sunday the national Sunday papers will hardly recognise that there is a round on Ladies NFL taking place. Mondays papers will summarise the entire Div 1 results in the same amount of space that a Div 2 men’s game will get, if that. RTE website ditto, their radio and TV may make a passing mention. It’s difficult to generate interest and sponsorship in that climate. This is probably an issue for most women’s sports which have separate governing bodies for men’s and women’s sport. Those women’s organisations need to get together to demand change. Back in the early days of the GAA the national papers gave the games scant recognition or coverage – until the Irish Press was founded and recognised the gap. This forced the others to up their game and the GAA really benefited.
    Personally for all my interest I have to confess that I rarely actually see Mayo Ladies. This dog is a bit too old to change its tricks for the relatively new game of Ladies football and has invested too much emotionally in the men’s team and it’s fortunes. But I would be more than willing to support any initiative to redress the balance for the women’s games.

  21. Really looking forward to the game now. I don’t know if you all heard elsewhere but there’s roadworks just south of ballybofey this past while with a few sets of lights so you might want to give yourselves a bit of extra journey time. It didn’t hold me up massively when I was heading down to ballyshannon the other week for the cork match but I’d imagine there will be a heavier volume of traffic this time.

  22. As far as I remember the main obstacle to the amalgamation of the Ladies and men’s game was the Ladies Association.

  23. AndyD, the ladies really are treated very poorly. Up until Tuesday evening, no one knew even where they would be playing Armagh, players included. It was only announced late on Tuesday night that they would be playing Armagh in Swinford Amenity Park, which if anyone does not know, is a very fine facility and match venue. Its a pity that’s the match is on the same day as our match, otherwise I’d be at it.

  24. How long would it take to get from charlestown to Ballyshannon Sunday??..roadworks/extra volume included!?

  25. Living in Sligo now so easy one for me this wked cant wait now for sunday , does anyone know when we name the team will it be 2morro.?

  26. Juan,

    The match is in Ballybofey which is a good 30 minutes further on from Ballyshannon on the way from Mayo. If there are roadworks the key to getting through quickly is to be there early. The venue is in the centre of town [the twin towns of Ballybofey and Stranorlar are really one town] so parking is not all that plentiful in the immediate vicinity.
    AA Route Planner gives a good guide of distance, time and directions.

    Mayo Mick,

    Swinford Amenity Park may well be an excellent venue. But I do not think it is a GAA venue. I was at the opening of a GAA park in Swinford a few years ago. 2012? when Mayo played Donegal at the opening. If the Ladies could not get an official GAA venue which I’m sure they would have wanted says a lot.

  27. A quick look online shows no beds available in the Ballybofey area which signals a big traveling support yet again. Don’t think we will outnumber the home crowd on this occasion though as Dongeal ha e a hug following too…taking 2 points down south will be all that matters

  28. AndyD,

    Thanks for that, dunno how i had ballyshannon in my head, ill set sail early eneough so. Will hold judgement on our chances till i see our team.

  29. Swinford Amenity Park is a community pitch/area. That is why the Mayo Masters play there sometimes. As far as i am aware the Swinford Athletic club used to do some training there as well. I know Swinford ladies club do all their training and play all their home games there as well. They havn’t played a game in the gaa pitch for years.

    I’ve had my own experience of coaching Mayo ladies gaa teams in the past. Lets just say fourth or fifth class citizens does not come near how bad things used to be for the ladies team I had involvement with. I remember once in particular the week before an All Ireland semi final we had to use half the astro turf in milebush because no club would give us a pitch to train on. Its no wonder the ladies game struggles.

  30. I see Mayo are staying on for a week in London after the championship match for training rather than going to warm-weather training. No chance of them almost missing the flight home this time!

  31. Just spotted Andy’s name up there in a sentence which also contained the word “selfish” Ok, admittedly and with the benefit of hindsight, those of us in the a Hogan Stand and those of us who watched it on TV later will attest to the fact that there was a ball that Andy could have more profitably used had he seen Diarmuid O’Connor (I think) to his left in the game against Dublin.
    But, Andy selfish??? Rubbish, poster. No more selfless and honest man has pulled the jersey over his shoulders than Andy Mórán.

  32. Every player that is only making cameo appearances tends to try too hardto impress just like novices. Give Andy game time now to see how he is.Going back to the drawn Dublin match i feel Dillon should have been introduced instead of Sweeney. We should not introduce inexperienced players in tight games–bring them in when we are winning well.

  33. Sweeney in his defence has been on a par with Dillons cameo appearances last two seasons.
    I dont really get the big furore over Dillon not being used versus Dublin. Dillon has not been one of the main men for at least two seasons.
    He would match up poorly against those Dublin defenders. Sweeney is probably a step quicker than Dillon at this stage.
    Nothing guaranteed that Dillon would have even got on that particular ball, nevermind score it.

  34. Sourceoftherobe says: I have to agree with you there. For my twopence worth Andy is still our main man.

  35. JP, in the debate about Sweeney v Dillon there is nothing guaranteed, in any area of sport. It’s guesswork, esp. for supporters who do not observe the players in training. However it has to be said that Dillon has had scant opportunities over the past couple of years, even less than Sweeney, but he is still hanging in there. In my opinion he deserves more than he is getting.

  36. Agree with you Andy.
    With Rochford and his backroom team in now I know there will be a lot of stats, sports science, observation of form, ability to play our system and thinking about opposition that will go into each selection.

  37. In rugby parlance we should either use or lose some of our older players. Kirby is another lad that very little chance—–when oshea went off in SF he was an obvious replacement. Was he on the 26 man panel or did we repeat the mistakes of 96 when we left Fallon of the named panel.

  38. I think Dillon would have been the right man in the right place with the last opportunity (that was blocked down) in the drawn Dublin game. he would have been more streetwise.

  39. alot of chat about the past on here and i think we should leave it where it belongs. In the past. were not goin that way. Were moving forward. Twill be interesting to see where we are at after 3 week layoff. Fitness levels getting better and few more guys back in the squad. League form should improve now and i would have aido at centre field wit gibbo.

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