Looks like it’s Varley or Freeman to replace Andy

Mike Finnerty in the Mayo News today is reporting that it’s coming down to a straight choice between Aghamore’s Alan Freeman and Garrymore’s Enda Varley to claim the vacant position, created by Andy Moran’s unfortunate injury against Down, on the Mayo team to face Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park this coming Sunday (throw-in 3.30pm).

All manner of possible permutations to replace the unfortunate Ballaghman have been put forward here and elsewhere over the last few weeks but it now seems likely that James Horan isn’t going to undertake any kind of widespread reshuffling of the deck ahead of throw-in. Instead it appears that either Alan or Enda will be slotted into an otherwise unchanged starting fifteen from the one that lined out against Down in the quarter-final.

Alan would seem to be the more straightforward like-for-like replacement as he could slot in either at centre-forward or full-forward. It seems likely, however, that the ploy of playing Jason Doherty at 11 (ish) will be used again on Sunday which, if it’s Alan, would mean that he’d start at 14, replacing Andy directly there. If Enda gets the nod, then presumably he’ll do so in the corner with Cillian moving across to 14. Having said that, when we beat the Dubs back in 2006 it was Conor Mortimer who had 14 on his back so maybe the issue about who is nominally picked to wear what jersey doesn’t matter all that much.

There’s no news yet, by the way, on when the team will be announced. Training takes place at McHale Park tomorrow night and the players will probably be told the team then but us plebs most likely won’t get the details until Thursday. That’s also the day that Dublin are due to name their team so it’d make sense for us to reciprocate with our team announcement then.

While we’re on the topic of the Mayo News, Mike Finnerty has a piece on how James Horan performed when facing the national media at the  press briefing last week while Colin McDonagh has an interview with Billy Fitzpatrick about his 1985 semi-final cameo when the then 41 year-old came off the subs bench to score a screamer of a point as we stormed back to claim a draw against the Dubs. I was in the upper deck of the old Hogan stand that day, close to the press box, and I remember after the final whistle screaming across to the journos to make sure they’d noted down Billy Fitz’s age for their match reports. Quick as a flash, one of them shouted back at me: “That’s his waist size, is it?” Ah, the memories.

14 thoughts on “Looks like it’s Varley or Freeman to replace Andy

  1. I dont have a preference for either of them for I just dont have a good feeling about that working out too well either way.

    Anyway, fair play to you willie joe, remember that day in 85 meself, was up there on the ould canal end. Was my first time ever in croke park and I was only a youngster then. As we enjoy the buildup and excitment heading towards Sundays match, one of the most vivid memeories I have from that day in ’85 is being on the train in Ballina on the Sunday morning, the throng of ppl, the excitment, the train slowly pulling out of the station and all the Mayo flags hanging out the windows….there must have been a hundred carriage, ( ;-). unbelieveable excitiment and anticipation really. Will never forget that.

  2. Personally I would see Freeman as the obvious replacement. I think we will need a target man as such inside there – someone who can win ball out in front of his man.

    Main issue I have with Freeman is that he seems to be lacking confidence in his ability to score and his timing. One of Andys biggest asset was his shot selection and timing. He didn’t go for the panic score.

    You know the one – where the attacker sees in the corner of his eyes defenders closing on all sides and shoots in hope rather than conviction. Andy was able to hold on to the ball and lay it off to a player in a better position in those cases.

    A lot of it is down to experience as well of course.

  3. just a point in relation to the mayo support this year in particular.i think the county can no longer claim the be 1 of the most loyal in the country. we were out numbered in the hyde this year v sligo and would think we were similar to the ever elusive cork supporters in gaa headquaters on the august bank holiday weekend by our pathetic numbers v down, while our poor minors were followed by under 300 last sunday. driving around the county the old days of flags, banners (with ‘hillarious’ comments ) are non existant. in a county starved of success i find this disappointing. what we have in our county is a panel of players who are very close to the ultimate prize due to the fine work by the under rated monsignor and his ever improving panel.
    those in croker last sunday will have been impressed by the bond donegal panel seems to have developed with their supporters without doubt they are worth a score or 3 to them.
    on sunday we need every possible advantage supporters will play a role, we will never
    out number those from the capital but encourage as many to go. get out on the hustings and canvass the ‘ i might stay and watch it in————–, convince them to travel east. lets get the mojo back……. maybe even release a single !!!!!!! well maybe not htat far

  4. Dont agree with that. Think Mayo have the best supporters but have suffered a lot. Watch the support next Sunday and if we get to an All Ireland. Be fair hard to expect people to travel two days to Croker in these times. That does not make us bad supporters.

  5. been at every mayo game since 1995 its rare we are outnumbered but v sligo and down that has been the case. cool hand, maybe whats rare is beautiful

  6. I maybe a bit confused in my old age but I seem to agree a little with both last 2 posts
    Perhaps Donegal are now where we were 96 / 06 too much hype Oh yes lovely and exiting but not much help to the team ie flags banners and songs and might not help them much when we beat the Dubs What we need is real support on the day I attended most of Mayo games this year including all championship games and live in Kildare Sometimes its easier for me I saw lots of Mayo supporters getting into their cars soaked to the skin after the league final to drive 3 or 4 hours I was home in 45 min They are supporters
    Come sunday no doubt they will be there again
    Come on Mayo

  7. I think we will have great support next Sunday, Mayo v Dublin is always one of the most exciting & dramitic fixtures you could have…life in Ireland has lost some of its mojo since the, ‘celtic tiger’ dream died, sure we all could’nt have a race horse & yacht..but Mayo v Dublin it will just be the same. ..there were always people that Croke Park would have to come to them before they would ever visit Croker, strange thing is they know more about the match than those who travelled..Now I know,times are hard, really hard on some & genuinly they cant afford to go, but for the Mayo fans that do travel, ,lets make enough noise for those genuine fans that would love there if things were different…I have to voice one concern to ‘Glass half full’ please dont write or realise any more songs, I could not turn Midwest before any of our previous All Ireland bids such was the stuff masquedrading as music, in my opinion & I’m not the only one with that opinion. Anyhow I’ll be there, hopefully ‘The Green & Red of Mayo’ will be heard on the Jones Road, & as for ‘Molly Malone’ well ‘her ghost can wheel her barrow’ all he likes!

  8. Mayo support was poor last year also remember the Connacht final about 5,000 traveled and v Cork it was one of the worst turns outs from us ever in Croker. In fairness the fans turned up for the Kerry semi final and i expect the same to happen on Sunday however this Dublin game won’t sell out like the 2006 semi final.

  9. Its easy to say the sligo,s an donegals have a greater support now than mayo now but ye have to remember thats its not very often tha sligo gets to a conn. final never mind crokepark an they were very cofident of turning us over this year, the same can be said for donegal its seldom they get out of ulster an did,t win there 1st ulster title till 1972, of corse there fans are gonna come to croker in big numbers like ourselfs prior 85,89 an 96.Alot of scars in mayo still afta 04 an 06 and prob. them league final losses the last few years having helped were they were well bet, dont know how many times i said to my self leav,n a mayo game ”never again” so i woud,t complain abou our support , i.m fairly sure we,ll be out in force on sunday against the dubs…As for the team it has to be freeman for me to slot in at 14 and hope he does the business,woud,t mind to see mcgarrity in ther either if were in trouble…

  10. The worst part of this is what will happen when we get to the final (hopefully). You’ll have people crawling out of the woodwork getting tickets for the upper Hogan who don’t know the county colours while lads and lasses who have supported the team through thick and thin will be left stuck in the corner of the hill if they’re lucky.

  11. I’ve heard there’s nearly 35000 tickets sold in mayo alone, don’t know how true that is but it would be great! I know meself from going to all the match’s down through the years, the number of mayo supporters has being dropping every year. Though saying that, meself and my mates still meet the usual supporters in inniskeen, Armagh, portlaoise, ballyshannon, tralee etc.

  12. Glasshalffull – I was in Croke Park in 2009 when Donegal got walloped by Cork in the quarter-final. I was also there in 2006 when Donegal came back to lose by just a point to Cork, also in the quarter final. On both those days there was damn all Donegal people there.
    They may have the best supported team in the country right now, but that accolade changes as teams come and go and supporters expectations are either met or dashed. Donegal haven’t been this good in a while so it’s natural that the county gets behind them.

    We were definitely the best supported team for a long time, but unfortunately too many bad beats in Croker (97,99,02,04,05,06,09) have caused some of the fair-weather fans to stay at home.

    And in case you think I’m criticising fair-weather fans, I’m not. Every county needs them to fill out the attendence when they progress to the latter stages. Sure there would be no point in playing an AI final or semi-final in front of an attendence of just hard-core supporters – we have the FBD and NFL for that!

  13. Agree with you there richard, i seen townies of my own with the best seats in the house at 04 n 06 all ire. and did,t see them at a conn. final never mind a league game….

  14. theres plenty of that about lads , i remember 2006 and a man from my own parish who took tickets off the club for every game league and championship for him and his son , come the final he was given one ticket, very unfair.

    at least they have got it right with the season tickets and cairde mhaigheo initiatives ( outside of dublin at least 😉 …)

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