Ronan’s return?

I see that the story about Ronan McGarrity’s possible imminent return to the senior panel – which was first broken yesterday in the Connacht Telegraph – has now made it into this morning’s Indo.

From what I know, there’s no definite confirmation about this development as yet, in the same way that there’s been no public announcement to date about the panel for this year’s championship.

If Ronan is back to full fitness then he’s obviously a welcome addition to the squad for the summer. Midfield has been a real problem area for us so far this year and while this can largely be attributed to injuries and suspensions (both, in Aidan O’Shea’s case) this isn’t the whole story.

Since the beginning of the league we’ve started six different players at centrefield – Seamus O’Shea, Pat Harte, Barry Moran, Aidan O’Shea, Danny Geraghty and Jason Gibbons – and, using this sextet, we’ve tried out six different midfield pairings. First it was Seamus O’Shea and Pat Harte (against Laois), then Barry Moran and Aidan O’Shea (the abandoned Dublin match, the Armagh game and the Cork one), then it was Seamus and big Barry  (Donegal and Cork), followed by Aidan and Danny Geraghty (Dublin), Aidan and Jason Gibbons (Kerry) and finally Barry and Jason (league semi-final and final).

That’s a huge amount of chopping and changing over the course of just nine games, at the end of which we’re still none the wiser as to which pairing works best at midfield. Aidan’s a definite starter, but only if he’s fully fit (which is far from a certainty at this stage), while Jason Gibbons is probably in pole position at the minute for the second slot. Seamus is still recovering from injury as well but should be okay for the summer and while Barry has remained mercifully free of injury so far this year, it’s still far from clear where on the field (if at all) it’s best to deploy him. Pat is clearly a better option in the forwards, while Danny looks equally at home in the half-backs.

A fully fit Ronan McGarrity would certainly spice up the selection decisions at midfield. While his 2011 was largely blighted by injury, it should be recalled that Ronan started the league last year in flying form for us and if he was back in that kind of form for the summer, he’d definitely be worth his place in this year’s championship panel.

28 thoughts on “Ronan’s return?

  1. Never his greatest fan but was impressed by him when he gave Cullinane and Galway a good going over a couple of times. I believe him a valuable addition because he knows the clock is ticking and those guys make a huge difference.
    Think WJ in 1989, McHale 96, Fallon 97 and O Neill 2006. I expect Ronan to start and have a big impact. That frees up a couple of bigger options up front

  2. Good point John. We badly need physical presence upfront. High ball into the forwards is just not an option for Mayo with the current selection of forwards available.

    Being able to push Harte / either O’Shea into the half-forwards, and possibly reinstating Andy Moran at FF, would be a big help in that regard. Then Mayo could use either the high or the low ball in, as well as being able to stand up to the Corks of this world a lot more effectively.

  3. If McGarrity is fully fit and at the same level he was at up until his injury problems began last year he must start for us.

    A fully fit Ronan McGarrity and a fully fit Aidan O’Shea is easily our best midfield pairing and would be one of the best out there I reckon.

  4. For me it’s a fit AOS at midfield and A.N. other , agree that gibbons is in pole position , lets see how mcgarrity looks in our first championship game , i would assume he will play some part in that most likely as a sub replacement at midfield.

  5. I would welcome Ronans return to the panel. I would even try him in our 1st cship game from the start. See how he goes in (hopefully) a game we should win.

  6. Ronans addition to the panel is good news-However I feel he must be a long way behind the incumbents in the physical stakes,considering that they have been working to personal fitness programmes since January

  7. I see where Ronan has joined the panal. Also Trevor would want him on our 1st championship game.(To see how he goes?). I thought we went to the League final and did Ronan play in any league match? I dont think he did. So lets not get carried away by Ronans return. Let him prove he is fit to regain his place. Your only as good as your last game and Ronan has a big mountain to climb.
    I cannot see him having the same fitness as the other lads have ,who have been training since January, I still would have Gibbons before him on team. He has a lot more to offer going forward than Ronan who is not the answer.

  8. I certainly would welcome the return of Ronan if it’s true. He should provide good competition in a problem area for Mayo.

    I would say though that our biggest problem in the midfield sector isn’t as such the midfielders winning clean ball but more our inability to win breaking ball, particularly against the likes of Kerry and cork. We need huge improvement from the half forward line and half backs in this area and I hope it’s something James and the lads are working hard on.

  9. We have alot of midfielders in the squad now. Most of them are utility players and will be retained but ya never know!!

    My biggest concern at the moment is our defence. If you look at some of the defenders we had last year on the squad of 31 for instance; Tom Cunniffe, Trevor Mortimer, Dermot Geraghty, James Burke and Alan feeney, they have either left the panel or been dropped. Alan was let go in April and two defenders in the current set up were let go last week…. I’m not going to print names until it’s announced…..

    Ok Colm Boyle, Shane Mchale and Kevin Keane have impressed. They are good defenders. Michael Walsh from Ardnaree is still involved too. But I think we are a bit thin in terms of players who can play across the full back line. Considering that we have now lost/omitted 7 of the defenders who were involved last year (not including Trevor howley), maybe one or two defenders should be added….. God forbid anything happening to the likes of Higgins, Cafferkey and Vaughan in the weeks ahead! We could be in alot of bother then!

  10. I actually think that the full back line is one area that we have shown a big improvement in since last year. Keane and McHale have looked IC standard and Keane in particular adds a bit of physicality that we were badly missing last year. I am far happier to see players like this come along rather than converted half backs like Cunniffe back there. Cafferkey has continued his progress and is becoming a top IC defender. My worry for this year is how we deploy our troops at the other end of the field and if they will click on the big days.

  11. I for one would not be welcoming McGarity back with open arms, and I think it could upset or unsettle the panel.

    I have to laugh at the Cullaine reference! In fairness Cullaine is only 30 and hasnt played for Galway since 2009 as he is not good enough. Not only that but he is not rated in Galway, even at club level so any comparason drawn against him is not very flattering.

    With McGarity your talking about a player that [deleted – WJ].

    I kind of agree with Patriot, we have a lot of midfielders but have we enough cover in defence if some of the more Senior players get hurt?

  12. CiderMan – you should know by now the rules in relation to comments about particular players. I’ve deleted that bit about what may (or may not) have happened last year as its accuracy or otherwise cannot be verified at this stage and it adds nothing to the debate.

  13. Is it not a bit late in the day to be bringing in or even talking about players who may or may not have anything to offer?

    No disrespect to Ronan but if I was Jason Gibbons, Danny Geraghty or Seamus O’Shea, I’d be well & truly pissed off to be listening to talk of fellas being parachuted in at the last minute.

    It’s mid May, championship is getting into full swing. Time to stick with fellas who performed during the league, did we not reach the final?

  14. Hey lads Ronan was givena specific trainig programme at the start of the year by Cian O Neill at the star os the year to aid his recovery from an Achilles injury. Why would this be done if he wasn’t in Horan’s plans from the outset. The main reason he’s rejoined the panel is because he has only regained full fitness in the last month or so and it’s not as if he hasn’t enough intercounty experience to have to be rushed back to be blooded in the league. Anyone who has watche Ronan when even 70% fit for Ballina would have him in the top 5 or 6 Midfilders in the county so I don”t see the big problem in including him? If fully fit and firing on all cylinders I would personally have him in there with Aidan but I would probably be leaning towards Gibbons and Aidan with Ronan and Seamus on the bench if we were playing on Sunday. Anyway I can’t see the damage it would do to have him there.

  15. Surprised at the negativity at this announcement on here. As has been said, Ronan has been working hard on an individual training program all year – he hasn’t been ‘parachuted in’ from anywhere.

    An ciotog – are you saying then that if Andy Moran hadn’t fully recovered from his leg break until now you would leave him out because he hadn’t played in the league? Your logic is insane, being overpowered in midfield is the biggest reason we lost the game against Cork. In fact its the reason we lost twice against Cork already this year. Trevor Mortimer came onto the panel late last year and didn’t do too bad at all.

    If McGarrity is fit and on form, get him on the pitch against Leitrim/London, even as a sub. If he does well and we win, start him in the Connacht final.

  16. There is a monumental difference in attitude between Trevor Mortimer and McGarrity. It’s stupid to be comparing them. Rather than insulting any player Just take a look at the Kerry semi final last year…… There is no need for words when you watch the difference in impact that both players made. Dermot Geraghty was drafted into the Mayo panel in may last year. After the London game we didn’t see him at all. The fitness and game time that the squad players have is a huge advantage over a player that is drafted in halfway through the year.

    It’s all well and good that McGarrity plays well against Leitrim and London etc. It’s when we face the big teams like Kerry at headquarters, he just seems to go missing or gets physical bullied. It’s so bloody frustrating to watch because it’s clear that the ability is there but it’s not shown in the bigtime.

  17. Fitness, sharpness, game time. The only one you can work on by yourself is fitness. Lads coming in at this stage of the year are at a major disadvantage, whatever anyone may say.

    Declan, I hope you’re not suggesting that Ronan would give us the power to overcome the Cork’s of this world when the chips are down.

    I’d be taking my chances with Seamus O’Shea, a fella who actually delivered against Cork on the big day.

  18. To throw me tuppence worth in here, I think we are fairly healthy in the backs. The fact that three lads have come in and claimed places is a good sign. While I would contend that the lads in the corner and wing positions in the backs have nailed down their jerseys, the difficulty for me is identifying the style of play we have up front. For half the league, we had a defensive strategy for the half forward line. We changed to an attacking strategy against Dublin and Kerry. Against Cork, I couldn’t fully grasp which it was. This is something that should be worked on during the run up to June 24. As well as that, the square ball rule change will influence the choice of who gets the 14 shirt.

    And at this stage, Clarke, Cafferkey, Vaughan and A O’Shea are the established ‘spine’ players in their positions. They are all leaders as well. Andy is another leader and Cillian is emerging as one but where to play them is the question. I have always been of the view that Andy is excellent at either No 10 or 14. With the new square ball rule and the way he covers so much ground, 10 might now be the better option. Cillian is a scorer has not yet fully emerged as a primary ball winner. He thrived at corner forward last year. I’d go for the same now. Kevin Mc is a great grafter in the half forwards and worth his spot there.

    With a midfield spot still unclaimed, the challenge, as I see it, is to fill the 9, 11, 13 and 14 positions. That’s three spine positions, which is a big task in the next 5 and a bit weeks.

    So deciding on the style of play will be crucial in choosing the correct players. To me, Jason Gibbons and Sheamie are emerging as the main contenders for the No 9 shirt. Ronan is now in there too but he is starting back in the pack and might have to be content with an impact sub role. But then look at the players Cork has for such a role. If we go long and try to exploit the new square ball rule we need someone who can win ball in the air. Barry, Danny or Alan might be suitable. Another aspect of this game is to be able to break it to the others in the vicinity. I’m not sure who is best at that but it must be established. This type of play requires a no-nonsense No13 who will pick up loose ball and score with one touch. Who is best for that? Doherty? Mort? Conroy? Dillon? But only one of them would get the shirt! And then there is No 11. I would advocate a player that attacks relentlessly in this position. Who can do that? Harte? Kirby? Freeman?

    Of course, we might use a different style of play where the ball is moved up slower, but the current game doesn’t suit that as it allows oppositions to defend in droves. And we have come unstuck whenever we have been doing this. So going long looks a much better option. However, it probably means that only one of the Doherty/Mort/Conroy/Dillon quartet would start.
    Food for thought.

    Keep the Faith!

  19. Good thinking Four Goal. The league final showed we were either unable to feed the six starting forwards or they lacked the overall bite collectively . For me O Connor is an out and out 13 at the moment. With the new square ball rule we have no choice but to put a big lad in there.

    Who feeds of him, Four Goal is correct, some regulars gonna be dissapointed up front. Big decisions to be made by James Horan. Andy will start, probably McLoughlin . Four spots gone and it’s who gets the two jerseys that will define us. The teams of 1989, 1996/97 had a plethora of midfielders around the place. Did us no harm if allied to a guy who can score regularly .

  20. Best of his generation in his position. If fit no question a huge addition. Ten minutes into the second half of the league final he would have been some addition. Now all we need is to send some one to Africa to bring back the last piece of the jigsaw

  21. Mick, you say Ronan would have been some addition if he came on ten minutes into second half of league final.
    That’s exactly what happened in the AISF against Kerry last year – he came on ten minutes into the second half – and he was no addition at all.
    I don’t think that’s having a go at the player, that’s just telling it how it is.
    So I don’t know why people are thinking this is some panacea to our midfield problems.
    Ronan deserves another chance to prove himself, maybe this achilles injury was holding him back last year, I don’t know. But he certainly shouldn’t be parachuted into the first fifteen against Leitrim.

  22. This has to be one of the best discussions that has come up here. It is also one of the most important going forward as it will ultimately define our season.
    This is a very important season for us and will set us on a particular trajectory for the future. Small things are going to make a big difference and we must plan & strategise from the outset.
    Ten minutes into the second half of the league final we were beaten precisely because of what happened in those 10 minutes. We need to look at the tape of those 10 minutes over and over again.
    Take a bow Fourgoal & Tubberman. All I can say is that Fourgoal has rattled the net four times with his contribution and sent me towards the keyboard rather than towards my Weetabix this morning !
    Food for thought indeed !

  23. ok its looking like this.

    Keane Caff Higgans

    Boyle Vaughan Keegan

    O Shea
    An Other

    Dillon Moran McLoughlin

    O Connor An Other An Other

    I would go for AOS/ SOS in midfield with Gibbons, McGarrity, Harte, Moran, Geraghty etc in waiting when SOS tires.

    Cornor forward to go to Mort or Doherty.
    FF must be for Freeman. Give him a go and settle that ff line down.

    Plan B

    Andy at 14, Harte at 11 and Freeman in 15 instead of mort, who is better as impact sub i think.

    Plan C

    AOS at 14. SOS and Harte at midfield, Andy at 11.
    FF line reads O Connor, AOS , Freeman.

    Get the ball into them lads!

  24. I’m glad Mc Garrity has rejoined the panel. Despite his poor display v Kerry Last year. Lets face facts here we were roasted V Cork at midfield the last day, for the entire match. Moran and Gibbons were out of it. Gibbons was the best of the two, but still nowhere near good enough, he caught a few good balls, but the Cork lads were two strong.
    Now I know Mc Garrity is no adonis himself, but lets give him a chance.
    At training now, Horan can have the two O’Sheas, Gibbons, Mc Garrity, Geraghty and Harte competing against each other for ball. This should bring on all the lads and maybe help us find a partner for AOS.
    My choice at this stage would be Gibbons, as I believe AOS’s strength will allow his lack of same to be less of an issue, and allow him use his mobility to a greater degree. However, I would not write of SOS either, as I love his battling qualities.

    As regards full forward, I think the new square ball rule will result in a bigger man in ff. Freeman hasn’t done it for me, maybe Geraghty could be tried there as he is a big unit. The corner forwards will of course also be able to play under the new rules, therefore we will not be able to play two light corner forwards, one place for Varley, Mort, Doherty, et al as Cillian is a shoe in for other side.

    I believe Dillon is struggling in two many games, he is a good lad, but maybe an impact sub is a better role for him.

    Mc Loughlin is doing well, but doesn’t offer us long range points, he need to be close to goal to score.

    The backs are accounting for a few scores everygame of late, which is welcome, However our half forward line must contribute more. Horan and his selectors need to inform the lads in training that places are up for grabs and implement a policy of the form players getting the jersey. This is the way Kerry and Kilkenny run their teams and it works.
    If we had Galvin, he would be first name on team sheet, not in Kerry.
    We have about 10 names on the team already I reckon, so there should be an opportunity for anyone who can prove they deserve a chance.

  25. I’m actually fairly surprised with some of the negative feedback given to McGarrity’s inclusion in the panel. Given that even after a run to the league final most of us agree that we only have one cert for a midfield spot (if he is fit) then surely McGarrity is worth a look. I think he is nailed on for a substitute appearance v Leitrim if he progresses as expected and I wouldn’t be surprised if he started if Aidan doesn’t pass the fitness test.

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