Team for Sunday named, six changes from the last day

The team to face Galway in the Connacht semi-final on Sunday (throw-in 2 pm) has just been named.  It shows six changes from the side that started last month against London in Ruislip and here it is:

Mayo (Connacht SFC semi-final v Galway, 26/6/2011): Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Alan Feeney (Castlebar Mitchels), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Richie Feeney (Castlebar Mitchels), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Trevor Mortimer (Shrule-Glencorrib); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Alan Dillon (Captain, Ballintubber), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen); Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole).

UPDATE: The subs for Sunday are as follows:

David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Chris Barrett (Belmullet), Lee Keegan (Westport), James Kilcullen (Ballaghaderreen), Ronan McGarrity (Ballina Stephenites), Peadar Gardiner (Crossmolina), Aidan Campbell (Swinford), Enda Varley (Garrymore), Neil Douglas (Castlebar Mitchels), Mark Ronaldson (Shrule-Glencorrib).

Those of a cynical disposition will, no doubt, point to the fact that James Horan has once again made half a dozen changes to the side he sent out in the previous match to advance their argument that we don’t currently know which way is up.  They might be right, of course, but it’s not a theory I subscribe to and while like many Mayo supporters I’m nervous as hell about Sunday, I think the team selection makes plenty of sense.  In fact, in the right circumstances, it might even be one to provide the kind of performance that’ll give us all a bit of a lift.

Robbie Hennelly could have lost out to David Clarke between the posts but I think he did okay in Ruislip so keeping the Breaffy man there for Sunday means that we’re not making change for change’s sake.  The full-back line, augmented by the returning Keith Higgins (who surely will be on PJ duties), is as expected, with the injured Dermot Geraghty losing out here.

Half-back is a concern.  Richie Feeney, lining out on his home ground in a championship match for the first time should be fine but Donal Vaughan hasn’t done anything to date to show that he can do the business at 6.  It’s a brave call by JH to retain him and I’d say this could have been as much to do with the injury list as anything else.  Donie really has to put in a stormer here on Sunday or we could be in bother.  Trevor Mortimer returns in place of Chris Barrett at 7 and deservedly so because if it wasn’t for Trevor in Ruislip we could well be facing into Round 1 of the qualifiers on Saturday evening instead of a Connacht semi-final the following afternoon.

Midfield will be a big talking point, which sees Aidan and Seamus O’Shea starting a championship match together in the engine room for the first time.  It’s a big responsibility for the Breaffy Bros but once again it’s a pick that makes perfect sense, what with James Kilcullen’s injury and Jason Gibbons’ less than convincing showing against London.  Bergin and Hanley will give Aidan and Sheamie plenty to think about in the middle of the park on Sunday but the reverse is true too.  This will be a tussle worth watching.

We look strong in the half-forwards, with Kevin McLoughlin rewarded for his positive performance off the bench in Ruislip.  The Knockmore man unseats Aidan Campbell to join Alan and Andy in what could be our strongest line of the field.

Trevor Howley’s injury provides the necessary cover to jettison the daft and overly defensive sweeper tactic with Cillian O’Connor handed his full championship debut at 13 in what now looks like a more orthodox inside line.  This trio may still be wet behind the ears as regards experience but it’s a line that’s also brimming with talent and if we get the right kind of ball into them, they could well make hay on Sunday.

Overall, I think it’s a good pick and one which, if we get going at all, could go a long way towards restoring some much-needed pride in the jersey.  I know it could go the other way too but, with Sunday now approaching rapidly, I’m happy to take my place amongst the glass half-full camp and hope for the best.  From this standpoint, it is, I reckon, the only productive option to take.

28 thoughts on “Team for Sunday named, six changes from the last day

  1. Oh God, Another game where our full back line could pass for our half back line. Tell me why for a county of our size, Why we don’t have 3 decent full backs starting? Incase I’m misconstrued, Alan Feeney is decent there but the lads either side are half backs! And Mark my words, Trevor Mort will either get injured or sent off!

  2. I think midfield will be the key here. The O’Shea’s aren’t the most mobile, so we’ll need our half forward line avaliable to take up any ball they win.
    Land early ball in to our full-forward line and they’ll cause serious damage. The Galway midfield is certainly stronger with Hanley in there, but it weakens their full back line – he’s almost single-handedly kept that line intact for them in the past.
    I’m looking at our forwards and all 6 are capable of notching a few scores.
    I’ll leave talking about our backs as I’m trying to be nothing but positive here!

  3. Where blessed Galway’s main forwards are injured. that team is good enough to beat the weakened tribesmen no worries.

  4. Considering the talent at his disposable, the manager appears to have picked the best team available in the right positions.

    I’m reluctant to say that any Mayo forward line will ever make hay, but as every one is being optimistic…..

  5. Interesting to see Trevor Mortimer at unfamiliar half back. Word from our camp is that Gareth Bradshaw will be named in an equally unfamiliar half forward berth which i can only imagine is to give our midfield a dig out. We can afford Finian at midfield as our U21 captain Colin Forde is very solid and more than an able deputy at full back. Keith Higgins at corner back is surely a good choice as he has done well there before and will be needed on Sunday if PJ starts at 13. Our big unknown is what to expect similar to yourselves. We will need a talented guy like Mark Hehir to pick up from his brillant U21 form. A big ask.

  6. Making my debut on this excellent site. Interesting team Hope its good enough for sunday.Presume Mcgarrity not fully fit . Could struggle at midfield but hoping for the best.

  7. Happy enough with team. Midfield is the key here. Cannot understand for the life of me why David Clarke isnt between the sticks. He is the best keeper we have had for years and he is sitting on the bench. Not at all convinced with Robert Hennelly.

    Maigh Eo Abu

  8. I’m another first time poster. Love the site, keep up good work willie joe. I like the team. Henelly in goal I would say for the kickouts. The O’Sheas would be well used of them. And I suspect they are easier to catch, they are not as high or driven as hard, as Clarkes. Come on Mayo.

  9. Welcome aboard, Ceideboy and Thurles Exile – glad you’re enjoying the site.

    I’d agree about why Robbie has got the nod in goal. Clarke is an excellent shot-stopper but he tends to hoof his kickouts up into the air and the way they hang there makes them easier picking for the opposition’s midfield. I’d say it’s no coincidence that we’ll have a Breaffy man kicking out to two clubmates in the middle.

    Ronan can’t be fully fit having been out for so long with such a troublesome injury. He’d a good man to spring early in the second half if we need him (and I think we’re more likely than not to).

    There’s going to be a fair few unfamiliar match-ups on Sunday by the looks of it, KC, though I guess we need to wait and see what team you guys name first. Do you think you’ll name any more of the U21s apart from Forde and Hehir?

  10. Although it’s 6 changes I couldn’t really disagree with any of them. Midfield is a talking point for sure, its tough to expect either of the O’Sheas to boss the midfield against the likes of the wily Bergin etc but if they can hold their own it would be a start.

    Defence is a concern this year, though I couldn’t put any of those on the bench in ahead of those starting – maybe Ger Cafferkey but I’m assuming he’s not fully fit. It’s a sign that it looks like our best defence possible and with the possible exception of Higgins, I’d have my doubts about all of them. Could well see Peadar Gardiner as first sub i tsstarting to take water.

    Up front looks good, hopefully Freeman and Doherty will put in better performances than those against London and Cillian O’Connor can strike a blow. Given the lack of forward power on the bench, I’d look at McGarrity being introduced in the 2nd half with Aidan moving back into the square, before the likes of Ronaldson get a run.

  11. I suspect that McLoughlin will be crossing the 2 45s quite a bit, he could well be deployed more in our own half than getting up the field, but in fairness to him he has a great work rate and is a great strike runner and hopefully will be good for a brace of points at least.

    I would be a bit worried by high balls being rained in on our keeper and full back line, it’s been a while since we have seen assured fielding in this area and we are sure to be tested on Sunday. Such a hard game to call, but losing would be a major setback for either team, home advantage means little at this stage with the last two meetings going against the head. Hopefully, our lads can relight the fire and I don’t mind if we win ugly by a single point.

    One would have to worry about our inability to kick frees and 45s so we will need to see accuracy from players kicking from play under pressure. If Galway score two or more goals. we will struggle big time, so improvement is needed in this department also. It’s going to be very tough, but we can do it!!

  12. Am also a virgin regarding this site which I have enjoyed for some time. This is also my first blog anywhere so please excuse any errors. If the prospect of Mayo v Galway in Castlebar in June can’t get the juices flowing what can ? Regarding Sundays match I have never been more unsure. No surprise if Mayo win by ten, Galway win by eight and all points in between. I can see potential in the Mayo team if they all play to their undoubted abilities. I can equally see disaster lurking in every line on the pitch. Rarely have either Galway or Mayo gone into a championship match with so little confidence behind either team. I think that we in Mayo tend to analyze things far too much. Maybe we should just sit back and enjoy the ride. Let this game be an end unto itself. Maigh Eo abu !

  13. worried about the keeper….he is liable to the odd( some would say frequent) howler that you just cant afford at this level. Clarke would have been a much better option. Having said that Henns kickouts are prob better and he gives us options from 50’s…a skill that is lost to most outfield players thanks to the GAA’s wisdom in allowing regular frees to be taken from the hands.

  14. It does look like the strongest team out of what’s available. Agree with all the above that the backs are the biggest worry. We need all to step up and give it their all and I’m sure that they will, but the nerves are jangling all the same! Good to see Ronan back on the bench and I’d be expecting him to show at some stage. Trev is also a worry but here’s hoping for a contest that will restore honour and faith! Good luck lads!

  15. I would also like to see David Clarke in goals, he has a physical presence, especially coming off his line, capable of getting ball and man ,if needed.
    I would like to see James Kilcullen given a run at centre half back , with donal Vaughan on the wing and when Ronan McGarrity returns I would play Aiden O Shea at no 10.This would make the team stronger especially in the diamond area around the middle.
    The full back line did well against Kerry in the league considering they were up against Kieran Donaghy and Colm Cooper.
    We will learn a lot Sunday and hope we win playing fast attacking football.

  16. Can’t say I’m impressed with that team at all.
    Goalkeeper – 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of the other – both are capable and either should be ok at this level.
    Fb line – ok. Have been playhing together so should know each other + KH returning should hopefully give them better cover.
    1/2 back line – incredible calls – especially TM and DV considering who you have named as being on subs bench WJ (i.e. Lee Keegan, Peadar Gardiner Ger cafferkey).
    MF – more incredible calls – in your post WJ you said James Kilcullen was injured yet he’s named among the subs ??? Any ideas ?? Also so is Ronan. Are management now saying that both the O’Sheas are now ahead of Kilcullen and Ronan McG ??
    1/2 fw line – nothing spectacular about it other than playing TM at 1/2 back and playing Kevin McG at 1/2 fw ??? (seems bizarre to me)
    FF line – seems fine although completely inexperienced at this level. good luck to them. I think they will need it.

    Overall it doesn’t inspire confidence in me. I don’t think it’s our stronogest team considering the subs named and that’s the fundamental flaw. I believe you should allways start with your strongest 15.

    But again no one will be going out there to play badly so all I can say is good luck to them all.

  17. JPM – from what I gather, Ronan McGarrity, James Kilcullen and Ger Cafferkey will all be okay to play some part in the match but none of them are 100% so it makes sense not to start any of them. I think this team is, given who is fit and who isn’t, as close to full strength as it could have been. He could have played Lee Keegan but that would be just another championship debutant and I’m not sure playing Peadar Gardiner would strengthen the half-back line either. Also I’d sooner see Trevor at HB than at HF again (remember the Cork and Sligo games last year?) and McLoughlin has played as much football this year at HF as he has at HB. He’ll probably operate between the two areas on Sunday at any rate.

  18. Bemused at the analysis of the named team going on here so far. Not a problem with that in itself and questions on who might rise to the occassion or who might be found out are fair enough. But the outcome on Sunday could depend on the performance of someone not on the pitch. !

    Like many others on here I have no idea what to expect in terms of a result on Sunday. It could be a 1 pointer either way, could be a draw or it could be a decisive win for one or the other. Mayo could dominate the play but kick too many wides or leak a few soft goals. So could Galway.

    Predicting an outcome in any Mayo Galway derby is always hard but this year is particularly difficult. Both teams have talent for sure but a with a scatter of potential weak spots on both sides that the opposition will be trying to exploit. That’s both the challenge and the opportunity for both management teams and who gets the tactics right on the day could emerge with the spoils. I, for one, will be watching how James Horan and Tomás Ó Flatharta make the decisions as that’s where this game could be won or lost.

    A lot of doubts have been bandied around on this thread about the Mayo team selection – from goalkeeper, backs, midfield and forwards. In fairness, most comments are reservations and not outright criticisms but at the end of the day James Horan and his selectors are the ones who have tio make the call and will have good reasons for selecting the starting 15. But selecting the starting 15 is just the first step. On the day, as we all know, not everyone and everything will perform to expecations and that is where management have to act quickly.

    If there is one criticism that hasn’t been mentioned here it is that our management team have been slow to make changes when it’s clearly not working (London is recent enough example). Let’s hope we are not saying that after Sunday.

    So, we go with the 15 on the pitch and see how they perform but the real key to Sunday could be the performance of those on the sideline who, if even some of the doubts expressed here have a basis, will have to be on top of their game. !

  19. And so the long and passionate love affair (one way) involving Mayo and Galway resumes.We seem to put more store in beating them than visa versa. And its time to get away from that.

    Maybe its because I was born far from the Galway border that this obsession about beating Galway gives me a pain. We beat them (well) in 1999. Remember they were Connacht and All Ireland champions. We took one cup from them but Cork put a stop to our gallop next game out.

    Is beating Galway an end in itself or just another game on the route? In 2004 a luminary told the county board meeting after our melt down v Kerry that beating Galway was the target for the year and everything else was a bonus.

    So if we lost that years Connacht final to Roscommon or the semi final to Fermanagh (and we did our best there) was the south Mayo man happy because we beat Galway?

    Sligo beat them last year. Big deal. Ros went and beat Sligo then. Of course they are our biggest rivals but life has moved on outside the shallow pool that now is Connacht. Longford and their ilk now believe they have our measure. Wexford have Galways.

    Time to stop navel gazing and look up and look out. If not we will bang our heads and become like Cavan.

  20. Good point 60Years, it really could come down to the decisions made by the men with the bainisteoir bibs. Agreed that decisions were slow to be made against London, however I’d argue that those that were eventually made were right. Still though, looking at the make up of the team and bench on Sunday, while a couple of switches are obvious with McGarrity coming on at some point and Ger Cafferkey / Gardiner getting a run for tiring half backs / McLoughlin, this match really will say a lot about the ability of Horan to make the right calls at the right time.

  21. Can’t say I’m in any way confident about Sunday. I think Horan has picked the strongest team available to us. We’ve quite a few relative newcomers and we’ll be relying heavily on the experience of Dillon, Mornan and Mortimer.

  22. How’s it going ontheroad

    I don’t think anyone here is trying to say that the game on Sunday is the be-all and end-all of our year. It’s only a semi-final after all, we’re not even guaranteed an appearance in Croke Park if we win it. But it’s a step in that direction, so that’s where the excitement and nerves come from.
    Beating Galway would be great, but it wouldn’t mean a good year if we were to then lose to Roscommon and flop in the qualifiers. I don’t think anyone is trying to say it will. But it’s a means to an end.
    It’s Mayo, it’s Castlebar, it’s the Championship and yes, it’s Galway. Doesn’t that get the blood going??
    Maybe the excitement is a bit more because it’s Galway rather than Sligo or Leitrim, but that comes from our historical rivalry. I’m not from south Mayo either…
    But it’s summer and it’s the Championship – embrace it!

  23. Whether we agree or not with the team, the fact remains that James Horan has placed his faith in the 15 that are named and the rest of us can only sit and watch. Will it be shown to be the best selection or not? Only time will tell.
    Anyone who has coached a team will tell you that there are loads of people who will disagree with the decisions that you make and the selections you put out. How the lads perform on the day and the lucky breaks you get often become the major factor in whether on not you are considered a genius or a fool. We all remember the gamble that Jack O’Connor took in putting a basketballer with no forward pedigree on the edge of the square a few years ago. Two months later, Kerry had won Sam, Jack O’Connor was a genius and Donaghy was footballer of the year. But without that “master stroke” Longford could have knocked Kerry out of the qualifiers. Yes I agree that the calls on the line are important – even if it’s only to instil urgency into the guys on the pitch – but it is the 15 inside the white lines that win the game.

    The one thing that strikes me on here is the huge feeling of trepidation about this match. I hope the players don’t feel the same way, because they are all good footballers and man for man they are at least a match for Galway.

    And if there is a need for head-shrink work, does anyone here have the phone number for the buck that was working with Rory McIlroy?

    From choker to champion in two months! That guy is worth a call.

    Keep the Faith!

  24. Yes Rock I did and I have to say that it’s fair and balanced and funny in spots! I think in any neutral’s mind, you’d have to agree with his main points, that a Connaught team are very unlikely to win Sam and that Galway are slight favourites for Sunday.
    It would be great to have the confidence to say that we would show him, but I think he is right, there’s a gulf in class that we haven’t (neither have Galway) breached in a while now, and I don’t think it will happen this year either. The Rossies are having a good time and good luck to them but don’t see them flaunting any silverware from Croker either, whatever about the Nestor cup!

  25. Well its an amatuer sport and the great thing about that is that anything can happen. I have to say I’m excited about the midfield pairing, moreso than I have been about a midfield pairing that we have put out for some time. Two big strong men in there which is always a good start for those positions in my opinion. Whatever the outcome Aidan should be left there and allowed time to develop, if he puts the work in he has time to be a fine midfielder.

  26. Willie Joe, Other than the two you mentioned Johnny Duane our U21 centre half back will definitely start but at no.4. He is very teak tough but not sure if corner back is his best position. Mind you he did well there when coming on for 20 mins against the Gooch down in Killarney in the league and had Alan Brogan in his pocket until the latter got sent off early on in our league game in Pearse against the Dubs. There was conversation about one of the U21 midfielders starting (prob O’Curraoin as Flynn is only 18) but O’Curraoin will be on the bench with Joss Moore and Michael Boyle from the U21s. I guess management are happy that Hanley/bergin are coming together well and Bradshaw as i referenced earlier will be there to give the dig out. I saw Aidan O’Shea in an U21 challenge some months ago against Cork and can see the reasoning for having him at midfield. His distribution is good and he has physicality. Big Greg Higgins at no. 6 will be an interesting one against a pretty mobile Mayo half forward line.

  27. Wouldn t understate the mayo galway rivalry. When I started going to mayo games in the late 70 s we rarely played galway. The first championship game v galway I attended was in 81 which we won by 2 points .They usually got the better of us in that decade. The best matches were from 96 to 99 when we won 3 of 4 All those games were won or lost by 4 points. There was a bit of a lull after that but the finals of 06 08 and 09 were all exciting and all decided by a point. So while beating galway is not the be all and end all it is certainly an enjoyable experience.

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