Team named for NFL opener

The team to play Galway in our opening NFL match of 2010 has just been announced and here it is:

David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Peadar Gardiner (Crossmolina), Trevor Howley (Knockmore), Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore); Tom Parsons (Charlestown Sarsfields), Ronan McGarrity (Ballina Stephenites); Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy), Trevor Mortimer (Shrule-Glencorrib); Enda Varley (Garrymore), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Mark Ronaldson (Shrule-Glencorrib).

Comparing this starting fifteen to our last proper competitive match – against Meath last August – there are five changes in personnel and a few positional switches.  Gone from that All-Ireland quarter-final defeat are Kenneth O’Malley, the now retired David Heaney, the unavailable duo of Pat Harte and Alan Dillon and the injured Aidan Kilcoyne.  This means that the only change of the non-enforced variety is the return of David Clarke in place of Kenneth O’Malley between the sticks, a development which can hardly be classified as earth shattering. (Clarkie should, of course, have been playing in Croke Park six months ago but that’s another story entirely).

It also means that the full-back line which enjoyed a less than happy day against Meath at HQ has been retained in its entirety, despite last weekend’s shifting of Keith to the half-back line and the inclusion of Alan Feeney in the side at full-back for two of the three FBD matches.  It’ll be interesting to see how this line fares against the likes of Nicky Joyce, Mike Meehan and Sean Armstrong the next day.

There’s one change in the half-backs with Knockmore’s Kevin McLoughlin making a welcome return at left-half.  This will be his first start since the New York match last May and hopefully he’ll now get the chance to show that he’s deserving of a starting place on a regular basis.

In what must rank as a bit of a surprise, Tom and Ronan get the nod (again) at midfield.  Seamus O’Shea’s inclusion in the side on the forty is the rather obvious reason why the Breaffy man hasn’t been given one of the midfield berths but this looks to be an extremely odd pick.  He’s never played there for us before and he appears far more suited to a role in the engine room, with Tom (or somebody else – Andy perhaps?) at 11.  Maybe they’ll switch on the day.  Maybe they won’t.

Andy and Trevor retain the positions they held in the three FBD games, as do Mark Ronaldson and Aidan O’Shea in the full-forward line.  Enda Varley’s meteoric rise in the pecking order sees him handed the jersey that Conor would have called his own for a number of years.  When did a Garrymore man last start a league or championship game for us, by the way?  Quite a while ago, I think, and here’s hoping that Enda grabs his chance with both hands (and feet) on Sunday.

That’s the team, then – a fifteen picked with, I’d say, the specific challenge we expect Galway to provide on Sunday in mind rather than one constituting the first move in some ultra-cunning master plan for 2010.  But, of course, we don’t really do those kind of dreams under Johnno II anymore, do we?

6 thoughts on “Team named for NFL opener

  1. Just heard the galway team. Its on gaaboard.com .
    There’s I lot of names I’ve never heard of. Joe is obviously open to change!

  2. i cannot get past the half back line p. gardener has never been able to play half back and no team will win anything with a 5: 8 centre back ;unless management are willing to make changes we have no future

  3. No too bad…i could have been a lot worse. The one switch i would make is to stick Tom in CHF and big Seamie at CF. Our back line is very threatening on the front foot( again!) but unfortunately come up short at what should be their primary task. Vaughan and Keith got the run around last August as did Caff but i think we have to persist with him. GArdner is a really good league footballer and im not overy worried about Howley either. McGlaughlin inculsion is welcome but its hard to see him holding a big wing forward…even Martin Penrose gave him the mother of all roastings in the league last year. So our backs have many scars and causes most concern. Our forward division, welll could scrrum down for Ireland on Saturday….lots of power with each player likely to chip in with a score or too so i happy enough with it. Overall not a bad team but i have a feeling it could be a high scoring one with not much in it in the end, which is an improvement in itself considering how negative i was about or chances 2 weeks ago. They also owe us one after what they put us through last Aug!! A win and all will be forgiven 🙂

  4. first real team of the season , lets see how they get on.. will reserve judgement until after the performance.

    WJ will you be at the game and tweeting through it ?

    and as for your poll above , it is , as always against galway , too close to call..

  5. I’m not 100% sure what I’m doing yet, Roger – we’ve had a close encounter here with the winter vomiting bug over the last few days and I thought for a while yesterday evening that I was getting it but I appear to have righted myself again. If I go to the game (which I’m 99% sure I will) I’ll be doing to odd tweet but I find that Twitter works better when listening to matches rather than when you’re at them. The Club Mayo lads usually do a bit of tweeting too so you might want to keep an eye on them too.

  6. Like Ted, happy enough with the forwards, but not too confident in the backs.
    Of course, the first game hasn’t even been played yet, so let’s give them a chance and see what they can do.

    Would of liked to have seen Keith Higgins given a good run as a wing back though. But I think it says a lot about our full-back line that he is probably our best option there.
    Is there really such a dearth of corner backs in the county?

    It would be nice to see Varley and Ronaldson get amongst the scores also, as well as a good performance for S O’Shea.
    We know what most of the lads in the panel can (or can’t) do, so hopefully this league campaign will throw up a few new players who will be pushing to start come championship time.

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