We’ve named our match day panel for tomorrow’s National Football League Division One final against Kerry at Croke Park (4pm). Here’s the full list:
Mayo (NFL Division One final v Kerry, 3/4/2022): Rory Byrne (Castlebar Mitchels); Lee Keegan (Westport), Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore, captain), Padraig O’Hora (Ballina Stephenites); Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber), Oisín Mullin (Kilmaine), Enda Hession (Garrymore); Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers), Matthew Ruane (Breaffy); Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Jack Carney (Kilmeena); James Carr (Ardagh), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet). Subs: Colm Reape (Knockmore), Donnacha McHugh (Castlebar Mitchels), Rory Brickenden (Westport), Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport), Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Conor O’Shea (Breaffy), Darren Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Darren McHale (Knockmore), Fergal Boland (Aghamore), Aiden Orme (Knockmore), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber).
Once again, it’s plenty of change from the last day, on this occasion the starting team featuring four changes from the one that lined out against Kildare last Sunday. Into the team for Croke Park tomorrow come captain Stephen Coen (named to start in Carrick but who, in the event, didn’t), Padraig O’Hora, Enda Hession (his first start of the year) and Conor Loftus. They replace David McBrien (who isn’t named in the 26 so could be injured?), Brendan Harrison (definitely injured), Rory Brickenden and Diarmuid O’Connor (also injured).
Significant names missing from the match day 26 for tomorrow include three players we’ll absolutely want to see lining out for us in three weeks time – that’s Rob Hennelly, Paddy Durcan and Diarmuid O’Connor. The loss of this trio definitely weakens our hand for Croke Park but there’s nothing we can do about this.
On a more positive note, there’s huge significance in Cillian O’Connor’s inclusion in the 26. News that was well trailed in advance by assorted leakers, it’s great to see our all-time top scorer back in the frame to play once more. A small cameo, if even that, at HQ would be enough for now but the thought that Cillian will be pushing to start against Galway is just the kind of uplifting news we need, not least in light of all the injury woe we’ve suffered in recent times.
In that regard, Darren McHale’s return to the 26 after a long lay-off is another positive. For that brief spell before he got injured last summer, the Knockmore man showed he has something about him and it’s great to see him back ready for road once more. So too Eoghan McLaughlin, a man who really thrives on hard ground and who hopefully will be back in the thick of the action soon.
Best of luck to James, Stephen and all the lads at Croke Park tomorrow.