Keith’s the hurlers’ captain but what about the footballers?

The county’s hurlers start their 2012 league campaign this coming Sunday with a Division 2B clash against Roscommon in Athleague (throw-in 2.30pm) and ahead of this Tooreen’s Shane Morley has been speaking with David Jennings in the Mayo News. In this piece, there’s mention of Keith Higgins’ appointment for the coming year as captain of the hurling team (a story also picked up by Hogan Stand today).

With dual players becoming an ever rarer species these days, Keith’s ongoing strong commitment to the small ball cause marks him out as a player who is happy to swim against the current tide. Given his willingness to continue to turn out on a regular basis and to such good effect for the hurlers he’s also an obvious choice, despite his strong commitments on the footballing side, to act as captain of Murt Connolly’s team this year.

Keith’s position as the hurlers’ on-field leader does, though, raise the question as to which team he’s going to be lining out for in the month of March, given that league fixtures in both codes will be coming thick and fast over the coming month. On the 11th, the hurlers play Meath in McHale Park at 12.45pm which is the curtain raiser to the footballers’ match against Down at 2pm. On the 18th, the hurlers are away to Armagh while the same day the footballers are away to Donegal and the following weekend the hurlers play London over in Ruislip on the Saturday with the footballers at home to Cork the day after. Then the Dubs are back in McHale Park on the 31st to face the footballers while the hurlers play Kildare at the same venue the following day.

Obviously, Keith is going to have to divide his time in some kind of sensible manner between the two camps next month. His absence from the football team (I’m assuming he’ll miss at least two, if not more, NFL matches over the course of March) will enable James Horan to give others (among them Michael Walsh) a run at corner-back. Notwithstanding this, our lack of solidity at the back – where Keith has performed strongly so far this year – has to be a cause for some concern in relation to these games.

A related question, I guess, is who is going to be named as the footballer’s captain this year? As far as I know, no announcement has been made as yet on this and if one were to come out with a shortlist, Keith would surely be on it along with last year’s captain Alan Dillon, Andy Moran and, perhaps, Donal Vaughan.

In other news, it’s now been confirmed that our refixed league match against Dublin on March 31st will throw in at 7pm and that the match will be shown live on Setanta.

Finally, I see it’s been reported that Seamus O’Shea is back in training having suffered a hamstring strain a few weeks back, with the same report also stating that Donal Vaughan and Barry Moran are both recovering well from recent knocks. This is all welcome news but it does make you wonder why Seamus and Donie were both picked to play for Connacht last weekend when it must have been obvious to Fergal O’Donnell and his selectors that neither of them were fit to line out. Seen in this light, it’s perhaps a bit easier to understand why the westerners took the battering they did last Sunday.

28 thoughts on “Keith’s the hurlers’ captain but what about the footballers?

  1. In my opinion Keith Higgins should be appointed captain this year. Not withstanding the fact that this is a vital year for James Horan and his backroom team (as the element of suprise is now gone) but Keith was the last man to lead Mayo to an All-Ireland in 2006. His leadership qualities are there for all to see and it was only a few short days ago that he single handley saved our full back line from utter humiliation against the Dubs. At 27 in my opinion an ideal candidate.

  2. I agree that Keith would be a great choice. He certainly leads by example on the pitch and is to my mind the most talented footballer in Mayo.
    The fact that corner back is not even his best position, yet he seems to hold the whole full back line together says everything. Although it might also say something about the apparent lack of quality corner backs in the county.

  3. yeah keith is plugging a lot of gaps at the moment…his pace allows him to do this with ease. i remember seeing him racing for a ball with darren o sullivan in a league game a few years ago…..started off 5 yards behind him, got to the ball 5 yards ahead of him….electric pace.

  4. Keith Higgins has consistently put in great performances for Mayo now for a long time. He has been a leader on and off the pitch and would be deserving of the captaincy if Horan was to give it to him.

  5. Keith is a good candidate but Andy Moran is the heart and soul of that team. He was the leader in all but name last year and he seems hugely respected off the pitch. Has to be Andy.

  6. What about a dual captaincy with keith leading the back line and andy leading the front line?

  7. Spot on nally_stand, each line needs it’s “captain” to lead the line, both by example and direction. Andy Moran would shade the overall captaincy for me. We need leadership around the middle of the park though too, is there a likely candidate in that part of the field?

  8. And a captain between the sticks to link backs
    , forwards,midfield,management, waterbys ….its a quiet week on the Gaa news front!

  9. Higgins got cleaned in both the 2004 and 2006 all ireland finals.Andy Moran perfect captain material.

  10. keith captained mayo u21s to all ireland glory. not too many mayo captains with all ireland medals in the back pocket. As for keith getting cleaned in the AI finals…did he play in the 04 final? Dont think he did…As for getting cleaned in 2006, well even James Nallen got cleaned that day as did ALan Dillon, Conor mort, david heaney…i could name the whole team,

  11. higgins didn’t play in the 2004 AI and was only a novice in 2006 .so don’t no wat last post is about

  12. Keith would be an outstanding candidate for captain, very deserving of it also. it would be a fitting acknowledgement to his commitment and dedication shown for the last number for both club and county at both codes. Also keith got nominated for an allstar and also received young player of the year in 2006, hardly an endorsement for someone who got cleaned in an all Ireland final.

  13. Like heaney and nallen i think we will only realise how good keith is when he is gone. Hes a grt lad and never lets Mayo down. Let him be captain of the Hurlers and maybe next year be football captain. Cant pressure the lad too much.
    havent seen too many players clean keith, if any. All depends on the ball into him.

  14. Very thin on the ground for a captain. Higgins head and shoulders above the rest. Throwing the hands in the air , shouting and telegraphing the next move is not the attributes of a captain. Higgins possesses a bit of bite and steel both attributes in short supply on the team. He has speed and would be among one of the best defenders in the country.

    No forwards need apply please. They have enough on their plates to get scores, escape markers and stop dropping balls into the opposition full back line and keeper. Apart from O Connor in my depressing view of things only he should be guaranteed a place. The rest should be up for grabs and captaincy should be the least of their worries.

    In regards the hurling I know Higgins loves that game but I will hold my petrol until he gets injured playing Kildare/Carlow/Fingal/Derry or Soth Down in some boggy pitch for a Nicky Rackard or a Bob Paisley.

  15. john cuffe i remember being bull thick the last time he got injured playing hurling for mayo. would selfishly rather he didnt play it but he is to be commended for it.

    personally i would not give the captaincy to andy, reason being he already is a captain in many ways and does a great job as he is , no need to add to that. let someone else do it and let andy continue the great work he did last year

  16. Dear John Cuffe, just out of interest to whom do you refer with the comment ‘Throwing the hands in the air , shouting and telegraphing the next move is not the attributes of a captain’?! Is this a dig at someone in particular? or have you been watching a lot of Champions league stuff this week?

  17. Gave up watching soccer after Heysel, Hillsborough finished me with it. So unless your name is Adolf and free speech is abolished I don’t have to explain the minutiae of my comments to you. I do have to answer to the host Willie Joe.

    So I have an observation, I have a view, I give it along with my own name. Tough if you have a problem with it…by the way, I have dug at no one. However do you have someone in mind that you think I am referring to?

  18. John, some “lovely” words there.

    What did you think of Tommy Loyns on the Indo to-day. It obviously was not the Chairman of the day who made the offer. Perhaps it was a facilitator

  19. All I can say is I was glad that tommy was not given the gig at the time and this latest revelation from him makes me feel even better about the county boards decision not to appoint him. I’m not backing payment for managers by the way …that’s a whole different argument

  20. Donie should be given his stripes-A man of steel with fierce pride in the jersey,and a young man that Jamsie can build his team around.

  21. @johncuffe I would also be interested in knowing who you are referring to, if anyone, when you speak of “throwing hands in the air, shouting, and telegraphing the next move”? Also, as I said, Keith is a good candidate but “steel” and “bite” like the dirty digs Higgins directed towards two players last are not the attributes of a great captain in my opinion more a frustrated young man. In relation to guaranteed starters, add Andy Moran and Donal Vaughan to O’Connor and Higgins.

  22. Ah I am tired…and not up for a fight today. Only Mourinho went with guaranteed starters. I dont believe Mayo are in a place where we can guarantee anyone a certain start. Clarke, higgins, Donie, feeney, Big Barry, O Connor and maybe Freeman for me. Add in Andy Moran provided he has last years form bearing in mind the leg break after that its six of this and six of that.

  23. Definitely not a forwards role at the moment; for one there is far too much competition up top to name a captain from the front 6. Incidentally,what would your preferred forward line (for summer) be?

    Mine is:
    Dillon, A.O’Shea,McLaughlin

    Already, I’m kicking myself at leaving out an in-form Mortimer and the explosive Varley who impressed with his cameo in Portlaoise. Forget Dillon at centre-forward,too light,exposed time and again on the biggest stage,you need a big strong spine so I’d have Aidan there as 3rd midfielder with Barry and Seamus i lár na páirce.

    Keith would be my choice for this season, a seasoned campaigner who has never really let the side down; I wish we could play him wing-back because we really aren’t getting the best out of him in the corner.However,we need him there at present..

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