We named our team a bit earlier on tonight for Sunday’s league match with Donegal at McHale Park (throw-in 2.30pm). Details of the starting fifteen and subs for Sunday are as follows:
Mayo (NFL Division One v Donegal, 24/3/2013): David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Chris Barrett (Belmullet), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Lee Keegan (Westport), Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Barry Moran (Castlebar Mitchels), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Cathal Carolan (Crossmolina); Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Michael Conroy (Davitts). Subs: Kenneth O’Malley (Ballinrobe), Kevin Keane (Westport) Michael Walsh (Ardnaree), Shane McHale (Knockmore), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Cathal Freeman (Aghamore), Richie Feeney (Castlebar Mitchels), Enda Varley (Garrymore), Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites), Alan Murphy (Ballinrobe).
The sole change, then, from last Saturday night sees the return to the starting fifteen for the first time this year of Cillian O’Connor, who replaces Evan Regan at top-of-the-right. Aside from that, it’s a case of as you are, both with respect to the team itself and the subs bench. Sunday’s side, by the way, contains eleven survivors from the team that started last September’s All-Ireland, with Kevin Keane, Donal Vaughan, Alan Dillon and Enda Varley all out for Sunday where they’ll be replaced by Chris Barrett, Tom Cunniffe, Seamus O’Shea and Cathal Carolan respectively.
While Cillian’s return to the fray is clearly to be welcomed, giving him his first senior start of the year less than twenty-four hours after he captains the U21s in their Connacht semi-final against Galway tomorrow afternoon is a bit strange. To be honest, it’s probably a reflection on just how crucial this league match is for us but, then again, if that’s the case you’d wonder why experiments that patently aren’t working – chief amongst them playing Aidan O’Shea at 11 – are being given another airing against the All-Ireland champions. I guess the head-scratching is set to continue until we actually start winning matches again.
Unfortunately, I’m once more going to be posted missing for this one. This was the one league match I was absolutely determined to get to this year (aside from the two on this side of the country that I’ve been to) but a combination of family commitments this Sunday – with a funeral now tossed into the mix as well – means that, in the absence of bi-location powers, I definitely won’t be there. TG4 are showing it live but I’m not even sure I’ll get to see it then though at least I’ll be able to record it for viewing later on if needs be.