Teams named for Sunday

We named our team for Sunday a short while ago. Here it is:

Mayo (NFL Division One v Westmeath, 9/3/2014): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); Brendan Harrison (Aghamore), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Kevin Keane (Westport); Lee Keegan (Westport, captain), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Enda Varley (Garrymore), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Mikie Sweeney (Kiltane).

So it’s four changes from the side that lined out against Kerry last Sunday. Into the side come Kevin Keane, Donal Vaughan (first start of the year), Enda Varley (first competitive start since the Connacht semi-final against Roscommon last year) and Mikie Sweeney (first start since our 2009 NFL clash with Galway) in place of Shane McHale (first time he hasn’t started all year), Andy Moran, Adam Gallagher and Michael Conroy.

Westmeath have also named their starting fifteen for Sunday, which is as follows:

Westmeath (NFL Division One v Mayo, 9/3/2014): Stephen Gallagher (St Lomans); Steven Gilmore (St Lomans),  Kieran Gavin (Mullingar Shamrocks), Kevin Maguire (Caulry); James Dolan (Garrycastle), John Gilligan (Ballymore), Jamie Gonoud (Tyrrellspass); David Duffy (Shandonagh), Paul Sharry  (St Lomans, captain); John Heslin (St Lomans), Ger Egan (Tyrrellspass), Kieran Martin (Maryland); Callum Mc Cormack (Maryland), Des Dolan (Garrycastle), Denis Glennon (Tyrrellspass).

From what I can make out, there are just two changes from the side whipped by Derry last Sunday, with Jamie Gonoud and Denis Glennon coming in for John Egan and Ray Connellan.

44 thoughts on “Teams named for Sunday

  1. good team. Higgins needs more time in de forwards. Plenty of cover at de back but his pace is needed in forwards. Horan looking at bigger picture.

  2. First choice championship positions are starting to get nailed down now. Hennelly is No 1, Caff is No 3. The entire half back line is as last year. Aido is No 8, Kevin Mc No 10 and Freeman No 14.
    Nos 2, 4, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 15 are still up for grabs with several candidates currently available and Chris, Cillian, Dillon and the Mitchels lads still to come back. Things are shaping up nicely.

    Keep the Faith!

  3. I see that Lee Keegan is captain for this game, in Andy Moran’s absence, congrats and well done to him! Best of luck to Mikie Sweeney, it’ll be very interesting to see how he gets on. It’s nice to see the best half-back line in the country back in action again with Donal Vaughan coming into the team.

  4. Good to see af at 14 again this week this is a game Mayo should win by all accounts

    Mayo 4 14
    Westmeath 1 11

    Freeman get 2 goals and Sweeney/doc one each!
    Whatever about marking the Mayo forwards I would hate be marking Keegan or Vaughan, up and down the field all day

  5. Hope higgins isn’t starting in forwards. That experiment has been tried snd just doesnt work. He is the best corner back in the country and proves that every single time he plays there. I trust Horan knows that and is just trying to keep Higgins on the field while he tries out new defenders

    I also agree with David, would not want to be in the westmeath half forward line on sunday!

    Mayo to win by 9

  6. I don’t think there will be much in it either. Westmeath are no bad team at home. There’s a hint of experimentation in the mayo team that can be a bit dangerous… I still expect mayo to win but not by a large margin. It’s all on the day….

  7. Really looking forward to seen this team play on Sunday.Again ill go back to fast attacking ball into those lads in the forwards.I think sweeny will hold his own in FF reckon there is a few goals to be had in this game.

  8. I let out a bit if a groan when i saw some of the selections here but, its the league, plus the U21’s are in action this coming week so Horan can be forgiven, having a smaller crop to pick from.

    Having said that, glad ti see Freezer and Doc in there, but a Mayo B team should bate Westmeath fairly handy. Motivation for a big win should be high before we meet the top teams in the country in the subsequent weeks.

  9. Congratulations to Lee Keegan on captaining the Team on Sunday next. It is well deserved, he has been consistently one of Mayo’s best player over the last number of years. The important word is consistently. Keith Higgins is one of the best if not the best corner back in the country.Not alone that,he creates havoc to the opposition when he comes into the line going forward. He is better facing the opposition’s goal than with his back to it. Why they continue experimenting with him in the forwards is anybody’s guess.We still need a centre half-back. Hopefully Jason Doherty can nail down that troublesome centre half forward spot. I was very impressed with him against Kerry the last day and it wasn’t just the way he took his scores. His workrate was very very good. People are thinking that not alone will Mayo win against Westmeath, but that they will win by double digits i hope they do. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

  10. There’s no guarantee that just because he’s named at 12 that he will play at 12, such as in the last game. In fact, I’d be rather hoping he is marking their danger man Denis Glennon. Who knows, maybe we’re going to play this sweeper system some of the contributors here have been proposing, against the weakest team in the division! Either way, the time to fully judge a team is after the match and not before. Maybe after 10 minutes of the match!

  11. in fairness to james .its a good defence .happy to see gibbons get another run out .Higgins is a defender full stop. add in u21s and panel looking stronger than last year .win by 3 or 4 points and I will be happy

  12. I’m happy to see the Keith Higgins experiment continue – for a player of his class its all about gaining experience of the position and learning to optimise his positioning for breaking ball and lines of attack. One of these days it will click for him and it will be devastating for the opposition! Delighted to see Freeman back in at 14. However, I’m not so sure about some of the other names in the attack – while they are certainly entitled to be given a chance at this point in the league (and may do well against relatively poor opposition) I’m not convinced they (who shall remain nameless) are the answers to our prayers. Some have had more than their fair share of chances down through the years and have simply not delivered when its come to the big games in Croke Park. However hope springs eternal and all that! Looking forward to tomorrows game which we should win by a considerable margin as well as to seeing the squad return to full strength later this month.

  13. Congrats to Lee on being made Captain.I think he is underestimated as a player and yet he always puts in a solid performance and when the chips are down he always raises his head like in final .Definitely one of the best half backs in the game at the moment.

  14. Strong enough team named.
    Good to see Sweeney given his chance, hope he takes it now. There is definitely at least one corner forward slot up for grabs.

    Expecting a 6-7 point win for Mayo. It’s be nice to see wins for Dublin, Cork and Tyrone also. That should all but ensure survival for us, while also leaving us hot on the tails of Kildare and Derry for a top 4 finish.

    Bit of news for any London based Erris folk. Belmullet are over for the weekend, playing St Kiernan’s in Colindale at 2.30 today.

  15. Higgins should be at corner back. His runs from there are a brilliant attacking tactic as the corner toward does not follow him.

  16. Can I just repeat this post here as it will probably be missed where it was, thanks.

    I just saw Jack O’Connor on Seo Spoirt suggest AOS at FF flanked by Alan Freeman and COC. He reckoned if it was developed now in the league and in training it would be a very powerful FF line; that that was Mayo’s weakness before so they had to use the corners which was very easy to defend. Food for thought!!
    He also mentioned Keegan at centre field and they couldn’t understand why Freeman was taken off in the Final.

  17. Id say Keane wont start. Higgins to move back to the number 4 position. Andy to come on in place of Keane and play wing forward.

  18. Yes, but Keane and Harrison need games.

    Supporters suggesting Higgins is wasted in the forwards are missing the point. He won’t play as a forward, rather a ball winning midfielder, someone who’ll offer protection for the half-back line when Aidan O’Shea breaks forward. He’s there to get on breaks and offer supporting runs.

    This is Horan’s system – a lot of his tactics are based on runs coming from deep. We play one roving playmaker or quarterback, (currently Moran), one half-forward floating across the 40 (Gallagher last wknd) and two men inside. McLoughlin, Doherty, Gibbons and O’Shea work the midfield. You won’t see them playing with their back to the posts.

  19. It’ll be very interesting to see if Keith Higgins will start the game at number 12. Maybe it might be like the Kerry game with Keith moving to no. 4, Doc moving to no. 12 and I wonder is there a chance that we could see Cillian O’Connor starting at no. 11. It looked like last season James Horan wanted to play him at CHF (as he did against Galway) but then he got injured. In relation to Westmeath, they actually have three very handy forwards upfront Dessie Dolan, Denis Glennon and John Heslin. But under Paul Bealin, they have been withdrawing their half-forwards to deeper positions. Almost playing damage limitation football, which has not pleased their fans. You’d wonder with them being in the last chance saloon, will they play a more attacking game against us. Listening to an interview with Paul Sharry, their mid-fielder for Sunday, he said that early in the season, they have been working on the defensive side of their game, then they’ll be working on the attacking side, later in the season. I think this is a game that we should be in no way complacent about, getting the two points is the most important thing, anything after that is a bonus. Remember Westmeath were ahead of Dublin mid-way through the second-half in their game against them in Mullinger and Dublin were forced to bring on some subs to kick a few points to get them over the line.

  20. A good balanced selection for Westmeath game.
    If supporters need food/refreshments there is a good place near the pitch. It is called “The Druids Chair.” I have been there a few times and I highly recommend it. By the way it is owned by a family and the lady is a Mayo woman from Kilawalla/Westport.
    The pitch is only about 250 mtrs from there. “Up the West”.

  21. I think i might pop in there after game.thanks for heads up.You don’t know the name of street its on?

  22. Just in relation to the debate regarding the majority of people (it seems) wanting Keith Higgins being positioned back at corner back. I would disagree and think that the experiment of him being played in the half forward line should be continued with. I agree that he is the best corner back in the Country, but overall I feel we will be a stronger unit going forward with him in the half forward line based on the following reasons

    1. Watch the first half again of last year’s AIF again. KH caused havoc for Dublin especially in the first 25 minutes of the game. His pace was vital in terms of winning the breaks around the middle and making penetrating runs true the middle of the Dublin defence. When Keith was moved back to corner back in the second half, we stopped winning the 50/50 balls and our half forward line went missing, which resulted in a depleted platform to launch attacks and gave the momentum to McCarthy and Macraffey to bomb forward. IMO this is the single biggest reason why we ultimately failed to bring Sam home.

    2. Looking back on the Donegal and Tyrone game KH was very effective at number 12. In particular he was one of the main architects in the demolition of Donegal in the first half.

    3. In my opinion, we have excellent options to replace Keith at CB , with Chris Barret and Tom Cunnife. I think in particular, Tom Cunnife is potentially one of the best corner backs in the Country if he remains injury free. Throw in the emergence of Harrison and I think our options at corner back are very healthy for the next few years.

    4. Modern attach play is fundamentally based on pace, especially in the vast open expanses of Croker. Our half forward line without Keith lacks IMO that killer pace. The black card rule will mean that pace in the forward line will become even more important than it has been previously, as it will be easier to break through the line without being dragged to the floor.

    5. Keith is a very intelligent player, and with game time in the half forward line he will improve. I feel it’s a bit harsh, for people to say that the experiment should be binned based on his performance in two league games in February. It’s very hard to draw definite conclusions in February as fitness levels and training, tactics etc are not as well developed as they would be say late March or early April.

  23. Looking forward to seeing how this one plays out. Delighted to see Mikie getting a start – hope he gives it a good shot.

    I’d also like to think that Higgins will play deep as opposed to in the HF line – by playing him up there this year, we’d essentially be wasting one of his greatest assets – those runs from deep – so hopefully common sense will prevail and we’ll see a repeat of last week. I’d hope though that this ” sweeper system” won’t cost us in terms of support up front.

    Agree this will be a bit tighter than anticipated but we should still take the win by 5 or 6.

  24. The way i see the Higgins debate is .He is an intelligent pacey player as been stated all ready by others.So how do ya utilize his talents? So my opinion is the half back line attacking up the field with the ball nice and direct and laying off good ball to the forwards.Either way needs to be mobile.

  25. We should never rob Peter to pay Paul – our backs unit was the best in the country last year – why would we break that up. We have actually developed better cover there now too and when TC and Chris come back in to the reckoning, we will be the envy of the country again in that sector.

    And remember, last year until Cluxton avoided midfield with his kick outs, we had the best midfield in the country too. Sure they aren’t the most mobile midfield pair but they’re surrounded by fast players. With Jason Gibbons now a top contender and Barry Moran coming back in shortly (+Tom Parsons), we’re the envy of the country there too.

    You’re right, we need to sort our forwards unit and tomorrow, we will learn more about that. Alan to further take control of 14. Kevin Mac well on the way to his 2012 form. Interesting to see Doc at 11?

    Let’s assume Cillian will fill the 15 shirt and JH is going to play his captain at 13 or 11, Feeney for me at 12, it’s getting a family look to it. But how much better than last year? The next 3 games will tell us a lot in that regard.

    I just love if Mikey Sweeney really does what he can do, and gives JH a major selection headache !

  26. He’s in his mid 30s now still a top club forward however i don’t think he has the legs for county football anymore. John Heslin is the main Westmeath footballer to watch superb footballer.

  27. It’s on Pearse St, one of the main streets and about as near to Cusack Park as possible. If you are coming from Galway on the motorway and leaving it at Tyrrellspass turn left at the first roundabout c.13 miles from motorway exit, then right at the next roundabout onto the old Tullamore road. Parking is probably best taking the first right after the railway bridge. Short walk then to main street. Go right on main street past Market Square [with Joe Dolan’s statue] and Canton Caseys pub..Greville Arms is on right and Druid’s Chair on left past the Castle St junction [signposted Longford Sligo]. All within half a mile or so from the car park. I can also recommend it

  28. Cheers Andy D sound man
    ill be bussing it up and getting off on Castle st.Ill find it now from there

  29. we really need to try and find a few natural forwards .Not backs turned into forwards. andy could be very exposed if he comes up against fast attacking cb as pace is just not there, prob better use his cuteness and experience, even off the bench come championship. hopefully Gallagher , regan ,cone Harrison and Sweeney will step up to the mark. heading for Mullingar in the morning .Narrow win with few new lads putting in good performances will do nicely

  30. same here Roger, >3Km for me, ah well, will settle for the lads on MWR and me dad!

  31. I think Keith Higgins is being geared for the 1/2 fw line. With the ultimate intention that we will be playing a sweeper system down the line with Higgins and Mcloughlin both getting up and down between the different 45 metre lines.

    Both have the pace and the athletic ability to assume this role and its likely that come championship top teams will need these types of guys especially now with the black card rule in place. Also you need them for some of the bigger name teams (specifically Dublin) who have the massive pace around the middle third and like to move the ball really quickly with counter attacks and overlapping runners to get in behind you.

    Just after watching them now make Kildare look very average. Has to be said Kildare were architects of own downfall with suicide passes and bad decision making. Maybe they look good in Newbridge but when in a bigger pitch (Croke Park) they are shown up.

    Anyway that’s what I think of Higgins. I assume he will be tried in 1/2 fw line tomorrow. Otherwise this whole naming of the team is just a charade for the opposition. Maybe it is. Tomorrow will tell more.

  32. Haven’t read all the comments and just logged on and seen the team for tomorrow can only agree with the congrats to Leroy on captaining the team …………..but…………why can’t we give Gibbons,Higgins, O,Shea, Boyler,Caff and Kevin Mc a rest…………they have been going for weeks now and looking at the pace the Dubs etc. play the game at,I think we will need them well rested and ready for what’s to come.
    Great to see Donie back………could slot him in anywhere and has the pace and ability to do it all.
    Great also to see Freezer,The Doc,KK and Sweeney start but would have liked to see Drake get more game time as well as he seems to have the heart and imagination that’s needed to give us that extra drive and options.
    This will probably be our last chance to get those different options and ease those on the fringe into the affray.
    If we have to play Keith H, then his position has to be in his strongest and that is in defence………..he can see and make his best plays from there and doesn’t have to wait for the play to come to him.
    We should win this pulling up and if we don’t then we have a lot of thinking to do, so I will have to go with a 10pts+ win.

  33. In Mullingar tonight and the friendly locals don’t give there lads any chance.
    I think we should certainly win but tomorrow, I’d like to see us upping the performance and the finishing to the next level so that a win over Cork will be more achievable.

  34. I don’t get all these calls to give certain players a rest. Mayo have only been back training for about 2 months and were lacking in fitness in our early games. If some lads need a rest , then rest them from training , not on match day. No training session can match a competitive game to get things moving in the right direction , with new lads coming in.

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