Both ourselves and Tyrone have named our starting line-ups for this coming Sunday’s NFL Division 1 clash at Healy Park, Tyrone (throw-in 2.30 pm). With Trevor Mortimer out for a month following the straight red he got last Sunday, Johnno has opted for minimal change by drafting in at left half-forward Aghamore’s Alan Freeman, who came on as a sub for Seamus O’Shea against Galway, in an otherwise unchanged team. For the record, here is that team:
Mayo (NFL Div 1 v Tyrone): David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Peadar Gardiner (Crossmolina), Trevor Howley (Knockmore), Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore); Tom Parsons (Charlestown Sarsfields), Ronan McGarrity (Ballina Stephenites); Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy), Alan Freeman (Aghamore); Enda Varley (Garrymore), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Mark Ronaldson (Shrule-Glencorrib).
I dunno what the story is with any appeal against Trevor’s red card but whatever the crack is, he’s obviously suspended for Sunday. If there’s no appeal, the only other game he’ll miss will be the FBD final against Galway on Sunday week, a match which – if Johnno has any sense – should see wholesale changes compared to the one that was put out for the league match against the Herrin Chokers. I’d say the odds now heavily favour Trevor quietly doing his bird in relation to this rap.
The resultant vacancy in the team has been filled by Aghamore’s Alan Freeman, who had, of course, the unusual distinction the last day of being the one and only sub we brought on. When did an Aghamore man last play for the county in a league or championship match, I wonder? We can’t have had too many representatives from that neck of the woods since Jimmy Burke’s heyday. And, of course, with Enda Varley deservedly retaining his place, we have lads from both Garrymore and Aghamore on the same starting fifteen for the county for the first time since, I’d reckon, sometime back in the Seventies or early Eighties.
Mickey Harte, meanwhile, has made four personnel changes and a whole load of positional switches to the Tyrone the team that went down fairly decisively against Derry last weekend. Pascal McConnell returns between the sticks for the Red Hand, with Sean O’Neill, Davy Harte and Ryan McMenamin – all of whom came on as subs against Derry – also coming into their team for Sunday. Tyrone will line out as follows:
Tyrone (NFL Div 1 v Mayo): Pascal McConnell; Sean O’Neill, Justin McMahon, Dermot Carlin; David Harte, Conor Gormley, Ryan McMenamin; Aidan Cassidy, Kevin Hughes; Enda McGinley, Brian McGuigan, Joe McMahon; Kyle Coney, Martin Penrose, Tommy McGuigan.
That’s an extremely experienced Tyrone team, one which – notwithstanding the absence of Sean Cavanagh, Stephen O’Neill, Brian Dooher and Eoin Mulligan – is close enough to their first-choice pick. I see that our old pal from the 2008 minor final, Kyle Coney, is named at corner-forward: it’ll be interesting to see how tightly Keith marks him. From what I remember of the Ardboe man from those two minor final matches, it’ll need to be tight enough.