Seven changes for Meath game

Graphic: Granuaile4Mayo

We’ve just named our team to play Meath on Sunday. It’s a case of changed, changed utterly for what’s effectively a dead-rubber meeting with the Royals at MacHale Park, with seven switches from last time. Here’s the starting fifteen we’ve named.

Mayo (NFL Division Two North v Meath, 30/5/2021): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); Eoin O’Donoghue (Belmullet); Óisin Mullin (Kilmaine), Lee Keegan (Westport); Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber), Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore, captain), Fergal Boland (Aghamore); Matthew Ruane (Breaffy), Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber); Fionn McDonagh (Westport), Darren McHale (Knockmore), Bryan Walsh (Ballintubber); Paul Towey (Charlestown Sarsfields), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), James Carr (Ardagh).

So the raft of alterations sees Eoin O’Donoghue, Stephen Coen, Fergal Boland, Darren McHale, Bryan Walsh, Paul Towey and James Carr all coming into the side, with Ben Doyle, Paddy Durcan, Eoghan McLaughlin, Conor Loftus, Jordan Flynn, Tommy Conroy and Ryan O’Donoghue dropping out.

As well as replacing Paddy Durcan at centre-back, Stephen Coen also takes over the captain’s armband for this one. In doing so, this means that the Hollymount/Carramore will now have captained his county at Minor, U21 and Senior levels. That’s some achievement.

Sunday’s team also see two players making their full debuts in a competitive fixture at this level. While both Darren McHale and Paul Towey saw action off the bench last year they’ve yet to feature in a starting fifteen in League or Championship but on Sunday they get the opportunity to do so. The best of luck to them.

53 thoughts on “Seven changes for Meath game

  1. I’ve a feeling A lot of people are going to be happy to see no.2 on the list!

  2. Good to see a good few changes and a few names back. Though I’m surprised Byrne isn’t in.

  3. Big gamble to start Cillian. The one player you’d want rested for the promotion game, which will basically be a championship match. We saw what happend when he wasn’t there for Tyrone game. Very risky move by JH.

    Delighted for other lads. Eoin O’Donoghue has a lot to live up too, going by the comments on here! Best of luck to him and all the starters.

  4. Absolutely delighted to see Eoin O’ Donoghue, Paul Towey and James Carr getting their starts but still would like to have seen Rory Byrne or Colm Reape in goal. But credit must go to James, we are a very critical bunch because of the high standards that he has set since 2011, but as Colm Keys said very few managers of the 32 counties have tried out as many players as James has in the last 3 seasons. Some people have very short memories of where we were at in 2010 losing Sligo and Longford.

  5. Hi, Nice surprise. Great to see the changes. Tne positional change for Fergal Boland is interesting. Another flyer in reserve?

    Aiso nice touch for Stephen Coen after wondering if he was out of favour. Also good to take the pressure of Tommy Conroy and Ryan O Donoghue. So many wanted to see P. Towey and D. MCMcHale.

  6. Nice team even with all the changes. Agree with mayoDunphy regards cillian maybe could have put in Darren coen but suppose the 2 corner forwards need experience with them. Boland played in the half back line against the u20s last Saturday evening

  7. Interesting team but there may be more changes on the day. Good to see some of these players get a chance.
    James is keeping a lot of players motivated with all the changes.

  8. Would it not be an idea to give Rory Byrne some game time to get experience in case he is needed mid summer ………

  9. I’ve done a bit of quick research on the results archive and below is the list of players James Horan has either given debuts to or, in a few cases, recalled players used previously (Darren Coen being the most noteworthy here).

    Up to last Sunday’s game, I make it 27 players he’s given a chance to in this way in League or Championship since the start of 2019. There are many things James Horan might be criticised for but surely trying out players isn’t one of them. By any measure, that’s a phenomenal amount of experimentation in such a short space of time, during which we won the League, reached an All-Ireland semi-final and a final. Got relegated too but, providing we bounce back up, I think that’s a price we can agree was worth paying.

    Here’s the full list:

    Brian Reape (NFL v Roscommon 2019)
    Conor Diskin (NFL v Roscommon 2019)
    Fionn McDonagh (NFL v Roscommon 2019, sub)
    James McCormack (NFL v Roscommon 2019)
    Michael Plunkett (NFL v Tyrone 2019, two sub appearances 2017)
    Ciaran Treacy (NFL v Tyrone 2019)
    Mattie Ruane (NFL v Tyrone 2019, sub)
    Colm Moran (NFL v Cavan 2019)
    Darren Coen (NFL v Galway 2019, recalled after five years)
    James Carr (NFL v Monaghan 2019, sub)
    Mikey Murray (Qualifiers v Down 2019, sub)
    Oisin Mullin (NFL v Donegal 2020)
    Padraig O’Hora (NFL v Donegal 2020, 1 sub appearance 2016)
    Jordan Flynn (NFL v Donegal 2020)
    Bryan Walsh (NFL v Donegal 2020)
    Ryan O’Donoghue (NFL v Donegal 2020)
    Tommy Conroy (NFL v Donegal 2020, sub)
    Eoghan McLaughlin (NFL v Meath 2020, sub)
    Paul Towey (NFL v Monaghan 2020, sub)
    David McBrien (NFL v Galway 2020)
    Mark Moran (NFL v Galway 2020)
    Rory Brickenden (Connacht SFC v Leitrim 2020, sub)
    Darren McHale (Connacht SFC v Leitrim 2020, sub)
    Enda Hession (NFL v Down 2021)
    Aidan Orme (NFL v Down 2021, sub)
    Ben Doyle (NFL v Westmeath 2021)
    Jack Carney (NFL v Westmeath, sub)

  10. Really interesting selection. Maybe stronger than I expected overall. Delighted to see Boland get another spin, albeit in an unusual position for him.

  11. Decent team, giving some fringe players a look while still keeping some experience on the pitch. It’s the right call playing Robbie, we have been chopping and changing keepers for years which hasn’t helped either of them and Robbie has taken alot of flack. Robbie is No 1 for the year and has been playing well, the more games he gets will only help his confidence and the team.

  12. Lol . Good on you mayomad . Great logic in that if your number one was 100% guaranteed never to be unavailable through injury, suspension or indeed any scenario that would see him unavailable otherwise there is absolutely no logic to it in a nothing game where the result means jack shit .

  13. Very very interesting team. Delighted to see Robbie retained after a MOTM performances in the last 2 games. He needs game time. I believe 7 of that team featured in the U21 success in the AI final in 2016. A couple more on the bench. Not bad going at all.

  14. All my Christmas’s have come at once to see Eoin O’Donoghue start as I haven’t shut up about him for the last two months, my kids are sick of me saying it at this stage. I hope to God he gives a good impression, he’s a tough little fucker that you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of, well able to take on a man and good for a score as well. Good to see James Carr, Darren McHale and Paul Towey all giving a run out, will be good to get the win, but the performances are more important, Meath will go all out for this one. Hope Fionn improves also, I’d say there will still be one or two changes. Up Mayo!

  15. Sean Burke, I just stated my opinion on the team selection like everyone else on here, i think it’s the right call playing Robbie, you can agree or disagree I really dont care either way.

  16. Have to say it is strange not giving Byrne a run out. Personally i think he should be starting not fair if he gets thrown in the deep end down the line and hasn’t even kicked a ball in a glorified challenge match against meath. Mayomad makes a valid point, i dont 100% agree with it, but i see where hes coming from. O’Hora must be injured? I really thought this would be the season he could kick on!

  17. Great to see EOD back. Hopefully he can nail down a place and be a long term successor to Chris Barrett.
    If we are to progress we need to stop coughing up as many goal chances. We have proved we have a score in us but we simply have to tighten up at the back.
    I read somewhere that Jason Doherty may be close to a return which would be great news. A real favourite of mine over the years. A master of winning the dirty ball and always good for a score. Would be a great option from the bench if he couldn’t do 70 minutes.

  18. What’s happened to Pádraig O’Hora, seemed like a very strong prospect for a starting position a couple of seasons back. Is he on the panel this year?

  19. This might be a nothing game for Mayo but for the new faces selected it may as well be an all Ireland final. If you want that jersey permanently you have to perform and fight for every ball, simple as.

  20. A fair team selection but surely Byrne deserved a run out. For those arguing that RH needs game time….he’s been around for 10 years

    Here’s a thought based on WJ’s email…….what the hell ever happened to Conor Diskin? Remember him!

  21. Pity to see Conor Diskin and Cathal Horan were dropped off the 2019 panel in Horans 1st Season, and not tried again from what I can remember they were Mayos 2 best players in the All Ireland Under 20 final against Kildare in 2018 a team that Ryan O’Donoghue, Tommy Conroy, Jordan Flynn and Colm Moran were on, think Oisin Mullin was out injured for that game.

  22. Very exciting team for Sunday. A great chance for lads to put their hands up for selection. Fergal Boland at wing back is particularly eye catching.
    Excellent point on Diskin/Horan. Diskin has that Eoghan O’Gara like style. Something we don’t have in the panel at the minute. He might not shoot the lights out at club level enough to get attention but from what I have seen he can mix things up, very strong, direct, can field and cause havoc. Hopefully in time gets another chance as he’s still young.
    Cathal Horan was even selected in the Aussies combine a few years back, a big strong lad who doesn’t need much S&C work. Not sure if he has been injured or what his story is. Would playing Junior football possibly stand against him getting back in? No disrespect meant to Kilmovee.
    Best of luck to Mayo Sunday, the pain of 96 still lingers large.

  23. It’s great to see the changes and to see so many players up to this level.

    Just reading through the comments and no matter what team Horan goes with, it looks like there will always be a fair percentage that would have preferred if he had gone with others.

    He cannot be right and he cannot be wrong.

    Good luck to them all. Some of these lads are really playing for championship game time. There’s a few included this week that I hope play blinders as I think they could be pivotal later on the year. Carr, Towey and O’Donoghue need to stand out a bit this weekend. I think the three of them have the class to really add to our team, so will the have the fingers crossed for them.

    I wouldn’t be over confident of that starting 15 beating Meath but I dearly hope I’m proved wrong.

    Best of luck to them all.

    Hon Mayo.

  24. I’d be shocked if Byrne doesn’t get the start. Makes no sense not to get him some time without the outside pressure to perform. I’d also not be surprised if COC isn’t replaced by Darren Coen. The risk/reward doesn’t justify COC playing. Although neither of these is unconventional, maybe this one is. I’d have Jordan Flynn start — an investment in the future.

  25. Well it’s good to see a number of players that we haven’t seen for a while back in the Green and Red… Several look to be made of the right stuff. Hope a few more get game time next Sunday as well, Padraig O’Hora, Darren Coen, Ciaran Tracy, Mark Moran, James Durcan, Al have something to offer .. I suppose James Horan can’t change the whole 15 , even though Mayo would have the numbers to do so.. We probably need a number of the nailed on starters for our first 15 eg Robbie Hennelly, Keegan, Oisean Mullin, both Cillian and Diarmuid O’Conner and Mathew Ruane to show the way for the less experienced guy’s next Sunday, good luck to them all and hopefully a win, 2 more points, and more importantly no injuries.. It remains to be seen, how much change Andy McEntee will go for with Meath next Sunday.. They are in the exact same boat as Mayo as regards being already qualified for the promotion Semifinal already, and neither of us or Meath have any idea which team from Div Two South we will play regardless.. So logically you would imagine that Meath will shuffle the deck significantly as well.. It’s a short season, no pre season and no challenge games my thinking on it is that you have to give other player’s game time in a real match.. There won’t be much time to do it after the league… It remains to be seen!

  26. Good fullback line, centre field and full forward line.
    Needs a better contribution from the half forwards, where Fergal Boland should be placed, unless he can do a job like Ryan McHugh for Donegal.
    Darren Cone very unlucky not to make this team.

  27. Getting even two players from this weekend to put their hand up for a match day role would be huge for us. Depth has always been our issue. We need 26 players available all of whom are consistent and can impact the game.

  28. Realistically there’s probably at most. only 3 jerseys up for grabs, one in the full back line and 2 in the half forward line.
    Team picked gives a chance to guys to stake their claim. Pretty happy with the selection and will be looking more at individual performances rather than the team performance as we’re bound to be a little disjointed.

  29. On the subject of releasing the 26 and changes to the 15:

    In the National League you must submit the matchday panel on Thursday morning. Most teams playing on a Sunday would not have their last training session until Friday evening. So you cannot expect a manger to select his team based off one session, when they may be waiting on updates on guys fitness etc. And even at that you can change the 26 on the day of the game so it makes no difference anyways.

    People get way to worked up over the team announcement, especially in Mayo. Imagine we named our 26. Its 11 more things for people to complain about before the game.

    The MANAGER selects the team and the squad. The opinions of people on online forums doesn’t even enter the same universe of thought for those that make the decisions.

    Do you think you know more about a players quality than those who work with them week in and week out? I’d love to see some people’s reactions here if James Horan walked into their job and told them how to do it. Or worse again criticised it anonymously online.

  30. Just a fews things to note

    1, Is there any other free taker apart from CoC ?
    2, How many out and out defenders in this team ?
    3, Is O Hora in the panel ?

    For the love of God can we not have Oisin Mullin placed further out the pitch.

  31. Revelino agree with you re Towey, Carr, & EOD. They really need to stand out. Towey should be given frees.

    I think we should be winning this game and go all out to do so. Team is deceptive- no real newbie, though McHale and Towey are lightly used. Plenty of experience there, if that team starts.

  32. Re Oisin Mullins position, same question posed to Andy M on the Football Pod – his question is who better do we have to play fullback and Mark the likes of Con O’C? So he agrees he needs to be there for now.

  33. Everhopeful – that kind of information is available to you here on the site, all it needs is a few keystrokes using the search function on the results archive. I timed the search you asked about and it took me all of 26 seconds to put in the query and get the answer. The year was 2001 when we played them in Ballina, beating them by 0-18 to 0-12. The most recent time we played them at MacHale Park, though, was way back in 1964.

  34. I think Meath will be hungrier for the win than us and they carry a goal threat so it will be a good test for us. Harrison and Doherty are the guys who really need game time if they’re fit. Harry and EOD in the FB line would allow Osin Mullen to play further up field. Thought Boyler might get more match practice this week as he did well last week. Glad to see J Carr get another start as he was off pace last week. Dont understand FB in HB line. We dont need more players there. I don’t expect that team to start but hope its not debutants to lose out…

  35. @High or low, I don’t agree with that version of where to play Oisin Mullin, games are won further up the pitch, we need to get away from this mindset of containing the opposition this proved Mayo’s downfall in a few of the recent finals.
    An ideal man marker for Con O Callaghan would be an out and out stopper, very powerful and very quick take off from a standing position, O Hora may he this person.
    Too late trying to stop the Dubs if the ball is in the full forward line, that is exactly what the Dubs would do.
    I remember a few years ago here in Dublin, my underage team were in the final of a blitz, I put our best player ( a defender / all rounder ) right in at full forward, you know what the other clowns did, they put their very best player in to mark him, midfield was ours totally, I think our new full forward scored 7 points from play.

    Underage teams do this, put the best footballer at fullback, and forget that most of the play is in the midfield area.
    Is there no good natural defenders anymore ?

  36. @Mayo88 – I actually agree with you – and think Oisin can contribute massively from midfield. A lot for me hinges on getting Harrison back playing and game time and form from at least one of O’Donohue or o’Hora.

  37. Mayo88 sometimes you have to make a sacrifice and that can involve putting your best men on their best men.

    If you could get away with Con O Callaghan or David Clifford having a quiet day because Oisin had shackled them then it would have to be a sacrifice worth making. Let them run amok and its game over.

    I agree with regards to O Hora. In the kindest possible way there is a bit of dog in him and he would be a candidate for a man marking role if we decided to go that way.

  38. The bottom line is if I stop con o callaghan u still have all the other dublin danger men to stop. Playing Dublin means every player has gotta win his battle. Training oisin now to nullify 1 threat that may or may not come along this year is madness if its true. Find his best position and let the lad deliver.

  39. We have made the mistake before of using our best player as a man marker. Allways thought we should have moved Keegan up front for the last 10 minutes of some big games.

  40. People have to remember lee Keegan’s best days are behind him ,people on this blog saying we should move lee further up the field have to remember he is no longer a scoring threat,his accuracy and maybe his confidence seems to have diminished this last few seasons, don’t forget he has had a lot of injuries over the years and hasn’t been the same player since he got that bad injury against Tyrone in a league game a couple of seasons back,I would be more worried in how we get Mullins further up the field.

  41. Plenty of great day’s still ahead for Lee Keegan whoever should say otherwise… Great result today for John Maughans Offaly.. 3 out 3 for the former Mayo Maistero, the next one is the most important one now for Offaly in the league… Shane Lowery will be delighted.

  42. Delighted for John Maughan and Offaly I hope they get promoted. I credit John Maughan from dragging us up from the Gutter in 95 to within a cruel hop of the ball of being champions I know he has his faults who among us hasn’t ?

  43. Sleepwalker, your comments re Lee Keegan are very harsh IMO, considering we are talking about a player who many people (many outside of Mayo) consider to be one of the best half backs to have ever played the game. He has performed excellently in all our All Ireland Finals , at a much higher level than a lot of our other star men. Also he was the player taking the game to Dublin in the latest final until he was ‘taken out’ by Dr Mick and his ‘Actuary collerague’ Referee.

  44. Mayo88 you can’t seriously be comparing intercounty tactics to those of an underage blitz, you just can’t.
    James Horan has earned the right to set up the team as he see’s fit as manager, none of us are eligible for that role.
    Lord knows Mayo have been devoid of a special natural full back for many’s a year (to our detriment) so he’s trying to turn our weaknesses into strengths, that’s not a bad thing. We don’t have the strength in depth which Dublin have so we have to approach problems from a different angle

  45. Your right Sleepwalker, lee is no longer a scoring threat . How the hell could he, when he’s playing corner back.

  46. paddy in Dublin yes he was a great player but so were all the players that recently retired,my polnt is there comes a polnt in a players career when they just aren’t as good as they use to be.

  47. I don’t buy that about Lee, get him out of corner back and then judge his scoring threat. Still the only man to score a goal for us against Dublin since 2015. His best game last year was the final. His days are far from over, but its not a good sign for us to be relying on him in our full back line.

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