Selection time

Guest slot_

With a couple of weeks to go to Salthill, thoughts begin to turn to selection of the team. We all have our views on how we should line out and it would be interesting to hear what the preferred line-ups would be. However, rather than just putting names to a 1-15 list, I suggest that responses to this post would explain WHY each person is picked – not just from the perspective of the attributes of the individual player – but from the perspective of the tactics that you would like to see deployed.


So to throw this particular ball in, here’s my line-up.

There are three options for the No. 1 shirt. All are high quality and it is hard to choose one, but I would go for David Clarke, due to his ability to command the square and his ability to vary the kick outs – giving us a number of different restart options.

For No. 2, I would go for Turbo Tom Cunniffe. He is one of the hardest and fastest men around. Croke Park is still shaking from the thundering shoulder he delivered to Peter Harte in 2013 and we need such steel in the deepest defensive line. I would go for Kevin Keane at No. 3 as he is very athletic, teak tough and afraid of no one. He is continuing to improve and he could be a big player for us this year. At No. 4, I would go for Ger Cafferkey as he is a very tight man marker. Look at the stats of the guys he marks when he is in the corner. They don’t get a smell of the ball. As well as that he is a good distributer.

(Hmmm … where’s Zippy, you ask? I’ll come to that later!)

In the half-back line, I couldn’t look beyond Lee Keegan at No. 5. One of the best link players in the game, he is one of the heartbeats of Mayo football. First surprise of the day would be No. 6, where I would install Seamus O’Shea. Sheamie is a defensive midfielder and a dogged tackler. He works his socks off and I think he would provide a great addition to the defensive spine of the team. On the other side, Boyler would be the automatic choice. Like Lee Keegan, he empties the tank every time. He doesn’t seem to have any concept of fear.

At No. 8, I would go for Tom Parsons. Tom has a great pair of hands and is probably the best kick passer we have. With the summer likely to be covered in blankets, Tom’s 30/40 metre kicks could unlock a few defences for us. At No. 9, I would go for Aidan O’Shea. This man’s best days are always in the middle of the park. His fielding and strength are as good as the best in Ireland and centrefield gives him much more space to operate. His use in the full-forward line has been interesting, but when his space is limited (as in a blanket defence) he is inclined to run into tackles. Also, he is a good man to take points from distance.

At No. 10, the other heartbeat of Mayo football, Kevin McLoughlin, has to get the nod. He drops back when Keegan attacks, hoovers up behind centrefield, links to the full-forward line and chips in a few scores as well. At No. 11, the next surprise – Cillian O’Connor. Cillian is a great passer, with both hands and feet. He has a great eye for who is moving inside for a pass and he has no problem finding the posts. At No. 12, I would go for the Doc. In my view, this guy is continuing to improve. He is constantly making runs, turns over more opposition ball than any other forward in the country and is not afraid to go for a goal when it is on.

(Still no Zippy? I’m coming to that!)

At No. 13, I would go for Alan Dillon as he still has the X Factor. He has had the highest shot to score ratio in the team for nearly every game he plays and showed in the league that he is always good for scores. In addition, his positioning is excellent. At 14, I would give Danny Kirby the nod. He has a great pair of hands and knows where the posts are. I think he could be the find of the season. And at 15 – yes, you’ve been patient – but I would throw a complete curved ball here and give Keith Higgins the shirt. Strange call you might say, but just think about it. He can defend, he can burst through the line, he can pass, he is lightning fast and he can score. He could operate anywhere on the field but if we want him bursting through, I would rather see that happening on their 45 than on ours. Another blanket buster option. Also, Keith if has a weakness it is that he relies too much on his speed to close down his man. That sometimes catches him out, but if he is given a “free spirit” role in the opposition half, I don’t know any back in the country that would like to mark him.

So there it is. Strength down the middle, tight markers in the corners, power and accuracy in centre field, wing backs and wing forwards who will go hammer and tongs all day, foot passers and scorers up front.

The thought of it. I can feel the blood rising! Bring on 14th June.

Have a think about your own fifteen and let the debate begin.

Keep the Faith!


81 thoughts on “Selection time

  1. Good team but not sure about Dillon or Kirby starting, Ronaldson & Freeman for me.
    Totally agree on Higgins, we have enough quality man markers, his speed is needed out de field. Moving him back was the losing of the 2013 AI final!

  2. I’d imagine this is what we will see

    Clarke; Cunniffe, Cafferkey, Higgins; Keegan, Boyle, Vaughan; SOS, B. Moran; K McL, AOS, Doherty; Ronaldson, Freeman, COC

    I’d be very surprised to see anything else tbh*, with maybe Keane sneaking in at 3, though I think they’ll go with GC

    *Provided everyone is fit of course

  3. Haha, I think you’re trying to see if you can get the most comments ever by some of them positions . Lol.

    Anyway it is my opinion we will most definitely need Higgins at the back as these Galway forwards are as good as you get nearly. I wouldn’t drop Vaughan either, he’d be my six. AOS would be ff for me, every game is different , exploit their weakness , Hanley is rubbish and it would scare the bejaysus out of him to see the Bear o Se take up a position on the edge of the square . I agree with Cillian at 11 he started on the 40 on our last trip to salthill and did very well .

    I hope Dillon starts too , be a bit of craic with Johnny duanne at the start , bit of niggle at the start makes for a great atmosphere .

  4. Clarke-Solidity but limited KO option
    Cunniffe-Pace and tenacious
    Keane, commanding & improving
    Higgins-best players best positions
    Keegan-Best Halfback around
    Coen-Natural Centre back & new face
    Boyle- Heartbeat teancity
    AOS-Bulk and KO option
    Paraons-Mobility and new face
    D OConnor- Pace, engine new face
    Doc- Workrate and scores
    Dillon-Scores and movement
    Kirby-Blanket beater for summer
    C O’Connor- our best inside man

    Rationale- Need freshness of new players, need solidity balanced with pace at back, AOS is only man to challenge David Moran Neil Gallagher later in Champ, industrious H/Forwards who score, inside line that win ball and score.
    One doubt would be Coen and another are Clarke’s lack of KO variation

  5. Interesting calls Willie Joe.

    However, I’m going for a more orthodox line up with some variation and I’m naming a 20

    man plus panel; we tend to become obsessed with the first 15 and it’s a question of horses

    for courses and bringing the right guys in at the right time.

    Tactics: Full court press, with more defensive set up if a lead justifies it.

    O’Malley – potentially most consistent, great kickout and potential long range free man

    Cunniffe – see Willie Joe

    Keane – has to be KK after very consistent league

    Higgins – Where best is the key question? Moving him up should be an option

    Keegan – Hasn’t found true form yet, so Durcan should be breathing on him

    Vaughan- Overall engine, point taking etc, but Coen should also be closing in

    Boyle – See Willie Joe

    Moran – Always does well against Galway. If he can repeat the Donegal effort…

    SOS – Fixture

    McLoughlin – See Willie Joe

    AOS – With FF option. Think we can get the best out of him here.

    Parsons – Extra midfielder, kicker, runner. Must work to close down opposition

    Doc – Where best? High court press starts here

    Freezer – Most experienced and fittest option. Does well against Galway

    Loftus – I’m breaking out of my orthodoxy and giving Galway something to think about


    Andy M – Will have something to offer at some stage and it may be early

    Dillon – Ditto, with added scoring potential

    Kirby – Hoping he’s progressing – just might not start him

    Ronaldson – Him or Loftus to start is hard to call

    Cillian – just may not be ready for a full game. Wouldn’t start him. Impact sub!!

    Caff & Coen – sub defenders

  6. Clarke
    Cafferkey Keane Higgins
    Keegan Coen Boyle
    S O Shea Parsons
    Mc Loughlin Vaughan Doherty
    Cilian AO Shea Freeman
    plenty of muscle and toughness to start soften up the opposition when the sorting out is finished we have Loftus and Ronaldson both good point scorers Andy has thirty minutes if needed C O Shea scoring well for Breaffy Harrison has a few years experience in the panel he should be ready to step up take the pressure of target man off Freeman and let him run at the defence could be a few goals in him like the one in killarney big Barry is there when midfield boys get tired.

  7. Some good selection ideas, I agree with most of them, although not all.I agree with David Clarke in goals, his physical presence there is vital and he gives confidence to his defenders. I would have Ger Cafferkey at full back, on his day , he is our best full back and has been for a number of years.Centre back, I would have Donal Vaughan, he is a fine footballer, very athletic, great going forward, if he stayed back more, it would be no harm.I have always admired Tom Parsons as a mid fielder, he is, as was said, a great fielder and distributer of the ball and his work rate up and down the field is second to none.Alongside him , I would have Seamus O Shea, with instructions to off load the ball quicker, be that, an early ball inside or safe hand pass, to a team mate , not to be running into tackles and traffic, when early ball to the full forward line, could open defences.
    Aiden O Shea I would place at no 11, moving in and out to full forward, giving instructions to half backs, half forwards and Mid fielders to give early ball in to him.
    One aspect of our game that that fell down during league was our ability to kick points from 40 yards out( especially against Tyrone).We need to work on taking our points from distance, not trying to run the ball into the net.
    I would try Danny Kirby at full forward, swapping him with Aiden O Shea, during the game, giving them a free run, to develop an understanding between themselves.
    Cillien in the corner, with Alan Dillon in the other, would be a very potent line.
    We would be left with a strong bench, as well with Andy Moran, Mark Ronalson Barry Moran all available.
    I believe Tom Parsons and Danny Kirby could have a big influence on the team, adding to it, big time.

  8. Breaking news on the Catcol selection.

    Diarmaid O’Connor has been added to my panel.

    Had forgotten him – just goes to show our strength in depth!

  9. My team to face Galway would be:

    1 Clarke (safest pair of hands, good under the high ball)
    2 Cunniffe (quick & tight marker)
    3 Keane (solid league campaign)
    4 Higgins (captain fantasic)
    5 Keegan (not great league, hopefully will improve)
    6 Vaughan/Coen (could be either starting)
    7 Boyle (solid as a rock)
    8 Parsons (good league, great pace and passing)
    9 S O Shea (good ball carrier, needs to let it in earlier and dont take ball into tackles, turnovers happen as a result)
    10 Mc Loughlin (quiet league campaign, he should improve in championship)
    11 A O Shea (needs to show leadership, hopefully he will have learnt to win frees like donaghy did against us last year. 3/4 kerrymen dragging him and still no free.
    12 Doc (full court press and dogged defending)
    13 Loftus (we need a wild card nobody knows anything about, get the opposition thinking. Hopefully will turn good)
    14 Freeman/Kirby (could be either, but a big game could nail down their spot at full forward)
    15 Coc (hopefully cillian will be rid of the injury and firing on full cylinders, Mayo are not the same attacking threat without him.

  10. Hennelly – best shot stopper and hasn’t put a foot wrong over the last 12 mths. Under-rated by many on this site.
    Cunniffe – pacy, good marker and distributor of the ball.
    Cafferkey – best full back in mayo full stop.
    Higgins – best corner back in the country. Play your best players in their best positions.
    Keegan – best half back in the country.
    Vaughan – accepted he isn’t everyone’s favourite but knows the position inside out and works really well with his experienced colleagues either side of him.
    Boyle – heartbeat of team and inspires all around him.
    SOS – works the hard yards and covers for his more illustrious brother.
    AOS – agree wholeheartedly that his best days are in the middle of pitch. I repeat myself, play the best players in their best position.
    Parsons – will help win valuable primary possession and is mobile. Disagree with other posters, his distribution at times can let him down but it is improving.
    COC – best forward we have so play him in the pivotal centre position with a licence to dictate the game.
    Doherty – tireless worker that has improved his all round game. Needs to be hitting a minimum of 2 points from play to take pressure of our main score getters.
    Loftus – need to spring a surprise every season to freshen up things. Youth has no fear and from his performances at club level this season, his inclusion is deserved.
    Dillon – every team needs experience and his selection would be ideal alongside our debutant to ease him into the cut and thrust of inter-county football.
    McLoughlin – very important cog in Horans machine of the last 4 years. Wins vital dirty ball. Is our left footed free taker but needs to get this scoring average vastly improved. We cannot afford to miss scorable frees in the business end of the championship. Like Doherty, needs to be contributing a minimum of 2 points from play every game.

  11. Clarke (Hennelly) – need to revert to the steady eddie, think Hennelly is doubtful at the moment anyway. Hennelly is probably better at varying the kickouts, but in some games last year he was taking the wrong option.

    Cunniffe (Barrett, Cafferky) – think Barrett is close to a start, but Cunniffe gets the nod for physicality

    Keane (Vaughan, Cafferky) – Face it, this has been a problem position for us for a long time. We need to be more bullish around our own square and Keane (or Vaughan) provide that, but need to stay around the square – if man changes, well then switch markers – Keane is exposed too far out. Cafferky if there is a specific type player only

    Higgins (Barrett) – yeah we all love his pace and because of this we think he can solve problems elsewhere, but in the corner (and attacking from there) is where he is at his best

    Keegan (Barrett, Durkin) – One of our most consistent over last 4 years

    Boyle (Vaughan, Coen) – One of our most consistent over last 4 years – probably best through the middle

    Vaughan (Boyle, Coen) – think Vaughan is one of the team ‘drivers’ and has to be on the field (despite his kamakazie type play sometines!)

    S O’Shea (B Moran) – think O’Shea is one of the first on the teamsheet for work-rate and makes us tick around the middle

    Parsons (Gibbons) – to provide more mobility, can be a bit hot and cold, but looks lately if he in in a good form

    McLaughlin – (Conroy, D O’Connor) – Kevin no.1 on my team sheet and is still our right-side free taker

    A O’Shea (maybe Doherty) – yeah would love to have AOS in midfield, but we really have no other option here – we have not tried any natural forward on a consistent basis here and I think that has been a failing – it’s a position that needs growing-into

    Doherty (Dillon, D O’Connor)

    Loftus (A Moran) – Loftus has not played for Mayo yet, but I think we have to try something new and I think this lad is probably the best option we have here and def a big future for Mayo. Give something different for Galway to think about. Think we have to be a bit bold this year in our selections and I think Loftus (or Regan when fit) are the best options to provide this. Coen, Durlin and D O’Connor – all good options, but similar to whet we have already. If Loftus finds the going too tough, introduce Moran.

    Kirby (A Moran, Freeman) – again, think we need a new option here and I think Kirby has the attributes to be a Donaghy-like nuisance around the square. But NOT in midfield, just as Donaghy doesn’t really work there (C&H seem to have a tendency to do this and I don’t agree with it – we have enough options there).

    C O’Connor (Ronaldson, Dillon) – self explanatory

  12. If that team played a better side (than Galway) it would be bet out the gate.
    Seamus O’Shea has never played centre back in his life so he cannot simply be manufactured into a centre back at county level. Stephen Coen all be it a little inexperienced would be a far better choice than Seamus in this position.
    Tom Parsons is been placed on this team on the basis of one game against Cork, his performance for his club at the weekend was poor and I feel is along way off the standards needed.
    Danny Kirby does not have the neccesary footballing skills required to play at full forward at this level.
    When Keith Higgins played at centre forward two years ago it was widely condemned and now you want to put him Full forward.
    My Team:
    Cunniffe (Cafferkey), Keane, Higgins
    Keegan, Barrett, Boyle
    S O Shea, Barry Moran
    Kevin Mc, Aidan O Shea, Doherty
    Ronaldson, Cillian O, Conor, Alan Dillon

  13. I think anyone can make a pick from the following 24.

    D. Clarke, R Hennelly
    Tom C, K Keane, Ger C, K Higgins, B. Harrisson
    Lee Keegan, SOS, C Boyle, D Vaughan, C Barrett
    T Parsons, B Moran, AOS,
    K McL, COC, J Doc, Dillon (for last 15)
    M Conroy, A Moran, D Kirby, M Ronaldson, A Freeman.

    I have 24 names above there (15 + (possible/probable) 7 = 22 is all that can play).
    I haven’t picked positions cos I think you can pick nearly any team you want. Only other name I think should be there is possibly Jason Gibbons who could operate at midfield as well.

    (I assume Richie Feeney has retired from inter county??)

    Galway are going to put it up mentally and physically to our guys this year in terms of whether they still have it in the tank to compete.

    So the main thing I would like to see is that Mayo have guys who go out and are not afraid to smash (even if it results in a black card). Having quality ‘belters’ who will put it up to the opposition is key this year.

    with the result is a team that should be flittering everything in a maroon jersey knowing all the while that if there is a black card coming as a result of some robust tackle there is someone who is just as teak tough coming off the bench to replace them.

  14. Clarke (best shot-stopper, most physical of our keepers)

    Cafferkey, Keane, Higgins (Gives flexibility to switch Caff and Keane depending on events, Higgins in his best position)

    Keegan, Cunniffe, Boyle (Cunniffe the best defensive CB we have, still allows one of Keegan or Boyle to join attacks)

    S O’S, Barry Moran (S O’S for mobility and the rough stuff, Barry for fielding and both for the odd point)

    McLoughlin, Parsons, Doherty (Probably the best three we have for scoring threat in this line, and Parsons can help with kickouts too)

    C O’C, A O’S, Dillon (Sharpest shooters in the corners and no better ‘big man’ option than A O’S)

    Subs: O’Malley, Barrett, Vaughan, Gibbons, Andy Moran, Ronaldson

  15. Jk how can you say parsons as had only 1 good game and name Barry Moran are you havin a laugh

  16. Great piece by Fourgoalmcgee to get the juices flowing. I’m sure this debate will run right up to the 14th. All the above formations are interesting to say the least. The one point I take from it is that we are starting to show depth in the pane, because in fairness everyone has left a player out that they would have liked to start but just couldn’t fit.
    In my wisdom and as an experienced couch expert I have chosen the following…

    1. Clarke. Big game experience and commanding of his area. Hennelly a very close second
    2. Keane. Tough as nails and would rotate with Caff depending on opposition.
    3. Bar the high ball he is a serious man marker. Let’s not discard such quality and experience as was the case with Keane after Donegal.
    4. Cunniffe. Serious man marker who goes about his work effectively.
    None of the back 3 have a tendency to move forward so counter attacking teams will not see a lot of space when they break.
    567. keegan, Vaughan, Boyle. Although close no new faces have done enough to dislodge these three.
    8,9. The O’shea brothers. I feel the best midfield partnership in the country. Obvious understanding of each others game.
    10. parsons. Added option for kick outs and brings physicality to the half forward line. Not bad at taking a point either.
    11. Doherty. Will win you the dirty ball and will harass his opposite number when defending. No more soft touches down the middle which will help Vaughan out.
    12. Higgins. Speed will help link defence and attack. Good eye for a foot pass.
    13. Mcloughlin. Playing more in the half forwards than close in. Again a good man to win dirty ball. Needs to improve form from the league though.
    14. Kirby. Need a bit of muscle in there. Should supply good lay offs to Civilian or at least draw frees.
    15. COC. If fit. Probably the most underrated forward in the country.

    Serious bench to choose from. That’s almost as hard to figure out as the first 15 were.
    1. Hennelly
    2. Barrett
    3. Andy Moran
    4. Barry Moran
    5. Dillon
    6. Freeman
    7. Ronaldson

    Lots of seriously good players not making that 22.

  17. I see comments about Clark’s physical presence, am I blind or is hennelly not a lot bigger in size and power? On the ff line I think Kirby at ff, coc and ronaldson in the corners. Hf line of Kevin mc, aos and doc, mf of SOS and parsons, hb line of Keegan, Higgins and Boyle, Higgins licensed to go forward, and FB line of cunniffe, keane and cafferky. Hennelly in goal.
    In retrospect, I’m happy that donegal tied the score and took league semi out of our vision, we were better concentrating on being fit to meet Galway and whoever else pops up this year.
    From where it all sits today, in my opinion Dublin will be the team to beat this year. How sweet would it be to knock them out, a last minute point from play into the hill?

  18. Three talking points I was mulling over:
    1. I think the league showed that we need to leave AOS upfront. Our scoring returns would have been pretty abysmal without him. He was winning frees, scoring himself and laying on scores for others.
    Is maybe 5% more posession worth denying our forwards his assistance? I don’t think so in my view. We were a little impatient and unpracticed in how we used him. The ball needed to go in quicker and there was no need for him to be back in his own half. That is only wearing down his energy. He is big and fast, the tradeoff is that he can’t cover ground all day.
    2. I believe Keith Higgins most effective position in terms of the overall scoreboard is as a 7th defender who is used to launch long direct ball deep into our forwards. When the opposition have the ball he is used to assist the half backline. If the ball breaks past our halfbacks he continues tracking back into our full backline.
    The extra defender needs to have good speed as this allows you get a yard closer to a block, get quicker pressure in to help out a defender who is 1 v 1.
    Boyle, Keegan and Vaughan, none of them are specialists in kicking the ball long and accurate. Hence why I think Higgins is needed in that area, picked corner forward and moved back.
    3. Cillian is needed at centre forward. The league showed we lacked a director of operations. We have great workrate, tackling etc. But none of our middle eight are able to pick out a quick pass to a man inside. They all have to take a solo and weigh up their options. Cillian is a very intelligent footballer and he has that ability to shrug off any tackler who will be with him, opening up space to make his pass or his shot. Cillian is very aggressive in posession and is well able to protect posession and open up his own space.
    – Best passing forward we have
    – Plays head up all the time (crucial for a centre forward)
    – Scoring threat himself from play
    – Good communicator and organiser on the field
    With the way football tactics will be this summer it is crucial to have such a centre forward like Cillian. Every 1 second delay in your attack into the scoring zone extra defenders are 10 yards closer to their own goal and the blanket has more time to adjust the positioning of those who are already back. Defences love time to get set, you have to take it away from them.

  19. My current starting fifteen would be –

    Hennelly – Man in possession. Has a great kick of the ball but can improve distribution.
    Tom Cunniffe – Great pace and energy. Tough in the tackle.
    Ger Cafferkey – KK pressing strongly for a start but apparently GC excellent on Sun.
    Keith Higgins – Captain and one of our best players. And this is his best position.

    Lee Keegan – Quiet league but he’s a class performer.
    Donal Vaughan – A little loose but fantastic athlete. Not a midfielder in my opinion.
    Colm Boyle – Aggressive, committed and consistent.

    Seamus O’Shea – Great work rate going forward and back. Needs to release the ball early.
    Barry Moran – Dominant against Donegal and making his way back to the form of yore.

    Kevin McLoughlin – Very under-rated. When he plays well Mayo tend to motor.
    Aidan O’Shea – Option for kickouts and float between the lines for optimal damage.
    Jason Doherty – Seismic improvement last year. Can score from distance when in form.

    Cillian O’Connor – Best forward in Mayo. Efficient from frees, strong and ruthless.

    I genuinely have no idea who will make up the rest of the inside line. I think Regan was our wild card before injury. I can’t say where Andy Moran or Alan Dillon are in terms of form or fitness. I’ve always rated Alan Freeman but he seems devoid of confidence at the moment. Conor O’Shea could eke his way into the fold here, as could Diarmuid O’Connor. I felt a little sorry for both of them last year as they did little wrong against Roscommon but saw little or no game time for the rest of the season.

    David Clarke, Kevin O’Malley, Chris Barrett, Tom Parsons, Kevin Keane et all will provide decent cover. We do have some strength and depth but we’re sorely reliant on the likes of Cillian and Aidan performing.

  20. My god there are some variations of team selection, can’t see Higgins being deployed at full forward line, and AOS has to be on the square, what about Barry Moran … Selectors have a headache but a good one

  21. Wouldn’t like to see the author of this picking a team! Seamus o shea at centre back!!! It be a toss between Clarke and hennelly really depends what they want from there keeper.there won’t be much change in defence except for Keane at full back.midfield expect parsons and Seamus o shea half forward line picks itself.full forward line be the interesting one.cillian if fit will start.ronaldson has played all league games so very possible he may start.diarmuid o Connor is playing well and may start inside but could see him play further out pitch.think andy will be held in reserve with dillon.conor Loftus may get the nod flying with cross and by all accounts doing the same in training.

  22. 1 Clarke – solid
    2 Cunniffe – pacey
    3 Caff – faster than Keane
    4 Higgins – best no 4 in the country
    5 Vaughan – better at 5 than 6 IMO
    6 Keegan – think he could flourish here
    7 Boyle – fearless
    8 Parsons – top midfielder
    9 S O Shea – strong and great workrate
    10 D O Connor – best young player
    11 A O Shea – think it’s his best place
    12 Doherty – scores and works hard
    13 Mcloughlin – on his day he’s unreal
    14 C O Connor – best forward we have
    15 A Dillon – has still got it all
    Subs to make an impact: Keane, S Coen, B Moran, A Moran & C Loftus

  23. Clarke
    S O’Shea
    A O’Shea

  24. Selection time for referees as well – our match with Galway will be reffed by Padraig Hughes.

  25. Hard to make a selection based on current form when we haven’t seen them in action for the past seven weeks. But allowing for that my team would be 1. Clarke , shadin it narrowly from Hennelly and O’Malley. 2. Tom Cunniffe. 2 Kevin Keane. 4. Ger Cafferkey. 5 Lee Keegan. 6. Colm Boyle. Shane Walsh will take looking after and in my opinion Vaughan is a bit too loose as a marker. 7. Donie Vaughan. 8 & 9. O’Shea Bros with both Barry Moran and Tom Parsons very close to the shake up. 10. Kevin McLoughlin. 11. Keith Higgins. Cillian O’Connor cannot in my opinion be fit enough to start after his long layoff and only getting 15 mins or so for ‘Tubber last Sunday. 12. Jason Doherty. 13. Alan Freeman, always seems to play well against Galway. 14. Danny Kirby. 15. Alan Dillon. Subs: 16 Hennelly/O’Malley 17 Harrison 18 Stephen Coen. 19. Barry Moran. 20. Tom Parsons 21 Cillian O’Connor. 22. Andy Moran. 23 Diarmuid O’Connor.
    With Cillian coming back into the first 15 picture for the CF as well as others who come into the fray as subs hopefully all doing well the competition should be keen to face Sligo or the Rossies.

  26. Clarke


    Vaughan (Sweeper)


    B Moran



  27. If we are playing defensively we are looking to get turnovers and selection around the 45 – 50 will be determined by who can carry the ball fastest up the field, who has the speed to provide supporting link play and who can kick the ball most accurately up to probably the only two remaining Mayo players in the other half of the field. Wouldn’t b surprised 2 see Higgins and speedy higher up the field in a system like this with some one of the O Shea’s dropping back or Vaughan to add strength and height in tightly congested defense. It won’t look pretty but could be effective

  28. From above, I note:
    No matter who they pick the “pairalads” will pick the wrong team for some
    We have a real squad, not an ‘A‘ team only
    Smells of summer

    I‘m heading for Paddy Power

  29. Clarke (most reliable, if Hennelly could add accuracy to his range might get nod)
    Cunniffe, Keane (extra aggression to mark Conroy or Comer), Higgins (or Caff if he’s flying)
    Keegan, Vaughan, Boyle (Keegan maybe wildcard CB either but Vaughan has the height ahead of Boyle and Keegan used to no. 5so leave as is)
    SOS, Parsons (SOS to cover back when HB’s attack)
    Kevin Mc, AOS, either Doc (Jason maybe the safer)
    COC, B Moran (or Andy if fully fit), A Dillon (maybe swap with Kevin Mc as we have no other speedster inside forward unless we move Zippy up or Loftus keeps improving, Ronaldson only if Big Barry or AOS gets picked in FF).
    No. 15 is the trickiest, for me Andy, Barry or AOS ahead of Kirby for 14 as he doesn’t quite cause enough trouble against strong men like McGee). Loss of Kevin Mc at HF could be compensated by Parsons who also offers options from kickouts with Kevin’s speed inside and he can be asked to do some defending as part of any blanket. Kevin definitely much safer option than Loftus who we know so little about.

    Contradicting myself, like some of ye’s idea of Higgins as free role 7th back with 11 or 12 on his back. Of the 3 regular half backs Keegan is the most important to give licence to attack which we need to do ala Mcglynn for Donegal. Boyler doesn’t really need to attack.
    If Cillian not fit to start Andy is my preferred pick. Coen not quite reliable enough yet to replace Vaughan but CB is his position if coming on. Ditto Durkan but has potential.
    Only play both Caff and Keane together if Zippy has free role as 7th defender.

  30. Terrific responses. V. interesting suggestions. Agreee Higgins is the best corner back in the country but he could be a winner at CHF. And we have the cover to allow him there. But we have a natural for that position…..SOS. What an attacking line we would have in K Mc,AOS and KH. My 15

    Clarke or Hennelly
    Parsons,SOS (whoever tires, replaced immediately by B Moran)
    Freeman,Kirby,O’Connor if ready, if not Doherty.

    If problems surface, make the changes, But don’t take all day.

  31. Re; St Pats oldie-I presume auto correct put “Civilian” on your team amongst a team of soldiers!…only codding.
    The closest to my thoughts would be “Centrefield”s lineup maybe more so for its shape-They’re good lads but personally Cunnife & Seamie give me heart failure most of the time.I’d go for;
    2,3,4 Hall,Keane,Higgins
    5,6,7 Keegan,Boyle,Coen
    8,9 B.Moran,Parsons
    10,11,12 K.McL,A.O’Shea,Doherty
    13,14 C.O’C,Kirby

    -any word if Douglas is still in panel?
    -younger athletic legs in the backs to curb their lively forwards
    -Kirby should occupy Hanley & Aidan roving around from 11 will bring their foul count up to 100 if they committed 40+ v Leitrim!!!

  32. D Clark
    T. Cunniffe Ger .C K. Keane

    C Boyle Keith H Kevin Mc
    Lee K Donal V

    Aidian O S Seamus O S

    Cillian O C Alan F
    Barry M Jason D
    Aidian and Seamus to play at 8 & 9.
    Lee and Donal play extra half back’s
    With the 8 back’s we will be very hard break down, plus with no wing or corner forwards loads of space for our 5 half back’s.
    Leave the 4 full fowards in the large square.
    Plan A run teams from deep down the open wings and cut inside.
    Plan B Route 1, 4 strong composed player’s to win high ball and cool finishing.
    Sorry about spelling

  33. Couple of critical things in my opinion.

    AOS is the only midfielder we have who can compete with Neil Gallagher/David Moran/Dick Clerkin and putting him anywhere else early in Championship will just see him reverting to midfield later.
    Keane needs to be full back to command square, argument for Caff in corner, best full backs command firstly and man mark secondly.
    Please let Ronaldson not grace the field of championship, he was a management darling from underage but didn’t remotely play well in league
    We need a Kirby inside but proper diagonal ball needs to go in from wings with corner forwards in for breaks/Kirby needs to take on his man and go for goal. Against Donegal we hit ball into him that had him running to corner flag and didn’t hit one diagonal towards the square. One thing to put him in, another for management to coach him and players on the right way to play him.

  34. The Keith Higgins debate is interesting. A pretty even split of those who would pick him corner back and those who would pick him upfront and play him as a 7th defender.
    I know people say he is the best corner back in the game. But the weight up is the differential between Higgins and someone like Cunnifee/Barrett/Cafferkey at corner back versus his contribution on our 45 and passing into our forwards. Given that the league demonstrated a huge championship problem for us in our passing into the forwards it is why I think the best corner back in the game has to be moved further up the pitch.
    You can go through the rest of our team and I only see Kevin McGloughlin and AOS who are able to quickly kick long and accurate. With Boyle/Coen/Durcan/Vaughan/Keegan/SOS there is a bit too much soloing and ending up in traffic. As the league showed clearly that was disastrous. Even if you win a free it gets slowed down and the defence is set solid as a rock by the time you get to take it.
    One aspect of Higgins game is that he bounce solos around traffic with ease rather than go head down into contact. When do you ever see Higgins rocked by a shoulder when in posession? When does he even lose posession? Then bear in mind that he has the longest and most accurate boot as he has mastered the outside of the boot driving through the ball pass. Higgins rarely goes under the ball passing it.

  35. Some interesting selections!

    My is as follows:

    1. Hennelly – By FAR our best keeper, in shot stopping, confidence, kick out ability, every category. He is constantly underrated on this site and I’m not sure why. He is more commanding than Clarke, and much more skilled. I read above Clarke has big game experience, when is this? 2013 AI Final, where he was average, hasn’t really played since. Hennelly has done it for us every time. Five or six outrageous saves against Dub in AI Final, granted he could have stayed in for Brogan’s goal but that was judgement call and Caff has a job to do there too. He also saved an spectacular pen in last years Conn Final, if that was in there wouldn’t be any five in a row. I believe Horan had no short KO strategy last year, because any time I see Breaffy Hennelly’s KO’s are magic

    2. Chris Barrett – Big game player, big talent.

    3. Ger Caff – Had a difficult end to last year but he gets the nod. KK would be suitable against bigger FF’s but Caff retains FB for me

    4. Keith Higgins – Words not required for this man

    5. Lee Keegan – One of three men who make up the best half back line in Inter County football

    6. Donal Vaughan – See above

    7. Colm Boyle – See above.

    8. Seamie O’Shea – Proven performer, warrior.

    9. Tom Parsons – Has shown his abilities in the league, big talent who deserves his shot

    10. Kev McLoughlin – One of my fav GAA players, magician

    11. Aidan O’Shea – In my opinion the most effective footballer in the game at present. I think the best player Mayo have ever produced.

    12. Jason Doherty – Great all round game, tough, strong, Mayo’s Paul Flynn 🙂

    13. Mickey Sweeney – I think he deserves a chance, pacey, can score goals. Alternatives are Andy Moran, Conor O’Shea, Diarmuid O’Connor in a roving role perhaps

    14. Danny Kirby – I think has just about done enough to start against Galway, allows for a more direct play into danger area

    15. Cillian O’Connor – Top class, undoubtedly one of top forwards in game

  36. Most People going with Kevin Mc, Aido and Doc for 10,11 and 12 which I would go with.
    Aido was terrific there against Galway last year.
    Coc and Dilion in the corners with one from Andy, Freeman or Kirby at.14.
    Still with the 6 old reliables at the back with Keane, Coen and Barrett as backup.
    Horses for courses at No. 3.
    I would actually play Keane against the bigger, slower full forwards (e.g. Donaghy).
    Caff otherwise

    Getting closer ….

  37. its esay being a manager isnt it? looking through all the comments, bar 2 or 3 every lineup different! so just shows the decisions pat and noel stand to make, for my tuppence worth, clarke in goal all day, no disrespect to robbie, one of the finest keepers in the land, and stud up when he was needed last year, but a fit David Clarke gives suriety against high balls and covers the full back like a sweeper. chris barrett and tom turbo just dont have enough football in them so far this year to be dropped into the white hot heat of championship, (but hopefully the connacht final will have them 100% and chomping to go, then cause massive selection headaches) so imho itll be as is in the backs, caff, keane and higgins, altho this is a very imbalanced back line, half backs as is, midfield sos and one between parsons and big bird. both performed well in the latter stages of the league, id go with parsons. hf line, doc, aos, kmac, ff line, cillian if fit, if not then connor loftus on the basis hes probably second only to cillian in the county at free tking, dirmuid o c at 14 and ronaldson at 15 (in fairness hed be there on merrit) factor in, andy, dillon, connor loftus, flying it at club level, so expect possibly all 3 to feature against Galway, big bird, and stephen coen also playing well so that will bolster the backs and midfield if needed!

  38. 1. S.ClarkeBig presence in and around the square, our best keeper
    2. Chris Barrett – Big game player, big talent.
    3. K Kenae (tough shout leaving out Caff) – Had an interesting league and deserves his chance.
    4. KHiggins – not need to explain.
    5. L Keegan – All star, one of the best half back’s in the country. Slightly worried over his from since being sent off v Kerry last year but has to be in the starting 15.
    6. DVaughan – Athletic and strong
    7. C Boyle – same as Keith
    8. S O’Shea – Workhorse and engine of the team. He plays well, Mayo play well.
    9. Barry Moran just ahead of Parsons.
    10. Kev McLoughlin – Probably our most natural footballer.
    11. Aidan O’Shea – An influence a game like no other when on top form. Ball needs to go in high and fast to him or he will be wasted at 11, going out the field looking for it.
    12. Jason Doherty – Our most improved player in last 12 months.
    13. Dillon – still class despite age. I would hope to spring young Loftus fromthe bench.
    14. Danny Kirby – Going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say glimpses in the league of what he is capable of.
    15. Cillian O’Connor if fit starts, no question there.


    Andy, Parsons, Ronnie, Coen, Loftus, Freeman all capable of coming on and making a big impact.
    Pretty strong panel actually we have. We all have different teams and I am far from an expert and as has been said, management is one tough job at that level especially when we all have our own opinion.

    Hurry up June 14th…

  39. My team would be :

    Cunniffe Keane Ger Caff


    Keegan Boyler Vaughan

    Seami O’ Shea Parsons

    McLoughlin A. O’Shea Doherty

    Cillian O’Connor Dillion.

    Impact subs : Andy , D. O’Connor , S. Coen , Patrick Durcan , Mikey Sweeney , Ronaldson , Connor Loftus , Barry Moran ,Danny Kirby , Chris Barrett ( Probably have forgotten someone important)

    Clarkie over Robbie just , due to his consistency , presence ( Ger Caff ,Higgins , Keane etc.. always seem to play more aggressive knowing they have that extra comfort of Clarkie behind them) , goal stopping ( his size and speed off the line to close the angles) and his ability to vary the kickouts that bit quicker than Robbie. Hennelly is superb at picking out Aidan O’Shea but if he is closed down Robbie is too hesitant and slow with his restarts.

    I like other people think Kevin Keane has earned a shot at fullback and we have Caff there to call on should he be having an off day.
    The reason I have Caff in the back line is he and Cunniffe are our tightest man markers (Higgins not far behind them either!!) and they should pick up the main danger men allowing Keane to stay in a dominate the square which is what he is best at!!

    I like Keith for the free/sweeper/deep attacking role because of his speed, reading of the game and all round super football ability. With him and Seami and Boyler anchoring the middle it should allow Keegan and Vaughan to showcase their running game. Unlike Boyler and Seami Keith is a great kick passer and has the speed to attack from deep and retreat back to help out defence. Him and Kevin Mac would cause all sorts of problems for teams on quick turnovers of the ball!!

    Seami is a rock in the middle and along with Boyler our most dogged & consistent performer.They are both crucial to holding the middle for us.
    Tom Parsons is a super athlete and skilful footballer when fit so I give him the nod over Barry, just about , due to his better engine to get up and down the field. Both Tom and Barry are key scoring midfielders for us although a fit Jason Gibbons would be in with a serious shout here too!!! Tom or Barry would be our attacking all action midfielder with Seami doing the heavy lifting.

    The wing positions are easy for me with Kevin Mac and Jason Doc our most consistent performers here. The win breaks/turnovers but crucially score 4 or 5 points from play between them on good days. Aidan is a wrecking ball but also a great footballer which he doesn’t get as much credit for!! He is a great option on kickouts floating around midfield , creates havoc when he runs , is able to pick out a pass and a great trail runner from deep on counter attacks as seen in the goal against Cork last year. I would see him swapping with Cillian at fullforward during games when it is needed!!

    My inside line ( I think we need to go with a two man line to open up space for our running game) , I have gone for the two smartest and skillfull offensive men we have in the squad. While lacking in searing pace , with the right early ball delivered , their guile , good pace over the first 5 yards, along with their scoring ability they will do damage. Also having Dillion in close to goal will save his legs from the hard work around the middle. The onus would be on Kevin Mac , Doc , and Parsons to deliver good ball consistently though which we have only seen flashes of so far this season!!

    Also I would like to see a strategy for the ball to get to our main kick passers quicker when attacking from deep.Throw in periods of our full court press tackling which will give us turnovers high up the pitch allowing our runners to create goal chances rather than a slow ponderous build up through the hands!!!

    We should have plenty of impact off the bench with the subs I listed above and we should definitely adopt a horses for courses attitude for selection of our starting 15 this year!!

    Anyway that’s might two cents worth , feel free to burn it down!!!! Hahaha!!

  40. Some good points made, I think the biggest thing our lads must learn is to know that if aos is in the square, play a high ball to him. Not a low one to the corner, he’s as big and strong as you’ll get in a player that can play ff today, so do the smart thing. High ball. Even if he’s double marked he still has the ability to do so much damage. Kirby likewise, but it’s all about the right pass into them.
    I’d have Higgins at chb and let him run the field if he wants to, he has the speed and lasting to go the whole game like that, let him at it. There’s not many teams out there that can beat this Mayo side, but if we play the likes of Higgins where he can be fully utilised I think even donegal or Dublin or Kerry will have their work cut out for them in 2015.

  41. My team for the Galway match

    Rob Hennelly – Under-rated in many quarters and wrongly so in my opinion, safe hands, great kickouts, can spray a ball to wing back like no mans business, when he is booting the ball long consistently it’s obviously what he’s been told to do by management.

    Tom Cunniffe – Quick, aggressive and duck ass tight. A nightmare for a corner forward.

    Kevin Keane – Kevin has really come on in leaps and bounds this year to become a real leader on this team. Testament to the man.

    Keith Higgins – The best corner back in the country full stop.

    Lee Keegan – Can cover every blade of grass up and down the pitch

    Colm Boyle – Wasn’t sure CB was a great spot for Boyler but every faith in the man

    Patrick Durcan – Done well in league

    Tom Parsons – Best foot passer of all our midfielders, athletic

    Seamus O’Shea – Absolute animal and workhorse

    Kevin McLoughlin – Heart beat of the team

    Aidan O’Shea – No explanation necessary, just don’t take too much out of it!!!

    Jason Doherty – Tireless worker, can kick long range points

    Trevor Naughton – Hey i’m the manager I can pick who I want…..(ok, ok, Andy Moran)

    Cillian O’Connor – Marquee

    Alan Dillon – Always does the business in the green and red

  42. All this talk of team selection is certainly getting the blood pumping. Going to be a long two weeks.

  43. PJB – I see you are the only one (as far as I can see) who has Mikey Sweeney in the first 15.

    Considered him strongly myself, but here’s a question to all: Why is he not making the first fifteen? Every time I see him in action I’m impressed:

    Anticipation, speed of thought, goal on his mind, out before his man, point scorer, lays off intelligently.

    Current and former management have treated him equally – badly.

    So, what’s the problem?

  44. Only problem I can think of is size. Because he is small the fear is he might be too easily dominated in a blanket defense. And it’s all about the blanket this year. I can’t see any team not playing a blanket against us.

  45. Nobody mentioned c loftus to start against galway but him in instead of j Dohertywhat do you think

  46. I will admit that I enjoy looking at other peoples ideas in this area and I find some suggestions very interesting. Noel and Pat and Micheal will have their work cut out, but they will have the benefit of having seen the players perform at training. I would like to make a shot at this if I had a bit of that insight. In the absence of that information I would like to make a few general observations. The first is will Cillian be available for some or all of the game. Cillian is our leader up front. If he is not available then surely Andy has to take up this role. The league was used to blood new players and we saw some good performers. Who will make the cut the next day from the newcomers. Division 1 football is the real training ground but June brings a new challenge Championship football and the white heat of battle in Salthill. Feb and March can be deceptive, the real test comes with the summertime.

  47. Some points on people’s choices.
    1. Clarke clears all around him when coming out or going for a high ball. Very aggressive goalkeeper and one of the best shot stoppers in the game. Hennelly very good too in almost every category as is O’ Malley. Hennelly has great range on his kicks but doesn’t seem to be able to hit the man like Cluxton does. We kicked and lost a lot of 50 50 balls with him especially the Kerry games but same problem with him against some teams in the league. Less kickout options with Clarke but he seems more reliable.
    2. Agree AOS maybe best option vs David Moran but if we progress all summer won’t meet them till final unless Cork beat them. Plus they’d probably have to beat Donegal which won’t be easy. I’d like to see will Parsons continue to improve and given game time and Big Barry sub is marginal call as he looks improved too. Also Parsons 2nd in the fitness tests suggests he could be good option if we get to play Dublin who dragged the OS’s around 2nd half 2013.
    3. Kirby maybe exciting for new blood but Barry or AOS FF for me have the aerial dominance to cause trouble. AOS could be alternated with whoever is CF or midfield. Big Barry could be alternated with midfield only. But alternating good way to keep their batteries from going flat and keep them interested if not enough good ball getting in.
    4. What we found out in the league is we have a lot of big men with experience under their belts. A strong spine could cause a lot of trouble especially against blanket teams. Remember what Donaghy did not just to us but to the previously dominant Francie Belew.
    5. Doherty much improved and usually good but bit overrated IMO, quiet against Kerry last year. Kevin Mc steals more ball. Diarmaid OC very similar workrate and tackling and maybe worth the nod to have competition for 12 shirt and Higgins a maybe better option than either as the 7th back roving tackler, blocker and link man. Having said that he is our best man marker with possible exception of Keegan so sacrifice that only if either Cunniffe or Barrett is fully fit. Also gives Caff a chance to reclaim a place which most people would like to see. He could be back to his best.
    6. We found only 1 new option in the forwards Ronnie in league but a few in the backs. That would suggest move a back up and give a new lad a chance.
    7. Keane really should play after his great league be if FB or corner. He stood up big time and it would be cruel to take his place. Serious loyalty to wait so long and takes his chance with both hands.
    8. Yes lots of us forgot Sweeney but like Ronnie he only plays if we have a very big FF to give him good ball. Ditto Loftus. Cillian very good at ball winning but after longish layoff prefer a really big man to help win ball.
    9. Cillian will be no. 11 one day but FF line rarely got going in league and if fit his class makes that line much more potent.
    10. We need to work on defending kickouts for if we play Dublin.
    11. We need long kickout strategy for all games this year especially if 3 or 4 midfielders play use the spare lads with height advantage.
    12. Bit too soon for Hall, Durkan and Harrison maybe not quite as good as the lads in possession. Coen for me the no. 1 HB line sub and Barrett the no.1 utility back. Put others on if any game is safe.
    13. Surprised so many people have Freeman in, maybe he’s doing it at club level but not nearly consistent enough for County so far and Andy shows great leadership nearly every time he plays.

  48. If the James Horan was manager the team against Galway would likely be

    Cunniffe Cafferky Higgins
    Keegan,Boyle, Vaughan
    AOS ,SOS
    McLoughlin, Doherty D O Connor

    A Moran C O Connor A Dillon

    Now under new management who is likely to drop out? Hennelly because concerns under the high ball,Cafferky after how he played against Kerry and A Moran,Dillon because of their age and seen as more impact subs.

    AOS in midfield seems to be ruled out by most here? not sure why as thats his best position and he is the best midfielder on the Mayo panel IMO.

  49. Depending on fitness and assuming everyone is ok would go for lads with experience. Hennelly has been excellent, Cunniffe extremely popular here though had some ropey moments last year, possibly KK at FB, has to be Keith in corner.Half back line contains the usual suspects, they have been excellent. The O Shea brothers at MF K Mac and Doc at 10 and 12 with Parsons at CHF Freeman (hopefully returning to form) at 13 Cillian at FF and either Andy or A Dillon in other corner depending on match fitness.A rather conservative selection I agree and first championship team is often based on last years performances which might not be wise. But I am still waiting to see new lads come in and replace the tried and tested. JH tried 2 new lads in the Hyde last year but reverted to the old boys for rest of year. I still think we were desperately unlucky to lose out last year.

  50. Catcol, I’m not sure why Mickey Sweeney isn’t used more. I suppose all managers have their preferred players, rightly or wrongly. I like him any time I see him. As they say, I like the cut of him. He’s sharp and I think he has something we lacked last year, he can retain direct ball played into him directly, something Andy Moran does well in his pomp. It gives another option along with our running game.

    Size isn’t an issue lads, or should I say it shouldn’t be, if he’s good enough he’s big enough. POY James O’Donoghue isn’t very big, the Gooch is certainly not imposing, nor is Ryan McHugh, etc.

  51. Mayomagic, AOS is our best midfielder, but arguably he is our best half forward, and could be our best half back, and prob full back too! It’s a question of creating a team that allows our best players to all be utilised to the max. I would like to see Parsons in midfield and AOS in centre forward and they could switch it up during the game, both could be effective in both positions. Well that’s my opinion anyway! 🙂

  52. Well if Keith in Corner, maybe give Donie the 12 shirt as 7th defender with either Caff or Coen Centre Back. Jason good but Donie could be better. With Keith at #2 Dillon has to play as we’ve too many runners and not enough play makers. Kevin Mc can pick a killer pass but Dillon is always spraying the ball around looking for the best move. We struggled to get good ball in during the league. Parsons at 11 is a good option alright but AOS is a wrecking ball and we need an x factor in forwards. They can always alternate. Donie also an option the 14 shirt as he’s been known to score well for his club there.
    Boyler was given 6 shirt last year because of Donie’s attacking tendencies. Mistake putting a guy who’s 5’8″ or 9 centre back for all games IMO no matter how big his heart is. At some stage there will be height mismatch.
    No. 14 is the position we need a solution for, options are COC, Andy, Barry, D Kirby, Donie, A Freeman, AOS, T Parsons, J Gibbons.
    Hope a lot of permutations being tried there in training and challenges. Find a good FF and we’re in business.

  53. Its not about best position of players but most effective position looking at our panel and current weaknesses moreso than strengths. Based on the league AOS was just as effective upfront compared to what he does at midfield. Dublin are the yardstick and their middle eight has Flynn/Connolly/Mccarthy/OSullivan/MDMA/Mccaffrey/Fenton/Brady/Kilkenny. AOS will struggle to get to breaking ball n make tackles versus that kind of 70 minute speed. We have to have a mobile middle eight with some added height at half forward. Maybe even a midfield sub. AOS was doing damage as a roving forward.

  54. Ya – personally I would probably put AOS in FF against the likes of Dublin and get him to do a bit of horsing against the likes of ROC

  55. I don’t understand how so few people have Ronaldson on their team? He was the standout player in the club championship last weekend and started most of the league games for Mayo. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t start against Galway. I can’t see Dillon starting as I think he’d be more useful off the bench. He doesn’t have the legs for it anymore in my view. My team v Galway would be:
    Hennelly or Clarke (Toss up between 2)
    Cunniffe, Cafferkey, Higgins
    Boyle, Keane, Keegan
    SOS & Big Barry
    Doc, AOS, Vaughan
    Ronaldson, Cillian (if fit), Andy M

  56. Ah sthop ! Keith tried in forwards ,,,,, me thinks your just stirring the pot, ,,

  57. Hennelly: Very close with Clarke, but I feel if Robbie improves on the high ball and kicking out under pressure, he will be the best ‘keeper in the country bar none. He has kept us in big games more often than we remember.

    Cunnife: when back to full fitness, he is as good a man marker as Zippy; and yes, lets not forget that shoulder! He’s at no. 2.

    deserves the number 3 jersey from what I have seen in the League. But he should not rove out field too much.

    Ger Caff:
    We have excellent cover here in Barrett and Caff (as mentioned, Ger’s stats in the corner are excellent). I agree with the posters who say that it will be more beneficial to have lads placed where they will be most effective to the overall performance of the team and to the result, rather than playing them in their best positions. It would be a huge call but one worth taking.

    Keegan: Super no. 5

    He needs to really come of age and I think he has a big year in him. He demonstrated dogged qualities towards the end of the League campaign so I’m hoping lots more from him. When on form, he is very dangerous running up field and has to capacity be a nightmare for opposition.
    Young Coen is very close behind him and may yet get some game time at 6 this year. It’s certainly where he is most comfortable and he will develop fast there I feel, but for now it’s up to Donie to show that it’s still his jersey.


    Parsons and Seamie in the Centre for sure.
    Seamie’s place doesn’t need explaining. Hopefully Parsons will stay fit – if so, he can add athleticism and scoring threat and has decent vision and foot-pass, badly needed to improve ball into forwards. I think he will gel quite easily into the team.

    Kevin Mc at 10. Just magic when on song and cannot be left out of this team. I feel he could be coming into form again.

    Zippy: We need him here at 11 to cause chaos and mayhem for half backs. If left here he will do just that. Incredible in position, can dispossess, tackle pass, score, turn, dodge, etc, etc, etc. But it has to be all or nothing, no bringing him back. In a perfect world of course we wouldn’t dream of doing all this again, but needs must, and we need to make our forward unit as threatening as possible with the panel we have. I still recall how incisive he was in the first half against Donegal in 2013.

    Jason Doc
    Like Keane, he is really coming into his own; still has room to improve but I think we all see his ability now. Very nice footballer to watch when playing well.

    I’m tempted to go for Dillon here, especially given his shot to score ratio. But I feel we have to give someone else a chance. Alan has been an unreal servant but has had many chances. I haven’t seen too much of Loftus but if he’s going well in training give the lad a shot.

    Aido at FF: I would nearly prefer to have him at 11 but Zippy has to be accommodated. Aidan (along with Cillian and Keith) is one of our best players so he needs to be here, where he is needed most. We have to try it. He knows the position. We need strength, power and leadership here. Imagine if it falls into place……..

    I would also love to see him at 11 (which may eventually be his position) but as I have said, for the overall betterment of the team I shall leave him here! He and Aido will inspire all around them and frighten the daylights out of opponents!

  58. Liberal role is the closest of anyone to my choice, I’d be happy enough with his/her team. Dillon doesn’t have to start if Zippy in the forwards and gives Loftus, Sweeney or Ronnie a chance. Hate leaving Andy out of any starting 15 but management can take the odd risk in Connaught to build the options like Dublin & Kerry have and AOS at FF gives a really great target. Bit of work on his distribution to the nippy corner and the classy corner (Cillian) and he’d cause unreal problems. Not saying he shouldn’t take it on as he likes to either just some fine tuning for the sake of the team. Cillian would be the only exception of player lacking championship fitness getting a start being a top class free taker provided he’s not still carrying an injury.

  59. Fourgoal

    Presume team is tongue and cheek.
    I do think there must be some changes and invention though.
    I would not play Jason Doherty but could be sub ok.Would play Diarmuid O Connor and Ronaldson. Would leave Andy and Alan for final quarter.Aidan must be midfield and Seamus with him.
    Cillian could be centre forward ok but for me Keane is corner back with Ger full back.I would play Boyle centre with Coen left half.Think Donie is impact sub if even that.
    BTW these lads have given great service and we owe them a lot.Sentiment will not win games though.

  60. Just on Higgins he is not accurate in terms of scoring. He is one of those players who is much better passing than shooting. Doesnt look as comfortable once he gets to their 45. Hence why I think his ideal role is as 7th defender who roves between half back, full back n midfield. The catchability of long kicked ball is important. High Hail Marys are hard caught under pressure, Higgins n McGloughlin can kick those back spinners that are much more catchable. Crucially the ball travels lowish and long with speed. The best type of pass to beat the blanket.

  61. On Higgins shooting, he hit the upright in Dublin final and kicked our first point and caused Dublin a lot of trouble when we dominated first 25 mins. If he got 1 or 2 early points in the championship as auxiliary forward would be a real confidence booster.. probably a decent shooter in training. And he scored a few goals in the league that year too.
    On Cillian at CF I’m warming to that idea as I don’t think teams could target him the way they have Dillon in big games. He’s bigger and has an X factor. We all remember his kick pass for Keegan’s goal. I like Alan but feel by later stages of championship coming up against the biggest strongest and fastest defenders at their peak of fitness and sometimes man marked he finds it harder whereas bringing him on with 15 or 20 to go when teams have slowed and he can unlock them much easier. Alan is our best passer / tactical decision maker (from intelligence / experience more so than x factor) and others have noted his accuracy stats. Very important role for him this year but could be as impact sub. If he doesn’t start we need someone who can unlock defenses at 11. Apart from Cillian only Kevin Mc seems to have that ability, unless Parsons has (don’t know enough about him yet). Aido doesn’t so FF probably best for him but give him licence to roam so he remains involved in game as much as possible. If Keith picked in forwards his main role will be 7th defender and any attacks just a bonus feature. Not much point playing Ronnie, Sweeney or Loftus unless we have a player with vision on the 40. Best to stick with Andy and Mickey C (out injured?) otherwise. Funny enough I didn’t rate Kirby as a FF in league but liked the cut of his kick passing when forced out from goal, he might even be an option for 11 shirt or 15 shirt, just not convinced he can out muscle a McGee or Ross O Carroll.

  62. Luigi,

    That was an interesting analysis of the game and the two Ulster games alright but regards programs there was no alternative layout suggested. For an alternative team layout program editors would need to second guess each manager’s mind and game plan. I cannot see it happening and I don’t see the need for any change either. If ever the GAA were to adopt squad numbers for players instead of the traditional 1 – 15 numbering it might be interesting but I don’t see that happening and I don’t think that would be popular with supporters trying to follow teams either.

  63. Like some have mentioned id bring the half backs up to the front a bit and see how they get on.
    I’d go for…
    Cafferkey Keane Boyle
    Keegan SO Shea Cuniffe
    Moran Parsons
    Mc Loughlin Vaughan Dillon
    COC AO Shea Higgins

  64. Thanks for the comments folks. There are many different views out there but one thing that came across again and again was the difficulty that people had in omitting a player.

    We definitely have a strong panel, somewhat over supplied in some areas and a bit thin in others, but that just opens up the possibility of adopting a style that best suits our resources.
    That said, I don’t envy Pat and Noel their task in picking the first 15. In someone’s eyes, they will get it wrong no matter what they do.

    What I would like to see is an emerging style that will suit us and clever, timely use of subs to enhance our adapt the style as the game progresses.

    Really looking forward to Salthill at this stage.

    Keep the Faith!

  65. Why do most people assume sos is a shoe in? Thought he had a poor league and selection should be on form not past

  66. Liberal role in the tie, that’s a great selection you put up there. Higgins would indeed be a nightmare for any half back, his speed and movement at speed is unreal and he can score too, at full speed( Roscommon 2 years ago?). Himself and k mc can give very nice long range passes, and if the have aos and coc near goal they know they have targets to aim for. Even if Higgins played as an extra defender with freedom to roam we can put aos at chf role and Kirby or freeman at ff. let’s just hope the management get it right, and that Mayo put the head down and go for goal early and often for as long as they are in the championship.

  67. Dave, Higgins scored that nice point against Roscommon but his scoring % has been low. He kicks through the ball which is great for passing, but more difficult for scoring under pressure having to clear a crossbar. He’s not a scorer, scoring is about percent return and nothing else

  68. Given that we have Cunniffe, Keane, Cafferkey, Barrett and Harrison for the full backline the idea of playing Higgins up front appeals to me. I do not expect Cillian to start in Salthill given his lack of game time and without him we do not have a natural centre forward. Even if he were fully fit I believe he is more dangerous and best used in the full forward line.My full forward line would be Freeman, Kirby and Cillian. Longterm we need Aiden O’Shea at midfield and longterm when we meet top teams neither Ronaldson or Sweeney have the physique to do a job in the full forwardline. As with Conor Mortimer, all time Mayo top scorer, but when it came to the big games he did not feature too strongly. Maybe as subs when the game opens up and defenders get a wee bit tired but not as starters.

  69. Lot of talk about our strong panel. I’m not so sure. We have an even panel, in that there is little difference between some of the options from 15-25 in the squad. However I’m not sure many of the guys on the bench for us, particularly our forward reserves, could be considered game changers when it comes to the business end.

    Higgins will play in defence lads. He’s not a forward. I doubt he’s ever scored more than one or two points when played up front for Mayo?Why take an elite defender and turn him into an average forward? Also anyone who thinks the defence will not be weaker without Higgins is kidding themselves. Don’t get me wrong – I like all our other alternatives for corner back. But they are not in Keith Higgins league. I believe on average, having Higgins at corner back deducts 4-5 points from the opposition tally at the end of the big games. Imagine how much more damage JOD would have done last year for kerry if Higgins wasn’t marking him? Will putting him up front result in us scoring more points than we lose from not having him at the back? I doubt it. It’s a classic robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario.

  70. The differential between Higgins and next best wouldnt be anything close to 4-5 pts. Generally people when picking him upfront want him to come back as a full time 7th counter attacking defender.
    The big gap between him and other defenders is useage of posession. He makes no errors and moves the ball to where it needs to go at speed.

  71. I’d agree with you there Mac, Keith was tried in the half-forward line last year for most of the games in the league and it did not work out for him. The final straw was seeing him been taken off early in the league semi-final against Derry, he looked like a very frustrated figure that day. I always think that in most cases you start players in their natural position, then when they have grown into the game and their confidence is up, maybe try them in another position then. The only time I would like to see Keith move up front is, if in a game we are behind going into the last few minutes and need something different. For example in the 2013 final against Dublin, when they only had 13 fit players for the last few minutes, that was the time to move him up to exploit this weakness. I remember him scoring a cracking goal against Tyrone in the league at home in Castlebar in the last few minutes. If he is brought forward though, nearing the end of games, you’d have to make sure the gaps at the back are plugged as well. This is something that could be worked on in training.

  72. Hi I have not being on for a while.Some very interesting team selections and plenty of debate to go with it.My team is as follows.

    1. Clarke(if he can get the form of 2012 back will be a huge bonus.Hennelly very good but a bit indecisive on the high ball and clarke a bit more reliable).

    2. Cunniffe(A bit more tenacious than caff)

    3. Keane(deserves chance after fine league game but in trouble after 10 or 15 mins off and caff on).

    4. Higgins(3 all star corner back.enough said)

    5. Keegan

    6.Vaughan or Boyle

    7. Vaughan or Boyle.

    8. Seam O shea

    9. Barry Moran(on his day one of the top midfielders in the country)

    10. Tom parsons(would add strength and mobility to a strong half forward line).

    11. Aidan O shea(if things not going to plan in midfield bring him out and move parsons in to this position)

    12. Mcloughlin

    13. Cillian/doherty(cillian if fit and ready)

    14. Kirby(deserves a chance and could be a real find for us during the summer.does not work out freeman or andy).

    15. Doherty /Dillon(if cillian fit doherty.if not dillon as doherty number 13 and dillon will give us the leadership that is needed.

  73. Need to pick a team that will beat Galway and attack their strengths and exploit their obvious weaknesses.
    1. Clarke for kick outs.
    2. Higgins.
    3. Keane.
    4. Cunniffe.
    5. Vaughan, bursting forward when Keegan needs a rest.
    6. Boyle. Following Walsh everywhere
    7. Keegan with licence to roam.
    8. Sheamus O’shea dropping deep and prevented from carrying the ball.
    9. Barry Moran. To take on O Curraoin in the air
    10. Parsons. Following Paul Conroy everywhere
    11. Andy Moran/Alan dillon with one replacing the other. Still the only men we have who can unlock a defence
    12. Doherty swapping with A O Shea
    13. Mcloughlin. Playing more in the half forwards than close in.
    14. AOS with licence to go wherever.
    15. COC.

    Subs need to be seen from 45 min onwards. It takes 5-10 mins to get up to speed. The biggest failing over the last few years was waiting until the players were knackered before bringing on subs. Putting lads in with 5-10 min to go is a waste of time.

    Barrett, Coen, Durcan can all come into the halfback line as legs tire and Caff can go in if any of the fullback line get injured or skinned.
    Gibbons can go into midfield and AOS can move out for the last 20.
    Dillon/Moran and D O Connor can go into the halfforward line (assuming Cathal Carolan and Richie Feeney are out of the picture)
    Any of Freeman, Sweeney, Loftus can go in if goals are needed.

  74. Only 5 players based on past performances are a given if fit, AOS,COC,KH, CB & LK. all other places are up for grabs, this is not saying that others from last year are not fine players and good luck to them if they are picked but there are a number of additional players in the mix this year that should have an equal chance if they are showing good enough in training, like Parsons, B Moran, Kirby, D O’Connor, Coen, Keane, Barrett, Durcan & Clarke. It is the opportunity for the new management team to pick on form.

  75. A team something like this is what I’d expect to see Noel and Pat pick:

    1. Hennelly
    2. Cunniffe
    3. Keane
    4. Higgins
    5. Keegan
    6. Boyle
    7. Vaughan
    8. S. O’Shea
    9. B. Moran
    10. McLoughlin
    11. A. O’Shea
    12. J Doc
    13. Ronaldson
    14. Kirby
    15. Dillon

  76. Clarke
    B Moran
    Andy Moran

    I think the main talking point with be the goalkeeper situation based on the overall package i think they have to go with clarke

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *