Team to play Donegal named

We’ve named our team to play Donegal on Sunday. Here it is:

Mayo (NFL Division One v Donegal, 19/3/2023): Colm Reape (Knockmore); Jack Coyne (Ballyhaunis), David McBrien (Ballaghaderreen), Sam Callinan Ballina Stephenites); Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers), Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels, captain); Matthew Ruane (Breaffy), Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber); Fionn McDonagh (Westport), Jack Carney (Kilmeena), Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), James Carr (Ardagh), Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet).

So it’s three changes from the side that started against Roscommon last time out. Into the starting fifteen come Colm Reape, Aidan O’Shea and Ryan O’Donoghue while out go Rory Byrne, Cillian O’Connor and Tommy Conroy.

Sunday’s NFL Division One Round 6 match throws in at MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey, at 3.45pm. Tickets for the game are available to purchase here and it’s being shown live on TG4, with live radio commentary also on Midwest.

The best of luck to the lads on Sunday.

101 thoughts on “Team to play Donegal named

  1. Strong team. I would have expected Tommy to get another start, hopefully he didn’t have any setback. Also hope to see POH play at least some part , among others. As usual bench will be interesting.

  2. Looks like McStay and his management team have no intention of taking the foot off the gas. Thinking that this is close to our championship starting team.

  3. Strong team … BUT we won’t know until just before the throw in who will actually start ..
    Agree @2hops re Tommy and POH but we could see them start yet…
    Happy St Patrick’s day all

  4. Am I right in saying 7 players has started every league game this year for Mayo?

    David McBrien, ; Stephen Coen, Conor Loftus, Mattie Ruane, Jack Carney, Jordan Flynn; James Carr

  5. Naming the team has nearly become pointless. I’ll be amazed if that team actually starts. Makes a mockery of even naming the team in the first place!

  6. @Mayomagic: Yeah. Spot on. Has been interesting watching the minutes this year.

    Can add in that Mattie and David have played every minute of the league so far (with Stephen only coming off briefly in the last 5 minutes of the Kerry game), Jack Coyne & Aido join them in having made an appearance in each game so far and Rory & Enda had played every minute in the early games right up until their injuries forced changes with them (against Kerry and Tyrone respectively).

  7. That team has a settled look about it and the good thing is…we have such a strong bench. I like the idea of persisting with that full forward line. Only headache for McStay is where to play Cillian and Tommy. Let’s keep the Rossies guessing. We should win by 3plus on Sunday but will we?

  8. Nice team. Seems like the injury reports are true. Wouldn’t have minded seeing Byrne in goal again for another run though reape would be my number 1 at the moment. Hope Eoghan mc gets back soon. Looking forward to a good game and hopefully a win.

  9. @ no doubt,I feel that while Byrne is a good goalie,he tends to turn sideways to balls from close range instead of facing it full on like Clarke, nothing a good coach could sort out..

  10. I would be very suprised if that team starts. Everyone is saying that this season above any other will lead to major player burn out, with the amount of games to be played. If managment are continuing to play Mattie, Coen and the others who have started all games so far, when are they going to get a rest?.

  11. Mayo win on sunday and the pressure is off for the Monaghan match. McStay & co. have 2 areas of improvement imo.. Getting the most out of AOS. We must maximise his strengths. The other problem is how we hold up physical players coming through the centre from midfield. We need to see a vast improvement from last game.
    Donegal will be throwing everything at us and we will know a lot more about Mayo after this game. Any news of Donegal team?

  12. Will Mayo travel up to Donegal tomorrow as seems to be happening with a lot of counties this year due to the cost of hotels?
    Maybe that’s why no division 1team has won a game outside their province.
    It must be a pain going up the night before and trying to pass the time.

  13. Can’t get relegated on 8 points so pressure is officially off. Donegal, Monaghan’s needs are greater in these two remaining matches.

  14. No doubt

    Look back at the last few minutes of the Armagh Game and Reapes performance when we were under pressure and explain why Reape in your number 1. I would be worried if he was playing in an AIF

    Hennelly for me is No. 1

  15. How many games had Reape played for Mayo at that stage, O SULLIVAN? Cut him some slack there – he’s improving in every game.

  16. @nephin. The pressure is off depends on aspirations for this Mayo team. Remain unbeaten throughout the league campaign, iron out issues of concern, win a national title? Then the pressure continues to mount. And thats what makes it so challenging for these guys.

    But if you set your sights lowly, survival in div 1, then you are right, the pressure is off. I just feel this panel, the management view these games differently to you. Thats why the stakes are high in ballybofey.

  17. I don’t think the stakes are high or there’s any great pressure but management would I think like to see tactics and game plans working which in fairness has been happening more often than not so far. Close to championship team now with Cillian, Tommy, Eoghan and Enda putting pressure on the starters with also the loyal veterans in the mix so the panel is in good shape..

  18. I used to love staying over the night before these away games but seemingly that ienjoyment is a thing of the past,so a spin up tomorrow it is. I honestly don’t really mind what team starts as I believe with this present group it’s always going to be competitive and the issues are avoiding injuries and staleness. Got to trust the management on the second one and the Sporting gods on the first.
    On another matter I see there is a bumper Cake Sale at Claremorris Tesco today Sat from 10am til 4pm for “Together for Ger”. Deserves massive support.

  19. Donegal in Ballybofey is as tough an away match as there is
    Donegal haven’t lost there for years

    It is the perfect match to see who is up to championship level, So considering we are not interested in a league final it’s a match to get lads up to speed who haven’t got a chance yet

    Would like to see start’s for
    Hennelly, P O Hora, P Durcan, D McHugh, E McLoughlin, K McLoughlin, B Touhy, K Mc, COC, Tommy Conroy, Paul Towey
    Time to find out if they are viable starters for championship

  20. @Shuffly deck.. the stakes may or may not be high depending on what various people feel towards making a league final, or just having safety in division 1 or players not getting injured etc however, one guaranteed place where the stakes are at there most highest is between players. Yes they are team mates, yes they believe in all for one and one for all, but!!! it’s all about getting that first 15 jersey.. or getting into the match day squad.. that’s the reward for all them gym sessions, the pitch sessions, the nutrition, the lack of social life in season, the criticism received by some, the plaudits etc.. the long goal is titles.. the short goal is your individual goal depending on where your at currently re jersey number!! And that’s what drives players.. the more the starting 15 are looking over their shoulder the better it is overall, and that will keep the standards high.. if you know in your heart your nice and safe baring an injury then one might just drop to 90% etc.. that’s normal, we all do it.. but if your Hession for example would you think he will ease off a bit knowing Swannie is about? Loftus knowing Jason is maybe his understudy or that Eoghan Mc could got 7 Coen to 6 and you on bench! I see Ryan as nailed on to start championship but say Cillian shoots the lights out on the next 3 possible matches and in training and Ryan dips a bit? If any of us were Ryan we be keeping the standard up to stop any management conversation about should it be Cillian or Ryan!!! All this is possible because we have a serious squad to pick from.. its a brilliant position to be in, and the longer that remains the closer we will get to seeing the green and red ribbons on both sides of Sam!!!

  21. Id be inclined to agree with all of that. Donegal desperately need a win. They are getting closer to championship level fitness and beating Mayo would be the boost they need. Mayo are not the finished article, still some fine tuning to do and a loss to the the table propper uppers is out of the question. Fascinating game, donegal may just lack a bit of depth, which gives Mayo the edge, but we have to turn up, thats for sure..

  22. @o Sullivan.. Firstly I probably should have been clearer about my goalie choice I meant reape my no1 of the 2 in contention at the minute. You asked me to explain why but really I don’t need to. I don’t have to have the same opinion as you and as regards looking back at the end of the armagh game what about the end of the Dublin draw in 16 for Clarke, the replay for hennelly or as some or saying here Byrne turning away from the ball. Give the lad a chance jeez he’s new to the intercounty game and is bound to be edgy at times.

  23. I have to agree with O Sullivan re Reape, I was at the match in Armagh and was actually down the end that Mayo were defending in the second half. I though he lost the plot in the last five minutes.He was very nervous
    Looking in the last 5 minutes. I would place Hennelly and Byrne above him going forward. Both have More experience and have Croke Park experience. Byrne played well in Croke Park in last years League final and has also played in All Ireland Club Final in Croker , with Mitchells.We all know the experience that Robbie has.I have to say I am fearful of Colm going forward in bigger Pressurised games.

  24. @ Tirawleybaron . Totally agree , time to see what our panel is made of . Pressure is off now for next 2 games … Our most important game coming up is against Roscommon in the 1st Round

  25. Loosing the last two games or indeed one of them to the two bottom teams, will make Mayo look very foolish and do nothing for the morale of the players and start a blame game, just go out and win every game thats what football is about.

  26. Reape has been, for the most part, very good this year. In my opinion (opinion!), he should be the number one going forward. He hasn’t had a huge amount of games for Mayo and he’s improving so much with each game. Hennelly and Clarke had dodgy moments in their first 5 games for Mayo I’d say?
    It’s a horrible position to play in and we’re damn lucky to have had good goalies over the years. When you’re going well, nobody says it and if you make an error, it’s catastrophic. That’s the same for the goalie in soccer too.
    Reape looks solid, kickouts are good and he’s going to improve as the years go on. And again – this is an opinion!

  27. Roscommon beat Galway in a league final last year, only to get hammered by the same opposition a few weeks later. The league means nothing come championship, its not even up for debate. Time to rest certain players, and give MUCH needed game time to others. Personally I think winning the league would put us at a pyscological disadvantage just like it did in 2019.

  28. Unable to go to match on Sunday. I have a ticket available to first person to txt me
    on 0863296001.

  29. Fair play to ya @ Margie … Your totally correct… I feel the same but know I’ll get the “!it’s a national final “ stuff but above any year and with new format for championship I couldn’t give 2 dam’s about getting to a league final …
    We have to strengthen our panel by giving as many players as much game time as possible

  30. Margie – in 2019 there were 8 weeks between the league final win and losing to Roscommon. You don’t seriously think those 2 were related?

    This year could be different if we pick up few knocks in the league final and only 1 week turnaround, but we’re almost guaranteed to be in it now.

    I’d value a league title higher than a connacht championship anyway if the choice was there.

  31. GAA Obsessed, I was speculating more about Management’s view than the players. Yes I think you could be right about players having to perform to keep the jersey.
    I agree fitness permitting on giving the other lads name dropped a chance to see how they perform. We also need a plan B playmaker / sweeper for the 6 jersey so Loftus shouldn’t be given the 70. I can see the logic in a very good kick passer in that pivotal position and Loftus is no 1 on the panel in this regard with Kevin Mc probably no 2. Others while very good players may be inclined to go laterally or slow things a bit too much and if we’re to learn from other years and other teams then management are onto the right tactic.
    On the goalie debate if fit I think Robbie will edge it but it’s now marginal. Not sure who I’d pick as no 2 except to say that some people are a bit daft labelling Reape as turning away from the ball. I observed it just once when a foul had been blown by the ref so why expend energy and risk injury on a nothing shot. So it’s a very fine margin, Reape might actually get the job for the speed he gets the ball out and the fact that he is more comfortable coming out than most goalies in this modern evolution of goalkeeping. All 3 are very similar on kickout success rates but Robbie’s experience might just about win the jersey. The good thing is we have ready made replacements in any situation.

  32. Due to inability to travel, I have a hotel room paid for in Letterkenny tonight that I won’t now be using. It is available to anyone who might use it.
    If interested, email me at

  33. Reape is more comfortable on the ball, he looked edgy end of Armagh game, but he was left very exposed by fact our outfield play capitulated, similar for Byrne last week.
    Subs introduced in both those games weren’t tackling/able tackle or foul their men up the pitch and we were under serious pressure.
    Hennelly has had some great games, but can ye recall occasions where things have gone wrong for him in previous years??

    Loftus being this playmaker several have mentioned. How many balls has he splayed into our forwards in last number of games? The best balls in last two games were from Aido.

  34. We are fortunate to have 3 decent goalkeepers in contention for the number 1 spot. I trust management/goalkeeping coach will come up with the solution and sort any apparent flaws.
    Im not convinced about no 6 position. Loftus is a good distributor and so are any of the defenders. My concern is physical midfielders breaking through the centre. Is Loftus the hold up man who can slow down the advance. He’s done well since his move to 6 but How does he compare to Tadhg Morley John Daly? Sunday will tell us more.

  35. Looking forward to seeing the neighbors down in Tralee tonight.

    From a football point of view, I think the Rossies have a great chance of upsetting the odds, but it’s difficult to see them actually have the self belief to see it through

  36. Ye agree , Loftus has done well. But he needs to be protected. It looks like management want him to carry and and bring the ball forward. I would rather for him to hold the centre back position and distribute the ball from there. He does have a very good ability to kick pass.If he dies go forward it’s vital some minds the house and covers the centre when he is up the field.

  37. I agree he is a great kicker. But how often is he actually kicking it forward??
    Diarmuid seems to be one covering him on defensive duties. I know numbers don’t meant as much now as they used to be, but if we analyse goals conceded who could have been following Tierney et Al?

  38. the critical skill for a sweeper is being able to anticipate rather than react. You often see the latter in the role and being caught out of position. Loftus does well as sweeper rather than man-marker or bush in the gap when someone upstream is passed, and his role will need clear definition each game.

  39. Watching Meath v halftime Dublin 1-11…Meath 1-02 . I’d say that if Dublin could choose the tactics Colm O’Rourke’s Meath would adopt, they would have chosen the current tactics Meath are using!

  40. Any sign of Michael Plunkett. He is the man to do the job conor loftus is currently asked to do. If the whole in the centre isnt fixed we will pay the price again when it really matters..

  41. Meath will be lucky to play for Sam this year

    Although not as lucky as whoever has them in the group stage

  42. FrostT, ya could pretty much fit all the teams with a realistic chance of winning Sam into one of those 4 team groups.

  43. If we are using Loftus as a sweeper, which seems to be what most posters are saying then surely he is a plus 1, which means we will have a more orthodox chb in place with Loftus (or someone else) sweeping. Someone like Coen or PO’H I’d be guessing at 6.

  44. Hurlers avoid the drop with a win this afternoon.

    Final table it was very tight.

    Roscommon 6
    Armagh 6
    Monaghan 6
    Mayo 5
    Louth 4
    Fermanagh 3

  45. Thanks Oilean acla. Strong bench. Should give us advantage. Im not buying into this sweeper business. When we attack and are turned over forwards fall back and they are basically all sweepers. The big question is when Ruane and DOC go forward and are turned over, whose the hold up guy in chb postion for us. I expect we will see something different tomorrow from the Roscommon game.

  46. Don’t think anything major PM. Think minor knocks etc. For him, Orme and Hession.
    But it’s not important enough a game to risk him.

  47. Galway digging it out again…they’re going to have a very good championship this year. Will be hard to beat.

    That said, Armagh extremely wasteful and outright jumpy when trying to hold onto their lead. There’s still a strange quality about them. Can be very dynamic at times and then very flaky at others.

  48. @dreamy they are very well set up at the back. Really know how to use the sweeper. Few forwards to come back too. They are bouncing now.
    Awful game to watch though. They’ll be in the league final I bet and it would suit them too

  49. Galway developing into a very tough team to beat. And they’ve been down a good scatter of front liners for most for the league. Not doing anything flashy but a real edge to them these days.

  50. Great for Colm Reape and a few others getting established on the team. Full value.

  51. No. Galway will almost certainly need a result next weekend to qualify for a final.

  52. If Ros lose in Tralee tonight, that Galway result almost certainly puts us in the final? Armagh can’t catch us and we are ahead of Kerry, Tyrone and Ros on the head to head. Monaghan would have to beat Tyrone and us. Also we would have to take a few tankings to bring down our score difference

  53. Greetings from Donegal … not huge fans of the Rossies up here !!
    They really don’t know ( like us ) what Mayo team we will actually take the field.
    Its a good reminder of how lucky we are to be safe in Div 1 and can rest and try players that might not necessarily be guaranteed starters come championship…
    Interesting 2nd half ahead in Roscommon v kerry match …
    Kerry look like they are getting back to some serious training after their All ireland win and hols

  54. How are Galway under the radar? Did people not watch the All Ireland final last year!!

  55. wide ball – easy run last year and no articles this year of note. by comparison look at how much attention we get in press / podcast sphere

  56. Penalty, Surely, Positively, Maybe- in the last minute for Roscommon v Kerry? NOT given…VAR would have been looking at the incident for a while..Ahh there is no justice in this world!..Rossies might need a point to stay in Division One next week, hope that they stay up anyway! Galway are safe, probably, possibly in the League Final v probably, possibly, might even be us. Galway have never beaten Mayo in Croke Park, 2023 is no time to be letting anything like that happen.

  57. Thought it was an awful dive myself

    If he’d kept his feet a hand would’ve come and then was the time to dive

  58. Ha ha easy run sure beating Mayo, Armagh and Derry not enough for ye. Expect Galway to quality for final now. It would be nice to beat Mayo in a national final but sure wouldnt Mayo be strong favourites against a team that beat nothing to get to the AI last year. Id imagine Mayo would pray its Galway rather than get an asses beating from Kerry. The Galway vs Mayo final would be a 1 point game.

  59. Chesneychet – honestly no offense meant, but yes that was an easy run in the grand scheme of things. getting through Dublin and/ or Kerry is often going to be the test (would definitely throw in an in form Tyrone). For context I think galway are flying under the radar as you look to be a very strong team that doesn’t seem to be getting nearly enough air time because the losses have been interspersed with wins. would I be confident playing galway in championship? yes. Do I think it would be easy at all? no chance

  60. Mayo pretty much guaranteed a final place now unless we ship two heavy defeats.
    Likely to be Galway in the final as they need the draw to get across the line, Armagh result is a sign that they are digging out results in tight games, always a good trait.
    God knows what team we put out tomorrow but we will be competitive. Great chance for players to test themselves as Donegal will surely put in a big effort to try and stay up, still think that we will win.

  61. PJ will be delighted. Adding a bit of depth and seem to have really tapped into that All Ireland Winning U20 team of 2020.
    Johnny McGrath, Sean Fitzgerald, Cian Hernon, Paul Kelly, Matthew Tierney, Cathal Sweeney, Patrick Kelly and Tomo Culhane from that team all played this evening in Armagh.

  62. Exile – not sure what podcasts you listen to, but Colm Parkinson has been really praising Galway this year. Saying they are at the very top level. The host of the examiner pod tipped them to win Sam.

    Of course if you listen to a Mayo based podcast they won’t be focusing on Galway too much!

  63. fair enough Wide ball – I don’t think I’ve heard the same hype, not that it will count for much in championship. Whoever comes out of connacht should be in good shape

  64. Galway mastering winning games ugly is something I never thought I’d see

    Tierney is growing into one of the form forwards in the country and with Walsh and finnerty working their way back to full speed and comer to return that is very ominous indeed

    O’Neill has shored up the defence something extraordinary also

    They’re serious all Ireland contenders, and I’ve no doubt it’ll take a top Kerry or Dublin performance to knock them out this year

  65. The easy run narrative always gives me a good chuckle. Yeah they were absolutely charmed to avoid the mighty Clare and cork in the quarters and I was sure it was Roscommon and mayo they beat in Connacht but it must have been New York and London by the sounds of things

    Don’t know why “losses” is being used in plural form either in relation to this season, in competitive games they’ve only lost to the rossies

  66. There is an edge to Galway, serious contenders.
    They seem to have learned from their defeat last year

  67. It’s been an ideal league for Galway. No one has been talking about them (yet) whereas the media have been all over us. What’s feckn new! Galway are grinding out results and have done so for the mostpart without Walsh, Comer and Finnerty. Tierney is buzzing too. They are very strong in the middle diamond.

    I know a lad, from Galway and with a shrewd betting mind (ie: he wins a lot!), who has backed them heavily tonight to win the Al Ireland at 8/1.

  68. I have to agree with the posters above, Galway had a very handy route to last years final. Played two teams who had no experience playing in the latter stages of tbe All Ireland. But in fairness to Galway they took their chance, scraped through Armagh and Galways better forwards got them over the line against Derry. Can they back it up this year I wonder?.

  69. Margie – give over. You’d swear it was London and Waterford they were playing.

    Armagh are no pushovers (Mayo should know this year) and Derry are cantering into to Div1 after beating Dublin.

    That narrative is boring and people forget how close Kerry were ran last July. Galway were there on merit and are coming in under the radar this year. Just like 98’ and 01’.

  70. I hope the injury time Cillian is not as bad as I’ve heard…..

    Regarding Galway I agree in the main. They are a very dangerous side and will be hard beat.
    Their main weakness in the All Ireland last year was their goalkeeper.
    That hasn’t changed …..

  71. Couldn’t get over how poor Armagh was in that 2nd half playing in front of large home crowd. Galway did noting special just kept plugging away and rewarded in the end. Could well play Mayo in a Croke park league final now.

    The rossies didn’t learn much from the slow start against Mayo by allowing Kerry ease into a 1-3 to no score lead after 10 minutes. Would go on to outscore Kerry 0-12 to 0-9 thereafter. Kerry very cynical in last 8 mins and really lucky they didn’t give a penalty away with the final attack of the match. Derek Mahoney the ref in that match, you would think he’d be given extend break after the club All Ireland final fiasco.

  72. I agree Km although I think the gleeson stuff is a bit overblown – he’s no Stephen cluxton or David Clare but I think he’s in a position now where he can never win with some. I think he’s been decent more than not in this league

    Very susceptible under a high ball though but I’m not sure will it be really exploited. Ballooning high balls into the square isn’t exactly a great percentage play in the modern game

    I get the impression if Galway beat prime Dublin in the semi last year there would still be excuses by some 😀 that’s what makes rivalries so great though, the sheer irrationality you see from either set of the more extreme supporters

    They have surprised me in a way how they’ve bounced back this year. Comer did the full warm up yesterday too and I understand Molloy is very likely to play a part later in chship. These lads are bursting themselves to get back and it’s probably the first year they’ve had full commitment across their player base – there’s a feel good factor back in the county and they look to be riding the wave. They also have a great advantage in that they can fade into anonymity within their county when going about their everyday business, and don’t really have huge expectation across the full county. There was more rugby jerseys in Galway city than football ones yesterday and the hurlers will take a lot of heat off them in the summer too

    I still think Dublin will ultimately end up with the best starting 15 later in the year though if everyone stays fit

  73. Best of luck to Mayo today ,I am hopeful that we can get the win, but more so that we have no injuries and have a full squad available for the future, hopefully it will be a great game with no injuries to either team, and again thank you Willie Joe for the wonderful blog

  74. We’re a gammy bunch, in fairness.
    Fortnight ago it was a nearly nailed on Mayo v Roscommon league final and a championship opener a week later…..will it? wont it? do we want to win it? Do we f*@k. Why would we? Are ya mad in the head?

    This weekend; probably, possibly Galway and ourselves in it and Roscommon looking at the possibility of a relegation battle. Do we still want to win it……

  75. Naming the team before hand doesn’t mean much. There will be 4-5 changes. It’s some side that can afford to have Cillian and Tommy conroy in the bench. Tommy will probably start and needs game time.

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