Kevin McStay press conference – panel details and injury update

Kevin McStay held a press conference this morning, at which he provided details of the Senior panel for this year’s Championship as well as a comprehensive update on the current position with injuries within the panel.

Kevin stated that we’ve got a panel of 36 players for the summer campaign. He explained that there was a wider “40+” panel earlier in the year but that this had now been reduced. Kevin stressed that the players released were all ones with problematic injuries and that the intention was to “be looking for them” next year.

The four players Kevin name-checked in this regard were Niall McManamon (Westport), Colm Moran (Westport), Mikey Murray (Ballina Stephenites) and Bryan Walsh (Ballintubber).

Onto the panel, then, which Kevin explained comprised of 33 players who were fit and ready for action, with three progressing through a rehab programme, all of whom are expected to be in contention for the match-day 26 either later this month or early in June. More on that in a bit.

Here’s the panel Kevin named (he did so alphabetically, by first name, but I’ve done a rough and ready goalkeepers, backs, midfielders and forwards, though obviously there are a few square pegs in round holes there).

GOALKEEPERS: Rory Byrne (Castlebar Mitchels); Rob Hennelly (Raheny, Dublin), Colm Reape (Knockmore).

BACKS: Rory Brickenden (Westport); Sam Callinan (Ballina Stephenites); Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore); Jack Coyne (Ballyhaunis); Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels); Brendan Harrison (Aghamore); Enda Hession (Garrymore); Ruairí Keane (Mayo Gaels); Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers); David McBrien (Ballaghaderreen); Donnacha McHugh (Castlebar Mitchels); Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport); Padraig O’Hora (Ballina Stephenites); Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber).

MIDFIELDERS: James McCormack (Claremorris); Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber); Matthew Ruane (Breaffy); Bob Tuohy (Castlebar Mitchels).

FORWARDS: Jack Carney (Kilmeena); James Carr (Ardagh); Tommy Conroy (The Neale); Jason Doherty (Burrishoole); Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers); Frank Irwin (Ballina Stephenites); Fionn McDonagh (Westport); Darren McHale (Knockmore); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore); Conor McStay (Ballina Stephenites); Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber); Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy); Aiden Orme (Knockmore); Paul Towey (Charlestown Sarsfields).

Onto the injury situation where Kevin said that three players were currently working their way back to fitness. Of the three, two – Rory Brickenden and Brendan Harrison – definitely wouldn’t be fit to make the match-day 26 for Kerry, while the third, Cillian O’Connor was “right on the edge”, with Kevin adding that it might make sense to “maybe wait for the next one.”

On Brendan Harrison, the news is very good as Kevin said he’s currently “way ahead of where anyone thought he’d be” following his ACL and other surgery. The target is that the Aghamore man will be back by the end of May, pushing for a match-day spot in June. That’s seriously good news.

The word on Rory Brickenden is similarly upbeat. The Westport man had shoulder surgery and he’s also ahead of his rehab dates with the expectation that he’ll be back in action by the end of this month.

Kevin listed some other players, about which there’s been “speculation” as to their fitness, but confirmed they’re all absolutely fine. The players he named in this regard were Stephen Coen, David McBrien, Eoghan McLaughlin and team captain Paddy Durcan. Phew.

There was no mention either of Jack Coyne nor Conor Loftus but in light of all that Kevin had to say, in particular his clarity about who’s currently injured, I think we can take it that they’re okay too.

After the press conference, Rob caught up with Kevin for a one-on-one for the podcast and that show is now up on Patreon. Club members can listen to it here.

Michael Gallagher of the Mayo News also has a piece on this morning’s press conference – that’s here.

99 thoughts on “Kevin McStay press conference – panel details and injury update

  1. That’s good news. A few good results and injury free. In the round robin is now the ideal next phase

  2. Wonderfull news all round, a great update (Kevin and Willie Joe !) and one supporters always like to be kept abreast off (particularly with what happened last year – injury updates have taken a hightened awareness, one I am definetly guilty off anyway). The new format means more games so you need a fully fit deck. Timing of this is great also as it should give a little boost to overall morale and keep things up beat (remove some pessimism).. Sun shining to so good day all round….happy days..

  3. Good news overall!

    Just on the players released @WJ, I presume it was Mark Moran rather than Colm?

  4. Great work WJ and Rob (whom I was delighted to meet after the league final).

    I feel a spring in my step.

  5. Interesting to see James McCormack in there. Great news.

    There had been lots of unconfirmed reports (from usually reliable folks to be fair) a few months back he’d been one of the lads released. Great to have that extra bit of depth around the middle available, especially if Mikey Murray isn’t able to shake off the injury(ies).

  6. Good to see Brendan Harrison making good headway and recovery on his injury.We need him back playing for his strength and knowledge on the game

  7. Good to see Brendan Harrison making good headway and recovery on his injury.We need him back playing for his strength and knowledge of the game

  8. As an aside does anyone know if the 4 provincial winners have ever been the same two years in a row?

    I certainly dont recall any instances in modern times… could we be on for a bit of special history on Sunday?

  9. Recent club reports (locally) is James McCormack has been flying it and is in fantastic shape

  10. Great news there in the main, now let’s get a right few thousand down to Killarney, that’s our job .

  11. Thanks for the update @Willie joe that just made my Friday haha!

    Bring kerry on cant wait for it now!

  12. Great news on the injury front and delighted to hear Brendan Harrison is close to being back.

    Some of the journalists in the CT would want to hold fire on publishing injury updates which are not reliable.

  13. Connaught telegraph not accurate with the rumours/hear say. What a surprise

  14. “Right on the edge “ I think that’s code for he’s grand he’ll be on the edge of the square .

  15. @JKEL88: To be fair to any others in there it tends to be the one name. Repeatedly. Serious question marks on management how it is allowed to continue and must be demoralising to the other staff in there having the name dragged through the mud (said as someone who wrote a bit for them back in the day under JM).

    Beyond shambolic stuff. Still chuckle thinking back at the reports of Cillian pushing to get into the All Ireland Final squad a solid 12 months before he actually made his comeback.

  16. Great to get such a detailed update from Kevin. What a difference to this time last year when we were badly depleted with long term injuries to key players and very little details on same from the previous management team. I was bullish about our chances before this update and am even more confident now. We will have had 3 weeks to focus and prepare for this game and I feel that Kerry have been a small bit off this year, which is only natural after the effort they put into landing Sam last year. I don’t buy into the sure if we beat them on Saturday, they will only beat us again in a semi or final bullshit. Winning is a habit we have to get into. Beating Kerry in Killarney will set us up for one hell of a summer. I will be behind the town goal roaring them on Saturday week.

  17. Great update. Thanks WJ. By far the most exciting news is Harrison. I’d love to see McBrein released to CHB, but he will give options.
    James McCormack is also good. Gives us cover at midfield.
    Cillian I expect to be held for the Louth game
    Great to see Orme holding his place on the 36. Very classy player, it’s only a matter of time when he will do for county what he does for club.
    We’ll keep the faith for sure. Thanks again WJ for the story

  18. Terrific podcast and great to hear Kevin refuting the CT injury claims. TsuDhoNim, I agree it must be demoralising for other staff members at CT and it must be bloody annoying for McStay and co to have to keep dealing with this nonsense.
    A lovely warm and touching tribute to Mick Loftus from Kevin to finish. Well done Kevin McStay.

  19. They have released the panel for this year on the Mayo Twitter account

  20. The return of a fully fit Brendan Harrison would be very welcome and a huge boost for Mayo. Even so probably take some game time to get him back to full match sharpness!

  21. Brilliant interview with Kevin on the pod. All the right questions asked and answered, also a very understandable explanation as to why the panel was not made puplic until now.

  22. Interesting that it’s in first name alpha order. And that Harrison, Brickenden, and O’Connor are the final three. Mgmt saying we have 33 jumping out of their skin, and 3 still on the table.

    Big takeaways: Harrison, McCormack, Keane in, and Murray out.

  23. Great update in content and also is batting away daft rumours from the Connaught Telegraph (though as others have noted, its only one man at it)

  24. 14 changes to the Mayo U17 starting team v Sligo tonight (dead rubber game) clearly resting the first choice players for the semi final v Roscommon next weekend.

  25. Great to see Plunkett there as well. He was playing very well before picking up that injury a few years ago. Can’t wait to see him in action again.

  26. I haven’t had time to post details of tonight’s Minor team in advance but I’ll be there for it and will have a match report up here later. We’ll also have a Final Whistle pod up on Patreon afterwards.

  27. What a refreshing interview with Kevin McStay. Apart from the good news on the injury front, he has a great way of dealing with the other issues that were brought up. Good questions too, well done Rob.

  28. 0-8 to 0-6 up at half-time. Fionnan Burke (son of Peter) with three from play, one each from midfielders Tiernan Egan and Thomas Tuffy, ands one each also from Dara Neary (free), Ryan Gibbons and Matthew Leonard.

  29. @Km79 mileage catching up on Cillian, we will miss his cutting edge.
    A great asset around young players.
    Mind you the ref could give him a yellow card before he entered the pitch and he would not be too far off.
    We need more players with his steel, he has a unique combination, skill, steel and a great coolness taking points under pressure.
    I wish him a speedy recovery.

  30. Agreed Sean, Cillian will still keep a few defenders looking round to see where he is.
    The man’s contribution has been immense.

  31. Don’t think the Derry issue should be discussed here awful sad though either way I still think innoncent till proven guilty there’s a lot we don’t know about the case .

    Anyway really looking forward to the game next week now really think we can give them a run for the money think this 6 weeks break is going to be a blessing in disguise for us!

  32. @Clare … Don’t give no your opinion so if ya don’t want others to give theirs . Christ …


  33. @My ball eh I’m entitled to give my opinion to? Just don’t think it should be discussed on a public forum why don’t you relax there?!

    Dont think anyone should have a witch hunt over them on social media weather true or not.

  34. And also @Wide ball @willie Joe said it shouldn’t be discussed here either yesterday.

  35. To be honest, the McStay interview did not fill me with confidence. He came across to me hopeful rather then driven, nervous rather than excited. The Kerry game is very important in terms of laying down a marker as much to ourselves as anyone else. I think that anything more than say a 3 point defeat reinforces a perception that we are not in the running to be top 4. I have no interest in losing badly to Kerry and then scrapping through as 2nd or even 3rd in the group. This is a game where players and management need to step up.

  36. Sorry I meant @My ball not wide ball and of course people can express their own opinions as I always say @ My ball !!

    As I said just dont think it should be discussed here.

    @Robert yes he should be getting more starts hopefully will soon! By the sounds of it James is playing great club football him& mattie ruanne would be some pairing !

  37. This is the most refreshing post I’ve read in months. Fair play to Willie Joe and Kevin for keeping us in the loop. Looks like Paddy is good to go after all. Sounds like Cillian won’t be risked and rightly so. Harrison will strengthen us aswell in the back line, starting to feel optimistic again about the summer ahead.

    Doubt Gallagher stepping away will effect Derry, they seem like a team so well drilled they’d beat a D4 team with blindfolds on.

  38. @Margie totally agree I think Derry are one to watch out for this year would actually fear them over the Dubs!

    Yes think cillian should wait till the next one isn’t it so refreshing though considering all the awful injuries we had last year ? !

    Great to see Brendan Harrison back in the squad what a player to!

    Honestly think next week will be a great cracker of a match ha!

  39. Mikey – what is this “top 4” that we are not a part of?

    Let’s be honest, there’s a top 1 i.e. Kerry and then the chasing pack, which we are very much in.

  40. @Wide ball agree can’t believe some people don’t think we are part of the top 4 teams I’ve mates from loads of different counties they always say as much as they hate hearing mayo for sam haha they always say we are one of the top 4 teams and will always be at the business end of the championship and no one is ever delighted to be facing us!

  41. For all the talk of a brand new team, I make it only Bob Touhy and (maybe) Ruari Keane in their first year

  42. Top 4,, top 6 or 8 , doesn’t make a bit of difference I want number one and Killarney will tell us exactly where we are it in that context . Beat Kerry and your chance of a semi final place increases greatly imo , lose but narrowly with a good performance still a chance although a lot slimmer one ,get bet out the gate the year is over as far as the holy grail goes .

  43. FrostT in fairness McStay did say Horan had done the rebuilding work..
    It’s basically Horans panel with a cleaner bill of health this year.

  44. @sean Burke yes true doesjtbreally matte at end of day .

    As you said next will tell a lot where we are or not..

  45. @FrostTHammer: Was Conor Mc in there before?

    Struggle to remember the finer details on changes between FBD/Championship panel time. He’d be the only other one that might be first time out. I keep thinking I must be wrong and he’d have had a year around the panel come Championship but the more I try and picture him on the sideline I’m struggling.

  46. Conor McStay was on the 2022 panel. Injured his ankle around the beginning of the league and never got back in contention for playing.

  47. @TsuDhoNim

    My recollection is the same as Wide Ball

    But with that said, I don’t believe we got a panel last year

  48. Great update and interview with McStay. Very calm and composed and I think the six weeks with a full panel would really be a blessing for him. I’m expecting a sharpness in attack against Kerry that wasn’t there previously. Mid season, with a lot of the fitness work already done, it would really have been a great chance to work with ball in hand and work hard on quick purposeful attack. Movement off the shoulder and good foot passing. Roll on Killarney.

  49. Technically you’re right Frost, on Tuohy the newbie, but it doesn’t tell the full story. Coyne never really got a run, McBrien had a litany of injuries, Callinan was flitting between the U20s and his Leaving Cert, Reape was a panellist. Suddenly, all were pitched in for the league (Callinan a bit later), and kept there. I remember saying to myself on the way over to the league final, Jesus, 1 to 4, have probably never played in Croke Park.

  50. Would love to see this line up at some stage

    GOALKEEPERS: Colm Reape (Knockmore).

    Sam Callinan (Ballina Stephenites);
    David McBrien (Ballaghaderreen);
    Jack Coyne (Ballyhaunis);

    Enda Hession (Garrymore
    Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels);
    Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport); (not shooting for goal please)

    Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber);
    Matthew Ruane (Breaffy);

    Tommy Conroy (The Neale);
    Jack Carney (Kilmeena);
    Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers);

    Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber);
    Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
    Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet);

    So much pace in the middle and 3 guaranteed performers up front

  51. Top 4 means getting to a semi final, losing to Kerry makes that more challenging as we would need to beat either a Dublin, Galway or Ulster champions to do this. We can say ( and indeed others can say) we are top 4 all we want but actions speak louder than words. It is up to the players and management to demonstrate this on the field.

  52. @Mikey I think we have proven enough over the years that we are one of the top 4 teams despite not having crossed the line yet . But as others have said it doesn’t really matter if we are top4 or not so long as we perform and are number 1 on the day ha!

  53. For any CB Mitchells fans on here would Ethan Gibbons be far off a spot on that panel? Haven’t seen too much of him myself but seems like a lad that knows where the posts are.
    Maybe not interested or injured for all I know

  54. @2 hops: He came on as a sub in the FBD Final this year and was in or around the panel most of the year.

    The raw potential is there for sure but a bit of work to be done yet before I’d expect he’d be making the 26 on a regular basis. Some of the big totals for Mitchels were on the back of 40-50% shot conversions so despite the odd outrageous score that would leave your jaw on the floor you could walk away thinking he’d had a questionable enough performance and could have done more (which is a bit nuts on the back of a 5 or 7 point game).

    Massive potential though. If he can polish up the shot selection and improve the %’s on the long rangers he does take on he could play a big role over the coming years, for Mitchels & Mayo.

    (His younger Ryan put in a lively performance for the minors last night too. Seems to be a very similar style ball he plays. Another I’ll be watching closely going forward.)

  55. Almost same panel as Horan had, difference is where and how they play and there is big differences in them departments.

  56. Is there Culmore?
    Obviously Lee and Oisin caused two changes.
    Aido has been going from full forward to Midfield or sweeper type positions for many moons now. He’d scored 20-90 or something before this year, so he’s played plenty times up top.
    Loftus has gone to 6 where he’s been playing for his club a few seasons. The middle third and other personnel are more or less similar, the midfielders rotate around a bit alright as we have so many midfield types.

    Style of play in early stages when we were ahead fitness wise, may have been a bit more expansive. But now teams are fitter and the blanket is out we aren’t kicking much ball in, we may be slightly slower in transition forwards with Oisin gone and Eoghan not featured much, with more methodical build up.

  57. @Culmore there are some changes and position changes mcstay also picks players who are on top form and no less the way it should be.

    Though we didn’t need to change the whole panel since Horan anyway we just needed our bounce and flare and confidence back after 21 and mcstay&co have brought it back in fairness.

    Really looking forward to the game next week hopefully this time next week we will be happy campers haha!

  58. Different set defensive setup (where we’re engaging the press, how we’re tagging runners, where we’re deploying the sweeper, where & how we aim to chase turnovers), different transition setup (be it offensive or defensive transition) and different attacking setup (whether that’s kicking or running the movement patterns to create and exploit space has changed so opens up different, often more central, opportunities. Comparing shot maps from last year to this you can visually see the difference). I’d have said @Culmore’s spot on.

    There was nothing especially wrong with our old setup, bar injuries we had the panel & setup to potentially have won a few titles in recent years, but lots of potential positives among the changes too. We’d gotten too predictable and when teams could simply setup to block the running channels (Tyrone, Galway, plenty of other games) we hit too many dead ends and banging our heads against the wall waiting for a moment of magic to try and break them down. Forcing teams to setup around blocking either running channels or the kicking game and then switching to exploiting the other gives us far more options in a game at a given time.

    Still lots of work to be done on the execution of the defensive setup, on field mistakes in decisions (fairly natural when adjusting to a new setup) giving away a few too many goal chances just yet, but massive positives in the offensive changes. No idea which of the backroom team is responsible for the forward movement we’re seeing (wouldn’t be shocked with either McStay or Rochford being behind it) but they’ve done a fantastic job with it.

    Obvious caveat that all of the changes will collapse in a heap when we hit a field as flat as we did against Roscommon. They deserve a lot of credit for their setup and making it tough for us, they did a great job, but we allowed them too never getting close to the pace of the game. We never got out of second gear and playing a demanding system like the one we’re using it faulted badly.

    Hopefully just the hangover from the league final. Wouldn’t expect to see us that flat again. Fingers crossed.

  59. I meant to say I agree with @culmore agree on that where and how they play has made a big difference !

  60. Good post there Tsu…agree with most of it. We’ve made subtle but important changes. This year, while we have had a few hairy moments, I keep saying, how did that stay out. Last year, I was saying, how did that go in. Difference is we have bodies back and are defending massively; last. year we weren’t.

  61. Great Post @TsuDhoNim. Like all new set ups, it does take a bit of time to road test and bed in, even subtle tactical changes as you’ve described. The more high intensity games you play the better as this is where the better teams test you and expose your frailties.

  62. @Tuamstar that wasn’t a great prediction ha ha!

    If we don’t beat louth with a bit to spare we would have to be worrying but I would say we definetly will no disrespect to louth ha!

  63. Louth look to have good size around the pitch and some handy players especially at 6 and 11. Hard to see either them or Cork beating ourselves or Kerry though. You’d think both teams will really go for it on Saturday, especially with two weeks until the next game.

    Really enjoyed the update on Friday from the management team. Much better than the rumours and pointless cloak and dagger of the last few years.

  64. LOL

    Absolute hiding, I know they’re probably not playing a whole lot but I think if any team outside of themselves or Kerry dishes out a walloping to the 3rd best side in d2 like this, we wouldn’t hear the end of it. We’re just so used to Dublin now

    They still have 5 or 6 genuine all time greats in the side, they’ll be very very hard beat in the knockouts

  65. You still can’t judge where dublin are at they have no real test so far so I wouldn’t be judging them to much on today everyone knew it would be a hammering it’s louth after all same as you cant judge kerry against clare other weekend !!

  66. If the dubs weren’t taking it handy and were laying it off like they would in a serious match (rather than going for their own scores like are now) this could be close to 30 point differential.
    You need the players and serious money. We lucky to have both.
    Ourselves, Dublin, Kerry, Galway are IMO the only contenders.

  67. @Gizmobovs totally agree with you ! Only 4 teams in it this year with any hope maybe Derry though to .

  68. Dublin look very strong up front, untested at the back. Louth outclassed but have some good players and hopefully they will keep improving over the next few years under Harte. On a tighter pitch Louth could be trickier but in big pitch like Croker their defence is wide open but Mayo should be beating them by +10 at least.

  69. Agree @Gizmobobs, but the only way i could see ourselves or Galway winning it is by avoiding both Kerry and Dublin until the final and beating them in a one off game.

    As it stands they are top 2 with a few in the chasing pack capable to beating them on any given day.

  70. God save the noble Dublin.. Congratulations on their Coronation again. 13 Leinster Crowns in Row …18 out the last 19 Leinster Titles. ..90+% of all Dublin Leinster Championship games played in Croke Park for this century.. 21 Points Victory Today …Long to reign over us?

  71. Tyrone if they get heads down the next nearest to 4 above IMO.
    Do not see Armagh are Derry being near them, could knock out one of them out but more than one it’s hard see. When see how Derry and Louth are so close in league and contrast that to how Louth done v Dublin it shows the gulf.
    Agree JKel88, I say 4 to make it sound more competitive 🙂 I don’t think we will do to Louth what Dublin done. We seem to tighten up or something, like we did in Armagh game.

  72. Louth will be a totally different prospect in castlebar simply but truthfully down to the pitch size . Very tough assignment. If it were up to me I’d apply for croke park as our home venue , Dublin do it and it’s up to any other county if they want to apply .

  73. If we have to relinquish home advantage to dispatch Louth, it’s equal where we play it.
    No disrespect to Louth intended, but if we not good enough to beat them on a slightly smaller pitch we won’t be winning Sam.

  74. @sean Burke I agree with @Gizmobobs doesn’t matter where we play louth we should be beating them out by at least 8/10+ we are on a whole other level to louth no disrespect to them and as Gizmobobs said if we can’t beat them with some to spare we may as we pack up and go home cause we certainly won’t be winning sam!

  75. Why are Derry wearing orange tops?? Makes it really hard to see I would say..pretty tight between the two teams Atm.

  76. Sorry want to say red surely they should have chosen an alternate Jersey clashes so much with Armagh orange top!

  77. Yeah im struggling Clare. If Derry wore white it would have been easier to see.

  78. @Chesneychet I struggled a lot to was very hard to watch actually switched it off before the end as it was giving me the headache ha!

  79. Predictions was never my strongest point… !
    Mickey Harte has a habit of going one on one with Dublin and for some reason he tried it today, which was madness!!
    I’d say they’ll have a mass defence when ye play them…
    Anyways what a game up north!
    You’d wonder how that defeat will affect Armagh. Gut wrenching….

  80. Yeah Armagh will need to try to lift it but you would think thats a very demoralising defeat they had Derry but were not able to close it out.

  81. @Tuamstar & @Chesneychet still think ye will get out of your group stages for sure.

    The clashes of colours must have been a bad affect for Armagh I wonder was that the tactic from Derry I thought they always wore their black jerseys?

    Interesting times ahead wonder what mayo team will turn up in killarney !

  82. Don’t think any of Derry, Armagh and Tyrone could be ruled out of top 4 at the business end and Monaghan not bad either nor are Ros. I think it’s more a top 8 this year and talk of us being top 4 is a bit silly, there’s at least 8 teams in with a shout although I think Ros and Monaghan would need a lot of luck to win it, the other 6 could do it with the road opened up. It’s all down to progression, lots to play for.

  83. Dubs still have several top players, joint favourites with Kerry I’d say. In 2 years dubs will drop off Kerry when McCarthy, Mannion, McCaffrey and 1 or 2 more are replaced by the Besquels and a few other very good players but not necessarily marquee.

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