The starting team for Sunday has just been announced and without further ado here it is:
Mayo (NFL Division One v Kerry, 2/3/2014): Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Brendan Harrison (Aghamore), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Kevin Keane (Westport); Lee Keegan (Westport), Shane McHale (Knockmore), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Adam Gallagher (Mayo Gaels), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Michael Conroy (Davitts).
So it’s three changes in personnel from Omagh, with Brendan Harrison, Alan Freeman (first competitive start for him since the All-Ireland final) and Mickey Conroy (first since last year’s league semi-final) coming in while David Drake, Cathal Carolan and Diarmuid O’Connor drop out. Also it’s good to see that all three players who picked up knocks against Tyrone – Ger Cafferkey, Lee Keegan and Colm Boyle – are all named to start.
Along with the three changes in the starting line-up, there’s a raft of positional switches for Sunday. Kevin Keane switches over from 2 to 4, Brendan Harrison drops back to 2, thus freeing up Boyler to resume his natural position as the best no.7 this side of Pluto. There’s plenty of rejigging in the forwards too, with Kevin McLoughlin moving out to his more natural no.10 slot, Andy shifting out from 14 to 11 (which, in truth, was where he spent most of the time in Omagh), Keith moving across to 12 (which makes sense – Keith is far better on the wing than in the middle) and Adam Gallagher pushed up to 13 (also a sensible move given his eye for the posts, though I’d say he might operate from deeper, leaving the two lads inside).
Overall, I have to say that I like the look of that line-up. Kinda sad now that I won’t be in Castlebar myself on Sunday but at least I’ll get to see the match on the box.
No word as yet, by the way, on the Kerry team but I guess we might hear word on that at some point during the day.