The starting line-up for this Sunday’s All-Ireland minor final with Armagh (throw-in for which at Croke Park is 1.15 pm) has just been announced. Here’s the team that’ll be bidding to land the county’s seventh All-Ireland title at this level:
MAYO (MFC Final v Armagh, 20/9/2009): Michael Schlingermann (Kiltimagh); Michael Walsh (Ardnaree Sarsfields), Keith Rogers (Ballaghaderreen), David Gavin (Breaffy); Ciaran Charlton (Kiltimagh), Shane McDermott (Burrishoole), Caolan Crowe (Garrymore); Danny Kirby (Castlebar Mitchels), Andrew Farrell (Killala); Brian Ruttledge (Knockmore), Darren Coen (Hollymount), Fergal Durkan (Castlebar); Alex Corduff (Ballina Stephenites), Aidan Walsh (Castlebar Mitchels, captain), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber).
As had been trailed in advance, the injuries to Michael Schlingermann, Keith Rogers and Cillian O’Connor have cleared up sufficiently for all three to be named in the starting team. As a result, changes are understandably kept to a minimum with the sole personnel alteration seeing Brian Ruttledge of Knockmore indirectly displacing his unlucky clubmate Daryl Herbert. Ruttledge comes in at right half-forward, with Andrew Farrell moving to midfield alongside Danny Kirby. Captain Aidan Walsh pushes up to his more natural full-forward position, with Cillian O’Connor switching to top-of-the-left and Alex Corduff moving over to top-of-the-right. The only other positional switch sees Michael Walsh and David Gavin swap places at corner-back.
That rejigging around the middle sent me scurrying for my official team stats, which tell me that Andrew Farrell tops out at 175 cm (5’9” in old money) compared with Aidan Walsh’s 185 cm (6’0”) so the skipper’s switch away from the centre means that we’re ceding a bit of altitude in this sector. Ray being Ray, though, I’d reckon there’s more to this switch than meets the eye because we were beaten up the proverbial stick at midfield during the first half of the semi-final so I’d say there are plans in place to ensure that this won’t happen the next day. In addition, Aidan Walsh’s move to the edge of the square, where he’ll be flanked by those two proven goal-getters Cillian O’Connor and Alex Corduff, is a development worth noting. If we can get enough ball into that line, those lads could do some serious damage with it. Enough, hopefully, to land the Tom Markham Cup.