The rumours are true (and thanks to Claire for giving early notice of this last night): Johnno has obviously parted company with his senses and has left Conor out of Sunday’s team to play Galway. This is the same Conor who has been our highest scorer on a consistent basis every year since he first came on the scene, the same Conor who famously bragged that he’d beaten Galway on his own in 2006, the same Conor who – living just over the border from Tribesmen territory – always relishes meeting his near neighbours on the football field. To drop such a player – irrespective of his recent form – for a match such as this against a team such as Galway is completely, absolutely and totally bonkers.
I’ve the world of time for Mikey Sweeney and I’ve every hope that the Kiltane lad will be a big player for us in time. But to stick him into the side and then partner him in the full-forward line with Austie and Aidan O’Shea (that’s the same Aidan O’Shea, by the way, who’ll be sitting his Leaving Cert in a few months) is just daft, especially when you look at the hard-boiled nature of the Galway full-back line. Austie switches to Conor’s position at top-of-the-right (if we remember Johnno II for nothing else, we’ll remember him for this), while Mark Ronaldson moves to no.10 where he unseats Barry Kelly.
The third change from the last day sees Ciaran Conroy (a midfielder) replacing Chris Barrett (a half-back who was pressed into service at corner-back the last day) at no.4. There’s no change at midfield and, with the Herrin Chokers fielding the combative (I’m being nice here) Barry Cullinane and big, long, lanky Joe Bergin in this sector, we’re unlikely to see Pat and Ronan getting too much change in Tuam either.
Here’s the team in full (courtesy of Midwest, which appears to be the only source so far for it):
MAYO (NFL Division 1 v Galway, 29/3/2009): David Clarke; Liam O’Malley, Ger Cafferkey, Ciaran Conroy; Peader Gardiner, Tom Cunniffe, Andy Moran; Pat Harte, Ronan McGarrity; Mark Ronaldson, Trevor Mortimer, Alan Dillon; Austin O’Malley, Aidan O’Shea, Mikey Sweeney.
I’m heading West in a few hours so I’m unlikely to be on here again ’till I get back up later tomorrow. I do hope I’ll have calmed down a bit by then but somehow I doubt it.