We’ve named our team to play Kerry in Sunday’s league semi-final and here it is:
Mayo (NFL Division One semi-final v Kerry, 15/4/2012): 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), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber); Conor Mortimer (Parnells, Dublin), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Michael Conroy (Davitts). Subs: Robert Hennelly (Breaffy), Shane McHale (Knockmore), Richie Feeney (Castlebar Mitchels), Peadar Gardiner (Crossmolina), Danny Geraghty (Ballintubber), Barry Moran (Castlebar Mitchels), Pat Harte (Ballina Stephenites), Aidan Campbell (Swinford), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Enda Varley (Garrymore).
So, it’s three changes from the side that started down in Tralee last Sunday – out go Eoghan Reilly, Danny Geraghty and Cillian O’Connor while in come Kevin Keane, Colm Boyle and Conor Mortimer. You’d be hard pressed to argue with any of those changes, to be honest, but I had expected Barry Moran to be recalled at 14 so that we could employ the same kind of offensive tactics that worked so well against the Dubs. I really like Jason Doherty but I don’t think he’s the man for 14 and in Bazza’s absence I’m not sure that front three will have enough heft to cause the kind of problems we need them to if we’re to have any chance of taking the Kerrymen.
Most attention, understandably, will be on Aidan O’Shea, who is named to start at midfield. Rumours about the big Breaffy man being diagnosed during the week with a problem that could rule him out for up to three months have been rife since last night and the Irish Examiner is reporting this morning (quoted in Friday’s GAA in the Papers on GAA.ie) that not only will Aidan not play on Sunday, he “has been ruled out for six weeks with hamstring problems” and he’s “in a race to be fit for the Connacht Championship opener against London or Leitrim on June 24”.
This report was obviously filed last night before the team was named so it’s hard to know what the hell is going on. Needless to say, Aidan would be an enormous loss for Sunday – it’d be difficult to see us living with Kerry for seventy minutes in his absence – but having him fit in time for the championship is clearly of greater concern. Given that he’s now been named in the team I doubt we’ll be much the wiser about his availability or otherwise until after the warm-up on Sunday.