Plenty of experimentation in team named to face Kerry

We’re keeping with our habit, it would appear, of naming teams at odd hours of the night, with details of tomorrow’s team to face Kerry in our league opener at McHale Park (where throw-in is set for 2pm and not 2.30pm as I’ve been stating regularly over the past week) released close to midnight last night. Also, as is now the norm for us, no details of who’ll be on the subs bench has been placed in the public domain at this time. Here’s the team:

Mayo (NFL Division One v Kerry, 3/2/2013): David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Shane McHale (Knockmore), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Chris Barrett (Belmullet); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy); Lee Keegan (Westport), Richie Feeney (Castlebar Mitchels),¬†Cathal Freeman (Aghamore); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Michael Conroy (Davitts).

Plenty of experimentation there, you’d have to say, with James persisting with his FBD gambit of deploying both Lee Keegan and Richie Feeney in the half-forwards. He also shifted Kevin McLoughlin (nominally at least) further forward, by naming the Knockmore man at corner-forward. Personally, I think we’re far better off with Lee in the half-backs – preferably at 6 – but this is the time of year to be trying out different formations and a match against the Kerrymen is a good occasion to test theories of this sort.

If experimentation is the theme of the moment, though, I’d like to have seen Keith Higgins being released from corner-back duties and given more licence to roam in the half-backs. Likewise, it’d have been good to give Donal Vaughan a run further up – ideally, alongside Aidan O’Shea in midfield – but James obviously must feel that, despite his many indifferent showings in defence for us last year, Donie is still the man for centre-back. In a similar vein, James also keeps faith with Jason Doherty – who starts tomorrow at full-forward – and the Burrishoole man really has to start doing something to repay this loyalty now.

Despite all of the experimentation, the only player set to make his league debut for us tomorrow is Aghamore’s Cathal Freeman (no relation to Alan, by the way – he’s a different Freeman altogether) who lines out at wing forward. In all, tomorrow’s team shows six changes from the one that started in last September’s All-Ireland final, with Kevin Keane, Colm Boyle, Barry Moran, Alan Dillon, Enda Varley and Cillian O’Connor all dropping out while Shane McHale, Tom Cunniffe (making his first competitive start since the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final), Chris Barrett, Seamus O’Shea, Richie Feeney and Cathal Freeman come in.

9 thoughts on “Plenty of experimentation in team named to face Kerry

  1. Difficult to see Mayo winning with defenders in the attack and the picked defenders wanting to be in the forwards. Only consolation is that Kerry have an experimental side out too and are team building also.

  2. Barrett is a corner back an shoud be there with higgins in half back line, woud have cunniffe at no 6 with vaughan on the wing and licence to either vaughan or higgins to get foward as both hav pace an good ball carriers, happy enough with 2 oshea;s ai c.f. …3 backs in fowards abit much for me and time for doherty to deliver now…..ah well time will tell….arou 3.30 tomor. Go on mayo…

  3. I think I can see where James is coming from with this selection. Half forwards nowadays need to do more than just attack a la Alan Dillon, good an attacker as he is. Richie Feeney when he came on in the All Ireland final dd seem to give the attack more punch and he looked good against Leitrim in the FBD. Lee Keegan also has shown good attacking instincts from half back and ability to take a score. In the modern game there is not as much difference between half backs and half forwards as was traditional. And remember how in 2001 final John O’Mahony outfoxed Meath by sending Meehan and de Paor forward to attack while keeping Michael Donnellen, who Meath would have expected to see in attack, back to mind the house.
    I agree it is time for Jason Doherty to step up. We need a ball winner in the full forward line. Far too much ball came straight back out, in the first half in particular, on the All Ireland final.

  4. Mayo football is back on again. No disrespect to the FBD but the league is where it begins. Personally I think it’s a pretty strong team and at least as strong a what the kingdom are displaying. So um confident of a good performance despite the elements and the likely heavy pitch. See ye there. Up Mayo.

  5. Donal vaughan a major worry for the Kerry game with a hamstring injury. Will be touch and go if he makes it

  6. Great , I know 1 swallow doesn’t make a summer but an opening win in the league and it to be against Kerry makes it an excellent start, that we kept them scoreless adds the extra spice.

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