We’ve just named our team (just the starting fifteen, no subs) for Sunday’s league opener against Kildare in Newbridge (throw-in 2pm). Here it is:
Mayo (NFL Division One v Kildare, 2/2014): Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Kevin Keane (Westport), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Lee Keegan (Westport), Shane McHale (Knockmore), Brendan Harrison (Aghamore); Tom Parsons (Charlestown Sarsfields), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy); Cathal Carolan (Crossmolina), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis), Adam Gallagher (Mayo Gaels); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Darren Coen (Hollymount/Carramore).
So as expected that’s a raft of changes – seven in all – from the team that started last September’s All-Ireland final. Missing from then are Tom Cunniffe, Chris Barrett, Donal Vaughan, Seamus O’Shea, Alan Dillon, Cillian O’Connor and Alan Freeman and they’re replaced by Kevin Keane, Shane McHale, Brendan Harrison, Tom Parsons, Cathal Carolan, Adam Gallagher and Darren Coen. Two of those coming in – Brendan Harrison and Adam Gallagher – will be making their league debuts on Sunday (and the best of luck to both of them in doing so), while Tom Parsons will be making his first competitive start for the county in close to three years so good luck to him too.
The FBD experimentation of playing Colm Boyle at corner-back and Kevin McLoughlin at corner-forward continues (personally, I think more of the latter bit of experimentation than the former – Boyler is the best seven on the planet at the minute so why shift him?), with Shane McHale rewarded for his fine FBD performances at centre-back by being given the jersey for this pivotal position in a fully competitive fixture.
It’s good to see Darren Coen – a player who really needs to push on this year – back at corner-forward and good too to see Keith Higgins named at eleven. Start as you mean to go on and all that.