We named our team to face Galway on Sunday a short while ago. Here’s the full list of team and subs for Salthill:
Mayo (Connacht SFC v Galway, 19/5/2013): David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Kevin Keane (Westport), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Lee Keegan (Westport), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Cathal Carolan (Crossmolina); Enda Varley (Garrymore), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Darren Coen (Hollymount-Carramore). Subs: Kenneth O’Malley (Ballinrobe), Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber), Shane McHale (Knockmore), Michael Walsh (Ardnaree), James Burke (Ballymun Kickhams), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber), Richie Feeney (Castlebar Mitchels), Alan Murphy (Ballinrobe), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Conor O’Shea (Breaffy).
The above team shows four changes from the one beaten by Dublin in the NFL semi-final last month. Out from Croke Park go Chris Barrett (is he injured?), Jason Gibbons, Jason Doherty and Michael Conroy and this quartet are replaced by Keith Higgins, Enda Varley, Alan Freeman and Darren Coen.
Compared to our most recent championship outing – in last year’s All-Ireland final – there are also four changes in the starting fifteen, with Barry Moran, Alan Dillon, Jason Doherty and Michael Conroy missing (all due to injury of some kind) from the team that lined out last September, with their places taken by Seamus O’Shea, Cathal Carolan, Alan Freeman and Darren Coen respectively.
Looking further back, the team named above contains just seven survivors from the side that lined out when we last faced Galway in the championship. Keith Higgins, Donal Vaughan, the two O’Sheas (who also lined out together at midfield then), Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian O’Connor and Alan Freeman all started for us that day in June 2011 while Enda Varley also featured off the bench (and scored) in that match .
Sunday’s team contains two championship debutants – Cathal Carolan and Darren Coen – and while the selection of the former is no surprise, seeing as he established himself on the first fifteen during the league, that of the latter certainly is. The last time Darren started a competitive match (sort of) for the county was in the FBD defeat to Leitrim back in early January and he has yet to start (or, indeed, come on as a sub – though he did appear briefly as a blood sub in the match against Cork) in a league match for us. James Horan certainly can’t be accused of taking an overly conservative approach to team selection in giving the young Hollymount-Carramore man his head.
The bench, in contrast, is oozing with experience, containing as it does established campaigners such as Tom Cunniffe, Alan Dillon, Richie Feeney and Andy Moran. No Big Barry, though, which is a bit of a disappointment as it would have been good to have someone of his calibre to bring in around the middle if needs be. And no Evan Regan either: I assume he’s injured, as too must Chris Barrett as he’s not on the list at all. It’s good, however, to see the likes of James Burke, Shane McHale and Conor O’Shea named amongst the replacements for Sunday.