I’m well behind the posse on this one – the team to face New York in our opening championship match of the year was announced last night. I have a sick note, however, to cover my lateness in carrying this news – I’m not long out of the scratcher, having spent twelve hours there yesterday evening and last night with some kind of cold/flu type of thing. Not even Prison Break – and Michael’s reunion with his murderous mater – could rouse me and, even though I figured the team was being announced last night, in my semi-delirium I wasn’t in any mood to go looking for the details.
Anyway, for the record, here is the team for Sunday:
MAYO (CSFC v New York, 10/5/2009): David Clarke; Liam O’Malley, Ger Cafferkey, Kevin McLoughlin; Peadar Gardiner, Trevor Howley, Donal Vaughan; Tom Parsons, Ronan McGarritty; Pat Harte, Trevor Mortimer, Alan Dillon; Andy Moran, Aidan O’Shea, Barry Moran.
There are quite a number of changes from our last league game, against Tyrone – ten of that team line out in Gaelic Park, though three more of Sunday’s team featured as subs against Tyrone. Compared to our last championship line-up (which was also against Tyrone last August), the changes are far more significant: only seven of the lads who are starting on Sunday also began that match with Tyrone.
Four lads will make their senior championship debuts at Gaelic Park – Ger Cafferkey, Kevin McLoughlin, Donal Vaughan and Aidan O’Shea – while Trevor Howley (who actually did line out against Tyrone last August) and Barry Moran make welcome returns to the starting line-up. Barry’s pairing with Aidan O’Shea in the full-forward line (no Twin Towers analogies, please – this is New York we’re playing, after all) is one that could make us all wistful about the days when we used to see high ball being humped into small lads inside. Andy’s restoration to the full-forward line, after wintering in the half-backs, is a bit odd but I’d say he’ll have a roving commission of some sorts on Sunday.
Given that a number of lads can’t make the trip due to injuries, exam commitments or other reasons – Conor Mortimer, Mark Ronaldson, Kenneth O’Malley, Seamus O’Shea, Tom Cunniffe and Keith Higgins all fall into this category – coupled with the fact that it is New York we’re playing 3,000 miles or so west of Achill, there are good reasons to suspect that this line-up won’t be replicated when the action starts for real late next month. At the same time, however, the selection does demonstrate a willingness on Johnno’s part to mix things up a bit, which has to be seen as a positive development.