Team to face Sligo named

Graphic: @Granuaile4Mayo

Earlier on today we named our team for Saturday’s Connacht Championship opener against Sligo. Here it is:

Mayo (Connacht SFC quarter-final v Sligo, 26/6/2021): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); Enda Hession (Garrymore), Oisín Mullin (Kilmaine), Lee Keegan (Westport); Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels), Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber), Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport); Matthew Ruane (Breaffy), Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Darren McHale (Knockmore), Bryan Walsh (Ballintubber); Tommy Conroy (The Neale), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet).

Let’s deal first off with the possibility of changes to the named fifteen ahead of throw-in. The team’s been named ahead of training tonight – assuming there is training tonight – and it’s the team that we’re obliged to submit to Croke Park. I think it’s reasonable both to assume and to expect a few changes to it ahead of Saturday and perhaps also to understand why this may be the case.

Assuming, though, that the team named does line out then it’s one that sees four changes from the side that started against Clare in Ennis the weekend before last. Out go the injured Cillian and Diarmuid O’Connor (Cillian’s Achilles tendon injury has now been confirmed to be a season-ending one), as well as Stephen Coen and Rory Brickenden.

Into the team for Saturday comes Championship debutant Darren McHale, as well as Michael Plunkett, Eoghan McLaughlin and Conor Loftus. Enda Hession, who did line out the last day, is set to be our second Championship debutant in Saturday’s game.

The most recent match we played in the Championship was, of course, last December’s All-Ireland final against Dublin. When you factor in the enforced absences of the O’Connor brothers and the retirements since then of both David Clarke and Chris Barrett, the team to play Sligo is a very similar one to last year’s final selection. In fact, the only other player who lined out then but who hasn’t been named to start on Saturday is Stephen Coen. Who, for all we know, might well line out on the day.

The other thing that we don’t perhaps note that much but which is striking is the spread of clubs represented in the team named. Ten clubs have players in Saturday’s team and only four of them – Breaffy (with three), Knockmore, Ballintubber and Westport (two apiece) have more than one.

Wherever they hail from they’re all Mayo lads and they’ll all be representing the Green and Red at Markievicz Park. The best of luck to them – with special good wishes to the two Championship debutants in the named team – on Saturday.

54 thoughts on “Team to face Sligo named

  1. Won’t come as any surprise if Mayo score close to the 6-25 of the 2015 Connacht final. Important not to get carried away if Mayo do as Sligo are probably at their lowest ever ebb right now.

  2. I’m surprised to see Stephen Coen not named and would not be surprised to see him start in a change on Saturday. Or is Horan making a point that nobody is a certain starter? I don’t think that Sligo, esp. their full back, remembering Aido’s last championship outing against them will be looking forward to seeing him named at full forward either. Will Naughton be able to emulate Costello’s tour de force against us in 2010?

  3. They will win….but what will they concede……not a new problem Mayo conceded 2-13 in that 2013 final

  4. I agree pat we are coughing up big scores. Ok we can get away with it in division 2 and for part of the connaught championship but I’m afraid if we don’t seriously tighten up in that full back line we can forget about the Nestor cup

  5. WJ I’ll nit-pick and say Darren McHale came on as a sub last year against Leitrim :). Good q re the free taking Peter. ROD may well be the front runner as he slotted a free against Clare as well as some nice marks recently. Loftus would be second in the running of the 15 named (has taken plenty frees in the past). I guess Paul Towey is seen as the best free taker on the squad after Cillian so who’s to say he won’t start on Saturday and be the man to rack up a good score.

  6. Mayo will win, no problem,but they can’t concede any more than 0 : 11 against Sligo, tighten the defence, it’s not basketball we are playing.
    Keep a few players back to mind the house, a fullback line is for defending, let the forwards do their job.
    Best wishes to Cillian, only gets credit nationally when he is injured, also wishing Diarmuid a speedy recovery.
    Can’t understand whiy Carr didn’t make it after scoring 2: 01 in the last game he played

  7. Delighted to see Darren Mchale get the start. A dogged, tidy player with the right attitude and massive energy levels and physically strong. Won’t be for the want of trying that’s for sure. He could well bed into this team. I hope he does. On his day, he can be a nightmare for a defence.

  8. I’d imagine loftus will be free taker. On the james carr thing I feel as he dont work hard tracking back is why horan dont start him. Its horans major fault that he so rigid as to what he wants. Carr fully fit should make the team. He can do things that other forwards cant

  9. O’Hora is far too rash for the top level.

    The goal he gave up to Sweeney in last years AI semi final says it all. I can say for sure that for all the complaining here about conceding too much O’Hora is not the solution. Works hard and is very physical but that is not enough at this level.

  10. Johhnyboogeen as a defender being hardworking and physical sounds just right to me

  11. Best wishes to team and management. Interesting to see so many clubs represented. That is a positive. Also interesting to note that there is no starter from East Mayo at this moment in time. As WJ said regardless of where they are from they are Mayo men and they represent all of us and indeed our senior team have represented us all very well during the last decade.

  12. The goal at the start of last years All-Ireland, tells us a lot about Horan’s weakness as a manager. He seems to be unwilling to adapt the defensive strategy, despite Mayo repeatedly being opened up for goals in every game. You wouldn’t see it at under 10’s, with defenders following their men out to the corner flag. It’s laughable really. I certainly wouldn’t blame the players in this regard, they are obviously told to stick to their men religiously. In fact, I would go as far as saying that Mayo have no defensive strategy at all, which at this level is embarrassing. Is it stubbornness to change, laziness in approach? I don’t know the answer, but Mayo will never win an All-Ireland with this approach. The game has moved on too much.

  13. Agree West is best.
    It took the Dubs all of 15 seconds to expose the weakness that was there for all to see against Tipperary in the Semi Final.
    Attack wise we have put up some great scores in recent times and it has been entertaining enough but we simply have to find a way of tightening up at the back and protecting our goal otherwise we are going around in circles. There is no way we will win anything conceding 2 goals every game.
    I wonder if Cillians injury may prompt a re-think of strategy. Perhaps we may become a bit more cagey in the bigger games knowing it is less likely that we will put up the big scores without Cillian in the team.

  14. Did i see somewhere that you can buy the game. I have sky but not sky sports. Is there an option just to purchase this game.

  15. I’d expect Diarmuid to start instead of Darren McHale with Loftus going to centre forward and possibly Coen in for Plunkett (though I hope not). I’d be very surprised if Loftus isn’t on the frees with Ryan on penalties.

  16. The man I desperately want to see getting game time tomorrow is Harrison.

  17. If Enda Hession starts or comes on, that makes him ineligible for the U20 Connacht Semi final on Tuesday 13th July against Galway. What do people think of that?

  18. Some lads extremely critical of JH and his strategies Amazing record for a clueless manager really Yet other managers have also been unable to land the big one since 1951 Personally think Horan has done a good job in his 2 spells Also think Rochford did well but of course no Sam means failure as far as some are concerned Anyway doubt if Sam will be heading west this year either so another year of failure!!!!!!

  19. I agree .to win just once. I think jh has done remarkable in his 2 stints so far. There is no difference between what Jim gavin handed over to dessie farrell or what horan handed to Rochford via Holmes. Connelly. But Rochford will go down in history as the man that made the biggest blunder by switching keepers for the replay. That is the biggest all Ireland final blunder in the history of the game

  20. Some posters are of the view that the 15 starting are the 15 best in the eyes of ma ager. It may be far from the reality as impact sube are key to winning matches.
    I expect vastly improved defensive performance tomorrow. And also would like to see Harrisson, Doherty eased back into action.
    Could someone post subs from programme please once known

  21. Enda looks to have considerable promise from what I’ve seen. Every bit as good as Harry and co in their first few outings. I think he should be left in and given a right good chance to nail his place.

  22. Unless Stephen Coen is injured, it would be absolutely insanity starting without him.. Stephen is in the top 6 or 7 Mayo player’s easily… Not a spectacular player, but versatile, leadership qualities, strong and rarely makes mistakes.. Captained Mayo to a minor All Ireland, U21 All Ireland and a Sigerson Cup winning team as well.. Can’t recall a single dispossession or mistake from the 2 league games or 5 championship games of last winter from Stephen..Mayo defense no doubt boasts 3 of the finest players in Ireland, in Paddy Durcan, Oisin Mullen and Lee Keegan, but has been conceding some huge scores..We certainly need someone with the qualities of Stephen Coen in our defense. ..We will get away with it v Sligo or Leitrim but we need to start fixing that defence from tommorow!

  23. PM, you cant buy the match as a one off as such, but what you can do is buy a ‘day pass’ from Sky Sports off there streaming platform ‘Nowtv’. Its €10. You then watch it on your phone or cast it to your TV. Its lasts 24 hours, and you get all the sky sports channels for it. A better option perhaps is to see what deals they have,like a one month pass for €30 or something like that. The great thing about ‘ Now TV’, is that they don’t tie you to a contract like on the satellite dish itself. You cancel it at anytime.

  24. There are people suggesting that certain players should be starting instead of others who are starting. At the same time they have no idea if they have any injuries’ or needles. One forward who is mentioned frequently is carrying an injury and in the past he has been troubled by a certain problem and has only been able to play one half in a game.
    Horan has a medical team who advise on when players are fully fit action and i don’t think it helps or is fair to certain players to say they should be in the team or to the players who people are suggesting they replace. None of us have seen how players are performing in training and some of the players been mentioned are only coming back from injury.
    On the issue of us leaking goals we have seen Micky Harte and Kevin Walsh use the shawl approach, We saw Kerry try it to some degree also for the few years and neither were successful . Kerry have gone back to out and out attacking football while they are also conceding handy goals as in the Dublin V Kerry league game this year but they are still the team with the best chance of beating Dublin this year, I remember the days before Horan and i have to say that bar winning Sam he has done it all . For those of you who don’t remember what things were like before Horan all i can say is do a bit of research. We should get behind the team and the management. Both will make mistakes but that’s football. If we were to win SAM no one will remember the mistakes but lose the All Ireland by a point and it a blame game. Under both Horan and Rochford we have been spoilt. Both have made mistakes but so did Jim Gavin but he came out on the winning side ( I am referring to the time when he used all his subs against Mayo and he ended the game with one of his players who had stay on the pitch injured)

    Up Mayo

  25. Here we are on this blog bitching and moaning about our manager James Horan the same man whose achievements include Connacht champion winners on five occasions, all Ireland finalists on 3 occasions, league champions on one occasion and developed possibly the greatest players that mayo have ever had, all in all not a bad cv, at the moment James Horan is trying to perfect his offensive plan because he knows his team has to be scoring 20 points plus to have any chance of eventually dethroning the dubs,the defense will be an easier fix once he feels his offensive plan ls working and we could see an lmprovement ln the Clare game where we were able to block the central channel to stop the opposition from creating goal chances and apart from the two high balls that gifted Clare there goals we didn’t look like conceding a goal so we learned that the next time a giant midfielder goes into full forward our biggest player has to go back with him and make his life as miserable as possible.

  26. I believe that the tactics and pick of any manager needs to be analyzed. Horan, Rochford, Holmes & Connelly have all done well on paper. In my opinion, we were blessed with a golden generation of players, the best in 70 years at the very least. These players would have got to All-Ireland finals with Donald Duck in charge. The likes of the O’Connor’s, McLoughlin, Paddy Durkan, Higgins, Boyle, O’Shea, Parsons, Keegan, Mullens etc. did it for themselves. It wouldn’t have mattered a damn who was in charge. The best players that their respective clubs have ever produced. Two things have stopped them for getting the All-Ireland win, a superb Dublin team and poor management decisions in terms of team set up or selection mistakes. I would ask the question if Horan has learnt anything from his first stint in charge? I personally don’t believe that he has. Is Keegan a corner back? Has Mayo any defensive strategy? Where is O’Shea’s best position? If Ruane gets injured, our midfield pairing will be Loftus and Flynn, are they the best available, as I have seen them struggle badly at Intermediate club level? What cannot be taken away from Horan is that he set the groundwork at the beginning. Put the training structures and backroom team in place that helped these players to fulfill their potential. Despite this, I would have major issues with how he sets up the team. I question his unwillingness to change the teams defensive strategy. I honestly believe that some players have got far too many chances under Horan and that there are better players that haven’t had a look in. I hope I am wrong, I sincerely hope he delivers us an All-Ireland title, but he more than anyone else needs to question what he is doing.

  27. @leantimes I completely disagree on Stephen Coen. There’s no way he is in the top ‘6 or 7’ Mayo players. O’Shea, O’Connor x 2, Mullen, Durcan, Conroy, Ryan, Keegan, Ruane, and McLoughlin x 2 are all more important to the team. It’s very debatable as to whether he is/should be a regular starter. Our defenders and mid-fielders need pace and a scoring threat and if they don’t have that then they need to be very good ‘man-markers’, like Chris Barret was.

  28. The west is best . For the last 40 plus years that i have been following Mayo we have always had very good players. Liam McHale. TJ Kilgannon, Padraig Brogan, Willy Nallen, James Nallen, P Gardnier, Frank Noone, John Finn , Jimmy Browne. Noel Durcan, James Horan , Denis Kearney,Roache from Davitts. Heaney, K McStay, Anthony Finnerty , The Mortimer Brothers by three, Maurice Sheridan, K McDonnell, Kevin O Neill. Pat Fallon, The Maher Brothers, Butler from Knockmore, David Brady . I could go on and on and on. To say that Donald Duck could do what Horan, Connolly- Holmes or Rochford has done is going over the top.

  29. I would say Coen is the guy earmarked for the Connaught final but Plunkett will likely start as needs the championship experience more and Sligo aren’t at our level. Likewise Leitrim offers opportunity to experiment. I hope McHale starts as he looks a good score taker. I’d prefer if Loftus didn’t start but he proved me wrong last year from midfield.
    Overall it’s a strong team. AOS is the obvious leader to help FF line. Let’s hope he offloads plenty to the other 2 who can fairly score.

  30. Maybe I was going too far there o Sullivan, I was just trying to highlight my point that any half decent manager would have got them as far I believe. Excellent list of players there, but my point still stands that none were better in their clubs than the ones I have listed. As always, that’s just one personal opinion.

  31. Have to agree with O Sullivan, the managers and primarily JH have set the culture and helped the players develop. Players ultimately win matches but JH has played a huge part in our progress over the last 10 years. Managers make mistakes but that’s life but comparing to Donald Duck is way off.

  32. Obviously an exaggeration Mikey and like you I praised Horan for leading the charge initially. All that being said, he makes mistakes like us all. I just don’t think he has learned how to set up the team defensively, but just my humble personal opinion.

  33. The idea that any half decent manager would repeatedly win us Connacht titles, a national league and reach all Ireland finals is rubbish. Mayo have won 1 connacht minor title since 2014, so we’ve no entitlement to go deep in the senior championship.

  34. Hi, Just another half baked humble opinion. I the last 2 days I have been reading about the evolving nature of hurling and football starting with Kevin Walsh. He seems to be in some sost of coaching set-up. He has e the same arguments that I read about in hurling where you play the % game depending on whom you are playing, what is the current state of play and what are your strengths. Avoid turnovers at all cost.
    The other article was by well known commentators as well and they were dlscussing the Recent defensive frailties of Kerry, Tyrone and Donegal – all who have leaked goals. So it is not jurd a Mayo Problem.

    The recent Podcast does emphasise just how much the game has changed in Mayo from the time of Martin Carney and Kevin McStay. Gradual change and no pints after training.

    Keep the faith. Ciaran + 2.

  35. I would also give John Maughan a lot of credit for bringing some belief back into mayo football..we had alot of barren periods before that apart from 89 where a connaught title was nowhere to be seen ie the 70s.. Great to see all those names again o sullivan..I believe horan is the right man.

  36. The general consensus seems to be that Sligo are in a bad place. In a way i find that surprising as they have had some good underage teams and at schools levels in recent years. Hopefully both they and Leitrim can put some level of test to us as going into final under cooked will be a disadvantage. I really hope the free taking is sorted out properly as we dont want a repeat of 2019.

  37. Mayo team v Longford, 2010: David Clarke; Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Donal Vaughan, Trevor Howley, Kevin McLoughlin; Seamus O’Shea, Pat Harte; Andy Moran, Aidan O’Shea, Alan Freeman; Conor Mortimer, Barry Moran, Alan Dillon. Subs: Liam O’Malley, Mark Ronaldson, Tom Parsons, Billy Joe Padden.

    2010 championship: beaten by Longford after defeat to Sligo in the championship.
    Horan takes over.
    Result: 4 consecutive Connacht titles. 4 consecutive All-Ireland semi-final appearances. 2 All-Ireland final appearances. Knock out All-Ireland champions in 3 consecutive years, including the mighty Dubs in 2012. (Their last defeat in championship bar Donegal in ’14).

    But yeah, Donald Duck could have done that.

  38. Is there any merit in having Aidan OShea as our FB.
    I know he is a loss out the field but he hasn’t been a massive score getter consistently.
    He was damn good in 2017 v Donaghy.
    There are others with more pace that can do the work out the field, Mullin, Ruane, DOC,

  39. @GBXI.. Of the player’s you mentioned who in your opinion are better than Stephen Coen..Both O Connors are out due to injury, .. I would say McLoughlin x 1.. McLoughlin Óg a fantastic prospect no doubt, and I am personally delighted to see him starting, but has a long way to go before he could as yet boast of keeping the outstanding Diarmuid Connolly without a touch of the ball in an All Ireland final, at 21 year’s of age as well… AOS had been garunteed a place at No11 for years, has hardly troubled the scoreboard,, totally outpaced leading to the concession of the first goal after 15 seconds v Dublin, and he’s hardly getting any faster, but he is a great tackler, I would say his reputation exceedes his ability… Durcan, Ruane, Keegan,K McLoughlin and Mullin , creme de la creme of footballers no doubt. .. Ryan O Donohue, Tommy Conroy, brilliant young player’s but would have to do more in my opinion, and they will do more, before they could be ranked with Coen.. it still leaves several named starter’s, of which I believe no doubt about it Stephen Coen is ahead of.

  40. Yes cricket of Clarke goals conceded was from the penalty given so badly away by Robbie. But let’s get this right lm not blaming Robbie. He had not played in the previous 6 matches and then the genius Rochford threw him in . Robbie was clearly under so much pressure. His short and long kicks were going anywhere and everywhere. Nobody could believe what Rochford had done and less how it backfired.. I’ll take James horan any day

  41. Someone please tell me we’re not having the Hennelly v Clarke debate again in 2021, on the night before our first game in the Championship …

  42. I hope respect is shown to Sligo and we’re tuned in from the start. No araing around here, get the job done quick and run the bench. Mattie Ruane first man off, we need him wrapped in cotton wool.

    Have to say I agree with the posters regardi g Stephen Coen,, he’s a brilliant player and very experienced at this stage. An out an out number 6, hard as nails, great tackler and has good brain. He starts for me over plunkett any day of the week. I remember the Kerry replay in ‘17, Anthony Maher came on late an tried to scrap with Coen, Stephen turned him upside down at his ease. Strong as an ox.

    Best of luck to all players, and I pray we get through it injury free.

  43. James horan talked about making us consistently competitive. He certainly done that. Were tough to beat. Have been fir a decade now. Thanks to horan. I dont agree with his tactics but we sure are entertaining lol so all we gotta do is outscore the other team and were sound. Scoreline tomorrow will be sligo 2.11 mayo 4 .17 lol

  44. Tomthumb – it’s your bloody comment that’s not up to standard. You should know that you cannot name a player here and claim he’s not ‘county standard.’ That has always and will always be a no-no for commenting here. You’re in moderation for that now.

  45. On the Stephen Coen debate, I think he’s ahead of the competition but the Sligo game is a good one to give emerging players a start. I wouldn’t rule out Coen sprung in midfield for this one. We have a bigger panel than Sligo. Plunkett looks an improving ball player, give him game time.
    And as for AOS at FB, that’s a good option when opposition put a big man in there but a bad option for marking most FFs who would only compete by running away from Aido as fast as they can to win ball or make space. He’s more useful in a free role from FF or CHF where he can help win ball in midfield and win turnovers and drift in when we already have the ball lungs permitting.

  46. Valid point willie joe. It was actually the horan v Rochford one. Horan wins that all day long. Best of luck to our much respected team today and please no more injuries. Mayo abu

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