Ins and outs

While part of the reason why so many new lads have got game time in this year’s League campaign has undoubtedly come from a desire to blood fresh talent, it’s also surely due to the fact that so many of the established panel have been out injured this spring.

The exploits of players like Oisín Mullin, Eoghan McLaughlin, Ryan O’Donoghue, Tommy Conroy and Paul Towey – all of whom have impressed of late – shows the benefit of bringing in new talent. Their addition to the ranks undoubtedly deepens the strength of the panel ahead of the coming Championship campaign.

We could, though, do with seeing some of the more experienced players back on the pitch for the Galway and Tyrone games. Indeed, the injection of a few wise heads could make the difference between our playing Division One or Division Two football next spring.

In this respect, it’s good to know that some of the established players who have yet to see any action in 2020 are close to full fitness. A few of them could as a result, feature in our final two League matches later this month.

You’ll have heard James Horan on the podcast (here) clarifying the position in relation to a number of players. Speaking after the Kerry game, James went on to shed further light on player availability. The issue is covered in a piece by Edwin McGreal in this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants).

Ed reports that James said Cillian O’Connor, Donal Vaughan and Fionn McDonagh are all “very close” to returning to action. James added that this trio, plus Padraig O’Hora and James Carr, could be in contention for a place in the match-day panel against Galway.

On the minus side, James admitted that Matthew Ruane (who required surgery for a shoulder injury picked up on Sigerson duty with NUIG in January), Chris Barrett and Seamus O’Shea are all unlikely to be ready to return to action ahead of the conclusion of the League. In addition, Colm Boyle and Jason Doherty both remain long-term injury absentees.

On the podcast, James said that Liam Irwin – a player bedevilled by injuries in recent times – is still on the panel and is “working very hard.” Whether or not that means the Breaffy player will get to see some League action this year remains open to speculation.

Ed also states in that piece for the Mayo News that it’s understood Brian Murphy, David Kenny and Brian Reape have all recently been released from the panel. While it’s not a surprise that the first two have been let go, the departure of the Moy Davitts forward – who started for us in Round 1 of the League against Donegal – is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, following as it does Gary Boylan’s exit in recent weeks.

The reality, however, is that with the door opening right now for some players, this has to mean that the opportunity closes on others. Not necessarily forever but certainly for the moment.

The trick – and the magic of management – is making the right decisions about which players to back at particular times and which not. I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m glad that it’s someone else who’s entrusted with those tough choices.

36 thoughts on “Ins and outs

  1. I thought Reape deserved at least another chance to prove himself. He didn’t play that bad against Donegal was a bit unlucky to be taken off at ht. County football is a ruthless game. I have great respect for all players who put in the effort to get onto and stay on county panels.

  2. Was delighted to hear James on the podcast confirm that Liam Irwin is still on the panel. If fit, he can be the difference for us up front.

  3. Great to see this information been released by management to the Mayo news and the blog about whos in the panel or out or who has has long term injuries, it clears up any bad pub talk or rumours doing the rounds in the County.
    I hope it is done everyone so often from now on by Management.

  4. Willie joe just wondering whats the story with Brendan Harrisons fitness and Mikey Murray?? Havn’t seen Murray since the Galway Fbd game in which he gave a good display.

  5. There is a beautiful piece of evocuative writing in this week’s Mayo News by one John Gunnigan, if this Parish I think…I didn’t make that particular trip he so wonderfully describes last Sunday, but did so many is the day before that… It’s worth reading..

  6. We could tog a physicallystrong forward line of:
    Fionn McDonagh
    Ryan O’Donoghue
    Diarmuid O’Connor
    Kevin McLoughlin
    James Carr
    Cillian O’Connor
    Five players six foot or over.
    Five players with pace.
    Three players that are experienced and higher level.
    We are missing Fionns ability to break forward at pace.

  7. Frank Irwin and Oisín mullin both heading to Australia in April to train with AFL Clubs.

  8. I have question for everyone . How would tom Parsons fair out playing further up the field? As target man. Atm he struggling at midfield. Now I know he returning from horrific injury. But I feel he could be utilised further up the field . Leave Aiden round midfield

  9. I’d agree with that JP. Plenty of natural forwards on the panel. Putting square pegs into round holes won’t solve anything!

  10. with Parsons and AOS playing , they could be rotated with one in midfield and the other around the D. It shud be a tactic from the start that there is a big man in and around the D, look against Kerry there were 3 lads around AOS , high intelligent ball into the D where it can be caught is a serious weapon.

  11. Nice in theory this big man in the square. We’ve never put 70mims of it together and we won’t start now.

  12. The “big man on the edge of the square”, is a small percentage tactic. In other words you will waste a lot of ball possession for the one or two times the tactic will be successful. In reality what will happen most of the time is you are just handing possession back to your opponent.
    In my opinion it is in the same bracket as the “let it in to him” tactic. A lot of the time we would be just kicking ball away.

  13. It’s an option pebblesmeller. Obviously u would not be lumping it in every time. Tom is a very intelligent player and ball winner. Paul conroy playing similar role off the bench for galway

  14. The big man in the squate only works with a natural forward with quick decision making and ability to lay off the ball.

  15. Until Paul Towey came on against Kerry we didn’t have a reliable free taker on the pitch. K.Mc and D.O.C. both hit and miss whereas Towey is deadly accurate off right and left. Had he been on earlier he would have nailed at least 2 frees missed by Diarmuid.

  16. we have played the entire league without a reliable free taker.We are using people that do not even take frees on a regular basis for their clubs and it is very difficult to win at any level without a good free taker. Just like you have a substitute goalie[ and not just use a regular player] you need a regular and dependable free taker on the field at all times.

  17. It’s all well and good having a big man at the edge of the square. But he has to be a natural forward with quick hands, two good feet. Aido & Parsons have many attributes, but they are not natural forwards. It’s been tried many times, with very very little success. Better off to develop a guy like Carr who has size, two good feet & is a forward

  18. Really like the look of that forward line jp.

    That’s exactly the same forward line I would start in champo (ie McDonagh, Rod, Diarmuid, Kev, Carr, COC) if all available.
    Carr is key for me. He is the one with the x factor, has an unpredictable quality but I feel he will step it up another level this year. Its why I’m not overly concerned at the poor showing in attack so far.

    Would be expecting a midfield of AOS and Ruane

    I reckon when it comes round to connacht final our 2 biggest concerns will be the gaping Boyle shaped hole up the center of defence which teams seem to be walking through at the minute.
    Also the age old doubts about both of our goalies remain

  19. The “big man at the edge of the square” tactic is far too simplistic and is rarely ever effective. Backs love to see 50 50 ball being rained in.

    Donaghy is the only one I can think of who successfully played that role and the ball coming into him was perfect.

    As well as that it’s a waste of aos, you are pretty much taking him out of the action putting him in ff.

  20. Spectre – Galway posters can confirm but I’d say Paul Conroy has spent as much time in the forwards during his intercounty career as in midfield. It’s not comparable to moving a 32 year old Tom Parsons into a position he’s never played before.

    You say we wouldn’t lump it in all the time but what would Tom do when we’re not kicking long into him? Could Tom come around on the loop like all top intercounty forwards and kick points? I’d have my doubts.

  21. Supermac – Who will be our number 6 for championship is a big question. Could Chris Barrett be a solution there? He has played there previously. I think fitness (and AFL trials) permitting Harrison, Mullin, Keegan and Durcan are all guarunteed starters this summer. I’d also have Eoin O’Donoghue starting too.

  22. Paul Conroy must be over 30 too. I just figure it might be no harm to push tom further forward now and again. Other team never expect it.

  23. @wide ball. I haven’t a clue for number 6.
    There are no outstanding candidates putting their hand up that I can see.
    Paddy Durcan and leeroy are much happier on the wings where they can attack at will

    Horses for courses might be the way to go depending on the opposition, if its a Michael murphy type at 11 then someone physical and strong like Stephen coen, if it’s Sean o shea on opposition 40 then go with eoin o’d. If you want an old fashioned dog in the John small molde than o’hora could be the man

    A. N. Other would be my number 6 as it stands

    As for goalkeeper pick? Is there an option c?
    Flabbergasted we haven’t tried out someone new in league or fbd. Don’t know why it’s a closed shop

  24. O’Hora should be nailed on for a championship slot. Even watching him on that TV show you can see he is a no nonsense type and hard as nails. Just what we need

  25. I would say Eoin O Donoghue or James McCormack are our best available options at no.6 at the moment, with O’D being the stickier of the two. But it would probably depend on who’s 11 on a given day.

  26. Eoin O’Donoghue played at 6 for NUIG in the Sigerson. 3 was on his jersey but he was effectively the main protector/provider on the 45. He’s calm under pressure and his kickpassing has come on a lot.
    Also, in my view all three half backs need to be effective attacking/scoring players. You need this to ensure the best chance of racking up the 20pts or so needed to win championship games.
    The other thing about EOD is that he’s six foot, in his prime fitness wise and tackles hard without fouling. Sean OShea tried to charge him in the Sigerson and EOD was able to get in under him in the tackle and doorstop him back out.
    That would give a likely half backline of Leeroy EOD and Paddy.
    The full backline is a lottery. I like the idea of Padraig OHora as a man marker. Too many novices and injured players to know how our full backline will shape up.
    If our middle third is
    Leeroy EOD Paddy
    Ruane AOS
    Fionn ROD Diarmuid
    That would make me optimistic.
    That’s one of the most athletic and powerful middle eights in the country.

  27. I think Fergal Boland is being overlooked by many here, good ball carrier and distributer, works hard and kicks some very nice points. Good vision also. Hasn’t been played in too many games presumably to give Jordan Flynn a fair chance. If Carr and Cillian not ready for next day then it may also be worth risking Towey from the start.

  28. Paul Conroy is 30.. I’d imagine he would spend a lot of time this year playing in both areas.. He missed all last year through injury but was unbelievable last Sunday when introduced as a sub after 20 mins, playing in the full forward line.

  29. Tuamstar in fairness he has done really well to come back from 2 broken legs. I hope tom Parsons can get back to something near his best but it’s big ask

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