Team to play Kildare named

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.

86 thoughts on “Team to play Kildare named

  1. Coen is an enigma. Really strong but he is inclined to drift out of games. He also is very wild when shooting. I think that with good coaching he will become seriously good. Gallagher also looks very good. I wonder how he will compete with top notch defenders? Parsons was quite good against Roscommon but he seemed to lack the stamina to compete in the second half. Mayo need to continue with the physical football that they are now known for. Physique is still very important. Only the really great footballers can cope with physicality and high intensity – Gooch, Canavan,.

  2. Agree with you about Colm Boyle but it is no harm to give Harrison a chance to prove himself knowing that.he has good cover inside him
    I would prefer to.try Caff at CHB and McHale at FB
    McHale is a more agressive player more suited to mixing it with Brogan type players. I also feel that Freeman should be given a permanent position at.FF
    What is the position re Evan Regan is he on the panel.He is a prolific scorer at the mooment

  3. To be honest, I can’t understand people that are against some experimenting, such as Boyler in the corner. Not so long ago, Keith was the best corner back on the planet, and an awful, awful lot of people were sceptical about trying him at number 6 or in the forwards. Now people are saying he HAS to start there! Give it time, you’d never know when we need cover and where we need it. It could work, it might not, but well worth a try.

    Can’t wait for Sunday!

  4. It’s a good strong team I think, I don’t think he’s trying boyler in corner back but rather having security having him there while we blood players, really excited in seeing Adam Gallagher get more gametime, Coen too, can’t have enough games to find out about these lads, overall it’s a team that could get a result below in Newbridge, despite not having much collective training done!

  5. Fair play to Horan as he has rewarded the lads that have shown good form in the FBD. I am however a little surprised that he has gone with Harrison and Gallagher on the same wing, both definitely deserve their start but, I thought maybe switching Carolan and Gallagher in the half forward line would rebalance the side in terms of experience. A little disappointed also that Freeman and B. Gallagher didn’t start but, like above, I am being very picky.
    Keane, McHale, Carolan and Coen need good solid performances to strengthen their case for involvement whereas Gallagher and Harrison should just go out, play their football and enjoy it. Good to see Parsons back and hopefully he does well, he may be the mobile option in midfield that we need and Higgins at no.11 is a good move. He came on against the Rossies in that position and he did OK. He will scrap for breaking ball and can use his pace and balance to evade the congestion in that area, once he is free no-one will catch him and he can be an incisive option running straight down the scoring zone.
    All in all a good positive selection with new faces and new positional switches and the management are obviously looking to try a few new things. They may or may not work on Sunday but if you don’t try you never know. Roll on Sunday.
    Hon Mayo.

  6. Coen can from the left and McLoughlin from the right. McLoughlin would certainly want to improve though.

  7. Surprised Alan Freeman is left out of the starting 15. Apparently Kildare are missing a few of their championship starting forwards so maybe a low scoring game that I think Mayo should win however will need to score a goal or two Moran,Coen the most likely to score them.

  8. Very excited by that team or maybe just excited for the match!!! Can’t wait to see Keith in the forwards again. Best of luck to Tom Parsons a more mobile option. I remember he scored a belter of a goal in Newbridge in 2008. Here’s to something similar on Sunday.

  9. Keith Higgins up in the forwards that brillent his fast I hope he stay there and leaves cillian in corner.

  10. I Think you could see Boyle and McHale swap at some stage. Good to see Parsons back. As far as i know Evan Regan is concentrating on Sigerson and U21 at the moment, hopefully he will be in before the end of the league as he seems to be in great form. looking through the results archive he played against Kildare in the league last year and scored 3 points. The match is being shown live on TG4, coverage starts at 1.30.

  11. I also see that Lee Keegan and Cillian O’Connor have been announced as vice-captains (wasn’t it Keith Higgins and David Clarke who filled those roles before). Andy Moran to continue as captain for the year.

  12. Out of the Sigerson cup now and U21 game isn’t until Match 12th and no back door in that championship.

  13. I would be slightly concerned about no Alan Freeman. Surely after last year’s decision he needs to be given serious game time just to see exactly how good or otherwise he is. He wasn’t given a real chance so his possible potential needs to be explored and fully discovered at this early stage.

  14. I recall Adam Gallagher was very good on frees as a minor and I think he is carrying on as U21.

  15. Oh yes, if anyone is interested and don’t know, Dublin v Kerry is on Setanta, Saturday evening.

  16. It would be very tempting to regard the half back line as fixed and unchangeable after their performances last year. But even if they maintain that form there is no telling when injuries intervene and we need tried and tested subs available. For that reason I agree with the selection.
    By the way, has Michael Walsh who was on the panel last year joined London? I heard a report of a Michael Walsh from Mayo being new on the London panel, Is it the same Michael Walsh?
    And is James Burke still on the panel?

  17. Hi All,
    Just a quick message to wish Mayo the best of luck in the League, it should be a good few weeks and I look forward to all the craic and banter, cheers.

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  18. Thanks Joe Mc…I will be there as the Walsh Cup Hurling is on before it at 5 so it will be good craic but I will have the Sky Box ready to go too so I can watch the football again probably half jarred at 1 in the morning, cheers.

  19. So is he going to play for Mayo again or what? Hardly not playing to concentrate on U21s. Bizarre.

  20. Agree with Joe Mc and Mayo Magic on Alan Freeman. Hope he is in the subs. This guy is a confidence player who will not prosper in a cameo role. For my money he got better by the game last year.

  21. I won’t hide my disappointment and confusion over Evan regans exclusion.

    In the match report from ITSligos game yesterday in the examiner , it said “‘Evan Regan who left the Mayo panel last year” this has added to my confusion as it has been said by a lot of people , he was cut from the panel.

    My opinion is never to hero worship individuals r management, they are privileged to represent Mayo and it is their responsibility to do their best . Managements responsibility it is to get the best players in the county to play and maximise their potential .

    Evan Regan deserves to be part of that panel at least and every effort should be made to make sure he is .

    I’m tired of listening to all the different complicated theories about our failings when it’s really not that complicated at is a simple game and Gaelic football is even more simple , you have to have men who have the skill level up front to win you games.

    How many times are we going to be told about what Bernard brogan Michael Murphy, Colm macfadden, gooch cooper, padraig Joyce, Peter Canavan et el have in common.
    Are we stupid like?

    We have Andy who if regains the sharpness of 2011 would be a guy up front you could rely on. Cillian is also a class forward but again he is in recovery mode and when comes back we don’t know what his level of fitness will be like .My point is, surely it’s logical to try Evan Regan what is there to lose ?

  22. Martin the who will on sat hope Dublin is James McCarthy playing is a great wing back better the mccaffery,

  23. Yeah Sean, you’d really hope that he is called back into the panel soon. According to the report in the Indo today, he scored 10 points for IT Sligo V UUJ in the sigerson cup game yesterday. This included 5 frees, 1 ’45 and 4 from play. He was also being marked by Monaghan All Star defender Colin Walshe. It really is fingers, toes etc. crossed that he is back soon playing for the Mayo senior team…..

  24. Its actually a very hard Division 1 group to predict, what the outcome will be. Mayo, Kerry, Dublin and Derry all have players involved in the latter stages of the club championships. Early in the campaign, they will be playing mostly a mix of experienced and youthful players. Whichever one can cope best with mostly their second choice players will prosper. Also most teams seem to have a lot of players out injured at the moment. Kildare and Tyrone would look to be the form teams coming into the campaign, based on their preseason tournament form. They look to be the fittest and sharpest teams at the moment too. Although they have a lot of first choice players out injured at the moment as well. Cork and Westmeath are actually the two teams who will be playing closest to their first choice players, as they have the fewest injuries and no players involved in the club championships. Remember last year at the start of the campaign, Tyrone and Kildare were the teams, most people thought would be relegated, as they were the newly promoted teams then, so you just never know what will happen. Its all to play for really and should be one of the most competitive campaigns in recent years. Roll on the games….

  25. Also three of the eight teams, have new managers in place Cork, Kildare and Westmeath, so it will be very interesting to see how the new manages cope with Division 1 football, its James Horans fourth campaign, so hopefully he can use his experience to good effect…

  26. No offence taken Cait, James wont be playing I think as he is still recovering from an Op but looking at the Bookies its Dubs as hot favs and we all know that’s never the case v Kerry even in the League, should be a good game.


  27. agree with Sean we really need to fastrack Evan Regan into the panel he is the form player at the moment and he is only going to get better as the year goes on, hes young and hes already putting 45s over the bar with a heavy ball,considering we need to find as least 2 forwards to help what we already have scoring forwards are hard to find and unless we find them we will come up short again, this is probably Horans last year why waste time we have the best defence & midfield in the country
    if we can get Coen, Carolan,Kirby,Regan,Feeney, helping out Andy, Cillian & Freeman even as impact subs make no mistake about it we will go all the way & by
    the way Keith Higgins is an absolute legend we are so lucky to have players like him & Keegan ,boyler, Donie Vaughan the Osheas

    stay on your line Hennelly…..

  28. that’s a fair looking team to put out against any other in the division. kildare and the others will have a few novices/ inexperienced lads out too so it will balance out. Higgins up front is going to be worth watching, his speed alone is a nightmare for anyone unlucky to have to mark him out the field. Even with all the missing players I give this 15 the nod to win on sunday.
    And for them to get a couple of goals too!!

    crystal ball

    Mayo 2 13
    kildare 1 12

  29. I see Michael Moyles on twitter last night said of Evan ( of all his years involved in Sigerson as player and manager ) the best performance he ever saw.

  30. Evan has plans to go traveling you really can’t stand in a lads way, only young once and hes still young enough and good enough to be Mayo senior in the years ahead.

  31. I now make that 4-29 in just over five games, that he has scored. Thats some scoring, an average of 8.2 points per game….

  32. Joe… you not recall the hawkers selling ices ices free spoon with every tub all the corporate guys have gotten rid of them….even though im sure you would still get them outside Tuam stadium…

  33. The Alan Freeman situation is very strange. He has to be our full forward this year and has to be played in at 14 as much as possible but it does not start on Saturday. I don’t know what he has done wrong but he was very impressive last summer I thought. What is going on there ???? Very strange indeed

  34. Not really worried about players getting a rest. It’s a long year, hopefully. We need to trust that absences are justified, not personal.

  35. Not a great team IMO. I hope I’m wrong but I can see Kildare taking us on Sunday. Our fitness levels aren’t great and the Ros FBD game showed that. 2 weeks isn’t long enough to get a team fit and we seem to be relying on some young fellas whom I’ve no doubt have alot of quality, skill & perseverance but little or no experience. I’m a bit shocked at the omissions of Doherty, Gibbons & most of all Freeman. Who knows there could be changes before throw in….

  36. Jasus Joe, we’re a fierce sceptical bunch, there has to be a problem when a lad is not playing in the first meaningful game of the year.We have two regular starting forwards out on Sunday ie Kevin and Andy and not in the usual positions , so we must have patience and allow James to try new players in the forwards, ( a major gripe with most of us last September )as this is the time to do it . Maybe he knows what Alan can do, but doesn’t know what other lads can in a competitive match. God spares me I ll be there Sunday , and all I’m looking for is attitude . Time passes quickly at my age but September still seems a long way off .

  37. It’s hard to know what’s the situation. I feel sorry for Freeman. The only thing that might explain it is that:
    > Andy Moran needs the game time to recover fully,
    >Kevin mc Loughlin needs to regain his confidence or mojo or whatever,
    >Coen, Carolan and Gallagher need to play in serious competitive games to see what they have to offer
    >and Keith Higgins needs time to get used to his new position.
    I doubt if it had anything to do with September and I certainly hope not. I would expect to see Alan at some stage on Sunday.

  38. I agree Patriot about the changes before throw in. We’ve seen it before. I suppose there’s no need to get over concerned at this stage……it’s only January. And it’s a long way to the championship. I’m sure everyone will get a fair chance to prove themselves and sure if we lose a few games in the league it’s not the end of the world as long as we get the best 15 on the field when it really counts.

  39. Heavy rain forecast for Saturday. Dry on Sunday but the pitch will be heavy. Looked to be cutting up easily last week for the Meath match. Some of the lads will not last the full 70. So expect to see a number of subs before the finish. Defence looks strong. Keane on Fogarty will be interesting in the corner. Parsons could be an option in the half forwards. Also Gibbons. McLoughlin might play farther out the field leaving Moran and Coen inside. There are goals in those two. Anyway great to be back in action again and proud to follow the Green and Red.

  40. I don’t know what Evan’s plans are but I would question why any young Mayo footballer who has a chance of getting into the panel would choose to go travelling in a year when we have an excellent chance of the All Ireland. I have seen a few posters suggesting we will be in the running for Sam for years to come on the basis of the young players coming through.
    I’m afraid I’m around long enough to realise the truth of Shakespeare’s words “There’s a tide in the affairs of men etc”. Few teams to my knowledge has recovered from losing two Finals in a row and none have recovered from losing the following year. If Mayo lose this year major reconstruction will be needed under a new manager and the monkey on our back will be even heavier. If we do not win this year I will be very, very surprised if we win it in the next 10 – 12 years, i.e, Evan’s playing probable playing career. If we do win the prospects of further success will be very good but if Evan is trusting on this he would be a very foolish young man.

  41. Cork will be trying out at least as many new players as Mayo, Dublin, Kerry or anybody as nearly half of their 2012 have retired. There is also a tendency for new managers to do very well in their first year.

  42. My guess [and its only a guess] is that Alan has a knock because I do not see Andy Moran, while probably a certainty in the team, as a full forward.

  43. Yeah AndyD, Jim Gavin had a great season last year as a first time manager. Also Joe Kernan (Armagh) and John O’Mahony (Galway) won the All-Ireland in their first year. It will be interesting to see how the new managers get on alright. In relation to Cork, most of the players that retired, probably should have gone a couple of years ago. They were great servants of Cork football and retired with All-Ireland medals in their back pockets. Ciaran Sheehan, who has gone to Australia, will be a big loss though. On paper, they have one of the strongest teams, on show this week-end…..

  44. You might have to close 1 eye watching it though, otherwise you might think you have one of those new split screen TV’s 🙂 By the way, great value in Croker, €10 for the 2 matches!

  45. “MiLnerals, sweets and chocolates, MiLnerals, sweets and chocolates”, the other cry was “I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ice cream!” Jesus, that takes me back a while!

  46. Bang on there diehard. I agree with all of the above. Too many people looking for a story that probably isn’t there. As regards Regan, I think he explained his position very clearly during the week.

  47. I agree about the pitch and conditions. We have no info on subs but they will be needed to freshen things up especially in last quarter. no harm so to have a couple of serious names to bring on. Could also be the opposite then the following week with the subs on Sunday playing and some of this team on the bench. With all the injuries and Castlebar guys missing JH has to maintain some sort of balance.

  48. I thought Willie Joe stepped in here a few weeks ago to put an end to the shite talk about Regan? Didn’t Horan not talk about the amount of hot air and stories that came out after the AI last September?
    People seem obsessed by off the pitch matters. Lets just get out heads down and support the team and less of the BS from the ditch eh?

  49. I did, Alf, and thanks for the prompt as I was just about to do so again. There’s been a serious amount of loose talk by a number of people about Evan over the last few days – where personal details about, for example, where he stands with his college course and the possibility that he might be considering emigrating have been trotted out and dissected – and as far as I’m concerned it needs to stop now. We all know Evan’s a great prospect and has put a very good January under his belt so let’s all wait and see how things develop this year and stop rushing to conclusions about him and what might happen with him as regards the senior team.

  50. That’s a decent looking Mayo side considering the absentees. I’m guessing McLoughlin will play on the forty with Moran and Coen inside? If you’re going to start Andy Moran at full-forward I think you need to isolate him and create lots of one-on-ones, or give him a big target man to play off?

    Midfield looks decent, I’m a big fan of Carolan and Higgins at 11 can be a phenomonon. Think it’s crazy that Aiden O’Shea has to play as a ball-winning midfielder – give him the free role that Michael Murphy plays, where can push up onto the edge of the square.

  51. Nephin, If you call me ‘Jasus’ you will have to pray to me and give me money and you won’t want to meet me for a long time.!! 🙂

  52. No denying it would be great to see Evan Regan being featured, but for now best to get behind the lads for Sunday.

    I don’t think there’s a need for handwringing as regards Alan Freeman – I’d be surprised if he didn’t feature on Sunday at some point, but as many have said this is the time for us to be trying new people and new formations. This team needs to be bigger than any one person and what is important now is that the players we will most likely be relying on to add much-needed strength and depth to our panel in the months to come get as much game-time as possible.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing how Coen and Gallagher in particular perform in what is likely to be a very competitive game.

    Also hope to see a few of you in the Liffey Arms beforehand for a 7up or two 🙂

  53. This comment was meant to go at the end, not here! I will never learn how to work the internet.

    Joe Mc – sshhh! 😉 It’d be sweet, but even sweeter if it happened in the summer

  54. You bet c’ha life on it ya flamin galah!
    Serious though, some awful shite spouted by lads here who have no idea of his personal situation.

  55. Whatever about the does and don’t’s or the wrights and wrongs of some of the comments above, isn’t it great to see so many passionate supporters so eager to add their pound of flesh to team selection. Just wondering has other County’s got Blogs like this and if so how successful are they ?

  56. Kildare by six plus. Mayo are a unique team, possibly overachieved . Strength on the flanks at corner and wing backs. Soft centre though. The excellent work of Cian O Neill and Buckly added steel and tackling ability. Need to get a third heft this year. Tactically from London game 2011 to last years final I saw nothing that impressed me. Could be looking at nil points from first two league games. Manager has prioritised league this year. Interesting times ahead.

  57. Hopefully mayo will win they beat us last year so we own the m one sure did Dublin not beat or hammer them so hoping mayo will win mayo need it more then kildare

  58. Interesting point about tactics John. What would you have done differently from a tactical point of view?

  59. Now now Alf Stewart, any more of that inflammatory language and you could be spending time in the sin bin 🙂

  60. IMO Aidan is a marvellous midfielder but I think he lacks the accuracy of Murphy to be effective further forward.I don’t buy into the’midfield is being bypassed’ camp.We should use Aidan as our primary source of possession-plenty of runners to cover the ‘bypassing’ tactic

  61. Hi Ann-Marie,
    Spoke to a lad today who attended the match in Newbridge last Sunday. He entered the ground 45 mins before throw in , but still couldn’t get into the stand, so I’d say the stop off in the Liffey Arms will need to be short. The ground capacity is low, so even with season tickets admittance isn’t guaranteed . I wouldn’t like to see anyone after traveling from Mayo having to watch it in a pub.

  62. Good man Joe,
    Life is full of problems, not much good at the praying, have no money, but I’d be glad to meet you around the end of September .

  63. You don’t reach back to back All Ireland finals without been tactically good. I think some supporters forget where Mayo were before Horan arrived and some are blaming him too much for narrow final defeats.

  64. Thanks Anne-Marie and thanks Joe Mc, to be honest I think it will be all very close this year, its great to have it back.

  65. Yes John – at times they were tactically dire and worse of all they didn’t change or adjust. Any team can, will, and often needs, to make mistakes but if they don’t learn from them they are going backwards.

  66. Fair comment mayomagic but the last All Ireland was chaotic at times. If their tactics had been right, they would have won, no question about it. Mayo were probably the best team in the Country last year but, for various reasons , they cocked it up.

  67. Yeah, its just so frustrating, disappointing really that both John Maughan and James Horan had Mayo teams trained to be All-Ireland winners. They were fit enough, strong enough and tough enough. But at the end of the day, tactical awareness was just the final missing ingredient, to take the team over the winning line. Jame Horan at least, still has the chance to take us to the promised land, if he can learn from past mistakes…

  68. In fairness if Mayo are to reach the AI final again and no player scores a point from play for near 45 mins then another AI will be lost.

    Horan made some mistakes all managers do but its also up to the players themselves to step it up in AI final.

  69. Right on the money there, tactics have let us down on the big day especially last year. We always assume it’s the players that can freeze on the big day, but we never consider the pressure Managers must be under as well – more so because it’s their team selection, playing to their instructions that will stand or fall. Hopefully this year Horan will have learned his lesson and involve more his Management team….

  70. Joe
    I’m not sure we were the best team in the country last year. If we had everyone fully fit then I,d be inclined to agree. But Dublin did beat us three times in 2013.

  71. diehard

    I know the Dubs beat us but by half time we had the winning of it and then we lost it ourselves. Look at all the goals we have leaked so often. That just demands new tactics, i.e. extra cover at the back. So that’s why I feel we were the best team but made too many mistakes giving the game to the other team; so they were not really better than us but very thankful.
    If you saw the body language of the Dublin team and supporters late it the game, they were really pissing themselves, no consolation to us!!!

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