Three changes in team to face Derry

We’ve just named our starting fifteen to face Derry in Round 7 of the League at MacHale Park on Sunday. Here’s the team we’ve named:

Mayo (NFL Division One v Derry, 6/4/2014): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Kevin Keane (Westport); Lee Keegan (Westport), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Tom Parsons (Charlestown Sarsfields), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy); Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen, captain), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber).

So, it’s three changes from the side that started against the Dubs last Saturday night, with Kevin Keane in for Brendan Harrison at corner-back while a new midfield pairing of Tom Parsons and Seamus O’Shea replace Aidan O’Shea and Jason Gibbons. Keith Higgins swaps wings, Andy Moran moves out to the forty (where he played for the most part at Croke Park), Jason Doherty shifts to wing-forward and Kevin McLoughlin gets another run at corner-forward, from where he did such damage against Dublin.

The team named for Sunday contains seven survivors from the side that last played Derry in a competitive match, which was our League meeting back in March 2010 during the last year of the ill-fated Johnno II era. These are Donal Vaughan (corner-back in that game), Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins (also corner-back), Kevin McLoughlin (who appeared at wing-back), Tom Parsons, Andy Moran and Seamus O’Shea (centre-forward in that match). Players from the current panel who also featured in that game include David Clarke, Enda Varley, Aidan O’Shea, Alan Dillon and Chris Barrett.

59 thoughts on “Three changes in team to face Derry

  1. Two midfielders back from injury. I’d say there will be replacements in for both. I suppose it’s good that AOS and James Gibbons are getting a rest, wish them both well.
    Persisting with Keith in the forwards, and now in Kevin Mc’s slot ?
    Sweeney to impact again and hope to see Feeney too!

  2. ah yea thats ok, i’m sure we’ll see mikey sweeney, possibly adam gallagher, enda varley and maybe even Richie, any word on barry m ??

  3. Sorry, I may not have worded that well. I wish SOS and Tom Parsons well, but with hardly any game time under their belts, they won’t last the full game.

  4. I hope midfield holds out. I like to see Sweeney starting. But James & co knows a lot more about mindset of his players

  5. It’s amazing how 1 week changes the the mindset of a lot a bloggers. Last Sunday a lot of people were calling for James head. Now there seemes to be only 2 teams left in Ireland to win the championship.What has happened to Kerry, Cork, Tyrone. And watch Donegal stun many people. Please lads and girls keep the feet on the ground And understand we as Mayo people are very lucky to be in a eara where we think only Dublin stands in our way to a all Ireland win.

  6. def worth giving him a run, has had some good times, some great times and some poor times so we’ll see, has ability and can score too. i like jh’s thinking, the bigger the panel the more options we’ll have going into the summer maigheo abú

  7. In fairness to the lad, it’d be nice to see Kevin Keane have a good game to help him get his confidence back. I suppose with so few changes to the team, James Horan is letting the players get the Dublin game out of their system. It’ll be interesting to see how Tom Parsons and Seamus O’Shea will get on, you’d love to see Seamie get back to his best form, he played really well for us last year. It’s a big chance for Tom Parsons too. It’d be nice to see Doc and Freeman get back in the scoring groove as well. Hopefully the game will be put to bed well before the end and that we’ll get to see Adam Gallagher, Richie Feeney, Mikey Sweeney, Barry Moran and maybe Darren Coen or Brian Gallagher before the end of the game.

  8. fingers crossed for Keane. Im very interested to see how dominant Seamie and Parsons will be . If we can close the game out as early as possible ill be happy.

  9. Rather Barrett myself mate, but then again I’m not sure how fit he is

    Looking more and more like Harrison will be given the jersey in NYC anyway, unless something changes in a semi/ final if we get there

    Keith is in the half forward line for the year most likely, and I agree with this unlike many

    Anyhow, hopefully KK has a good showing to build up some confidence. I don’t think we’ll be seeing much of him for the rest of the year but hopefully for himself he puts in a good shift

  10. Interested to see how MF goes, Parsons has ability, and I think that he will go well. Will be interesting to see how he pairs with SOS who definitely needs game time. Will Barry come into the equation, would like to see him get time on Sunday.

    I would actually give Keegan a rest, one of the heart beats of the team, would like to see how we get on without him. Also like to know who covers FBI if required, think we are missing an opportunity to trial players here.

    A few of the forwards need to step up and lay down a marker for future games, I see Sweeney as an impact sub initially, big step up from club but he has real potential, just needs to grow into the position.

    Looking forward to the game, and seeing a few of the fringe players get a chance when game opens up. I also want to see us maintain structure and control in the game, not like the last 3 games. We need another game in Croker so important that we win, and develop the strength in the squad, and would be great to bring a winning feeling into the summer, Sunday is game 1 of 3 to develop that momentum.

  11. Good to see Aido and Gibbons rested, the lads have a lot of football under their belt and needed a break. We’ve tremendous options at midfield, the most depth in the country by a long way

    Barry’s Castlebar run probably counted against him in a way strangely, I’d imagine his role will be that of an impact sub for the year. A great man to call on from the bench.

    I’ll be very interested to see how Seamie and Parsons play. The former was our most under-rated performer in 2013 imho (not by Mayo people but from the media/rest of country)

  12. Yeah I suppose at the end of the day it’s a game we really have to win so you can understand why James has named such a strong team. If he named a weakened team and they struggled early on, it might turn into a battle then, which we don’t really want. We are in a much better position than Kerry, Dublin or Tyrone anyway for the last game before the semi-finals.

  13. Have to say I am disappointed with that team. We may have to win the game but there is also a semi-final coming up the following week. Derry are resting over half their first team. We (at home at least) should have the panel to do similarly. But only 3 changes come in.

    Can’t understand why more big names are not rested e.g. why could C. Barrett if he is fit not start? So should R. Feeney, B Moran, Walsh, Harrison, McHale, Coen and Drake.

    I think the idea of a target man in the FF line is good but Alan Freeman had a poor game the last night. According to reports he was ill however it also showed that we need an alternative if he is unavailable. But when are these guys going to get an opportunity if changes are never made?

  14. Yeah you’d wonder how close Chris Barret is to getting back? I thought he might be in contention for us this week-end. Hopefully he’ll be back soon as he played really well for us last year.

  15. I would have expected Barry Moran to make a start this week either at midfield or full forward. However with Alan Freeman not having had a good day last wee perhaps the right thing to do was put him back in. And both Seamie O’Shea and Tom Parsons need a start. Too many changes would be of no use in assessing players as it reduces the match to a meaningless challenge.
    On the refereeing issue which came in for discussion on the last thread I checked the Official Guide. It is when a player is stationary or on the ground that he may hold the ball for as long as it takes to take four steps. If Mr McEneaney has any other interpretation he is continuing in his old tradition of making up his own rules as he went along. In his refereeing days he was a media/journalist darling for “letting the game flow”. Letting the game flow plays into the hands of the cynical and calculating dirty player who has judged or been coached in what he can get away with.
    Regards the issue of too many steps being taken perhaps the linesman or Standby Referee could take over the monitoring of steps as the referee has enough on his plate.
    On the other hand the linesman/standby ref has little enough to do, especially when the ball is in the vicinity of the goal where most contentious issues arise [leading up to the scoring of a goal]. With modern communications between ref and linesman this should not present any difficulty.

  16. Hopefully see Chris Barrett at some stage on Sunday – think he’s the only injured player who can make an impact on the starting 15 for the summer. Looks like the rain will clear early and it will be a nice day in McHale for the last game – all we need now is the result

  17. We know all that, it’s letting those feckers off the hook – that’s what got us. But we’re lucky to have this match coming so soon and coupled with the bonus of winning, that could make up for a lot !

  18. Great to see Seamie O’Shea back in the middle of the pitch. Absolutely essential to Mayo having a good Summer. Although to be fair we have a pretty decent stock of centre fielders at the moment.

    I still reckon his brother will end up on the forty. Did serious damage as a minor in that position. Carrys the ball well and is capable of distributing if he’s told to stop taking on the other team on his own.

    Last thing any opposition team will want to see is that bear barrelling down the centre of their defence.

  19. A settled enough looking team.

    It’d be nice to see Keane have a good game, the lads confidence seems shot at the moment.

    Good idea to rest A O’Shea and Gibbons for an almost certain semi final next weekend.
    I’d expect to see the bench emptied from early in the 2nd half, assuming we are well ahead (which we should be in all fairness).
    We need to keep key players like Keegan, Higgins and O’Connor fresh for next week.

    Having a look at the different permutations, I wouldn’t be overly surprised to see us top the table.
    A win for us by 9+ points, along with wins for Kerry and Dublin will see us top and into a semi with probably Cork.

    All supposition I know, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t beat that weakened Derry team by at least 9 points.
    The only thing that could count against us is if we start emptying the bench early and disrupt our momentum too much.

  20. JPM, as you say this is game we have to win so we need a very strong team named. Anything else would be a very risky strategy regardless of what kind of team that Derry field. We know very little about this Derry team so we need to impose our own game on them from the start and drive on for a convincing win if at all possible. Also looking for a positive reaction from the team after last Saturdays disappointing finish and all the furore that surrounded it….

  21. Yeah Ciaran, you’d wonder has James Horan decided that his midfield will be made up of one mobile player and one player with a bit more bulk to be primarily a ball winner and a sort of a holding midfielder. Maybe Tom Parsons will be playing the same role as Jason Gibbons, adding some mobility to the midfield area and given a license to get forward. Then Seamie will play a similar role to his brother, giving us power and strength in that area. So therefore the balance of the team is pretty much the same even if we have two new players in that sector. I’d love to see Barry Moran given some game time at full-forward as we need to have another option in that position in case we lose Alan Freeman at any stage during the season. He played really well against Dr. Crokes in that position and caused havoc at times in their full-back line.

  22. with respect to you both, this is a game we DON’T have to win.

    We have a championship game in four weeks time. We have to travel a few thousand miles there and back. We need to be focused on that match, irrespective of who or what the opposition is.

    What we don’t need is a league final the week before. Extra time? Draw? Either winning or losing creates problems, with a plane to catch a couple of days later.

    We are in the perfect position now as far as I can see and we should have done as Derry have. Field our second XV and see how some of them shape up.

  23. Glad Seami and Tom get a run, the competition around the middle is getting fierce to say the least. I hope Keane has a positive performance as he has the ability , he just needs a bit of confidence. If we improve the ball going into Freeman ( I expect Andy and Tom to be well able to provide the right ball) we will be in business. Derry will be sticky even if this is a shadow team so we will have to battle if we want to get on top.
    My one worry is Robbie who could really have done with a day off to gather himself. He is a top keeper but his confidence is really shook at this stage and I think Brendan Walsh deserves his shot at the keeper slot!

  24. i hear what your saying Catcol . However a win would be great for the confidence.

  25. its good to see Kean in alright Horan seems to have time for him even if most people think hes not likely to for the game ..this is a banana skin for us ,we must show a strong hand after last week and win well controlling the match from the throw in Derry may have a second string in action but this is an ambitious team with thoughts of a long summer and will be out to impress.

  26. You’d wonder why the New York game had to be scheduled for the May bank-holiday week-end, there is no real need to play the game then. Surely there should have been at least a two week break after the league final, just in case. What if Mayo do reach the league final and the game ends in a draw. I wonder when is the replay date in the calendar for that situation? Well as they say it’s one game at a time so I suppose we should be treating this game against Derry like a league quarter-final. Win this and we are in the semis. The other main objective should be to give the fringe players some game time. To have those 6-8 players just as sharp, fit and reliable as the starting 15 players.

  27. I think we should give Kevin ” confidence” a break, the guy is more than capable of doing his job. One dropped ball in a final and he won’t be allowed to forget it, what about all the bad shots etc by other lads?
    Time to let him do his job and just enjoy it.
    Best of luck to all Mayo players tommorow,

    Mayo 3 15
    Derry 2 12

  28. No at this stage Mayo need to win something and a league title would set them up well. I don’t see how playing an All-Ireland challenger in a league semi-final or final could be bad preparation for a game against New York…the days of those kind of shocks are well and truly gone with this Mayo team.

  29. Seamus had a more attacking role than Aidan last year, with the latter sitting deep covering his forty a lot of the time. Horan trusts Seamus to get forward and he can do this effectively. With Higgins at midfield the option is there for both centre-fielders to get forward along with Vaughan and Keegan.

    Andy Moran played very deep in midfield against Dublin last time. I think this quarter-back role suits him but he needs to get on the ball more – supply the bullets to Freeman inside. Would love to see Barry Moran get some time at full-forward but remember Horan went with McLoughlin up front at the start of the league. It took a while for Freeman to oust him from 14. JH doesn’t care much for big target-men, that may work against Barry unfortunately.

  30. Pk
    Its no really kosher to name players that you don’t like the cut of. They’ll hear enough people on the street telling them they’re useless even if they win without it being broadcast on a fan site.

  31. @ PK , I don’t want to sound like you are not entitled to your opinion but could you please be more specific in future as to why you don’t think a player is not good enough or good enough for the panel i.e. what attributes (e.g. speed, strength , ball control , vision) do you think Connor O’ Shea lacks? Also re: Keith Higgins could you please say why the suggestion in your view is poor (e.g. why is Keith a better defender than forward) rather than insult the person who has tried this experiment.
    I like this blog because Willie Joe insists that people expand on their opinion ( no matter what that is) so throw off remarks which look like personal insults (whether they are meant or not) don’t flare up into huge arguments. This allows people to voice a difference of opinion which leads to good wide debates without heavy handed moderation which have ruined so many sites!!

  32. Thanks, Crete Boom – there’s a job in the Comment Moderation Department if you want it!

    PK – As Crete has already pointed out and as I stated clearly earlier in the week, if you want to criticise any player, it has to be based on specifics and not just empty conjecture. So, I’m afraid this means a yellow card for you and that offending comment deleted.

  33. Very good point r.e. assistant refs but it would be even easier for everyone if players were limited to 3 steps. Let them hop the ball as often as they like, let them pick it from the ground, get rid of these ‘technical fouls’ but give defenders more opportunities to tackle cleanly – they deserve them.

  34. Yeah Seamus is well able to take his points too, he scored a lovely one in last year’s All-Ireland final straight after Dublin’s first goal. In relation to Keith Higgins I’d be one of those that think he should be playing at corner-back but I did think against Dublin when he was playing a deeper role he was able to get into the game much better. At the end of the first-half he was playing just behind the midfield and in front of the half-back line. When he got the ball then he was moving forward which really suits his style of play. He scored his point this way. When he gets the ball further up the field he just seems to hesitate and turn around and look for someone to pass the ball to. When Keith plays the deeper role, it also allows Kevin McLoughlin to use this space between the half-forward and full-forward line. The way we played just before half-time against the Dubs should be our template, although in saying that Dublin were down to 14 players at that stage so we need to take that into account as well. Keith Higgins moving onto the ball rather than with his back to the opposition’s goal is a much better prospect.

  35. Jeez Willie Joe I thought you liked me!!!!! I think we might need some whistle blower legislation for this site!!!
    If you really need a moderator I nominate John Cuffe as those Erris men love to pick a fight and dish out a few heavy blows at the drop of a hat!!!!!

  36. I think 45 you could get just as positive a reaction also from fellas who are pushing for a place on the team. Competition for places is just as important and no one should be guaranteed.

    Now I agree we need to get over last weekend and probably some of these players are pi**ed off at how we blew it in the end. But a change is also as good as a rest and from watching fellas last weekend I thought several were below par and clearly need a break. Specifically:
    Keegan (had 2 great chances to score and missed both – very unusual):
    Freeman, (word is he was ill but again we need an alternative if he’s not available. Barry Moran showed against Eoin Brosnan that he can handle any inter county player at full forward)
    Higgins (I thought he was physically wrecked at end of game and needs a break)
    Cafferkey (had to come off injured – he may have recovered but why risk him? We could have Cunniffe and Barrett who are the two All Ireland corner backs minding the house alongside Shane McHale or Kevin Keane in the centre)

  37. Yeah, factor in Aidan O’Shea who covers as a half-back much of the time and you have 5 half-backs who are very strong runners, who can break quickly and create overlaps – very similar to Donegal’s system.

    Has Higgins every really played as a forward? I don’t think so. He’s either at midfield, half-back or sweeper. Is he needed as a corner-back? Again, I don’t think so but that’s just me.

    I think we’ll see Andy Moran playing in that quarter-back role that McLoughlin had last year with the latter supporting Freeman around the 40.

  38. You’d think if we can get Chris Barret back fully fit, that will be a really big boost for our defence. Getting the best out of Keith Higgins for the year ahead will be key. Allowing him to cover when Keegan, Boyle or Vaughan makes forward runs will be essential as well. Defining exactly what his role will be is very important. With the option of Mickey Sweeney coming into the game as well to utilise this space up front adds to our prospects in the future.

  39. Have they not deskilled the game enough taking out the goalkeeper kickout, one man tackling etc without taking out the pickup and the solo as well?

  40. Mayo to win tomorrow and hopefully James has explained to the full back line there is no ‘Offside Rule’ in GAA!

  41. Goalkeepers have a tee now instead of having to kick it off the ground, which is a major skill. And more than 1 man is allowed to tackle the player in possession now, meaning there is very little clean tackling – it is mainly physical pressure from several players that forces players to lose possession rather than the ball being knocked out of their grasp.

  42. I never said they were useless so don’t misquote me. Don’t get me wrong they are fine club players but the championship cut is a different story

  43. I do not think that getting rid of the current pickup would do anything to speed up the game. Certainly there are lots of “loose scrums” in the ladies game where you have two or more players scrabbling for the ball on the ground. Changing from four to three steps would give defenders more opportunity to tackle but monitoring the steps would not be any easier.

  44. I wasnt using your exact words because the comment was still on here when I answered it

  45. Another defeat in Connacht Minor League against Leitrim this afternoon, 1 = 12 to 2 = 7.
    This is three defeats and one win, against Roscommon to date. Had they taken points rather than searching for goals when a few points, or behind in the second half they might have won [or perhaps not got the goal they did] They also had a couple of efforts off the post and crossbar. Leitrim now lead the table by a point pending Galway’s game v Sligo tonight and the league winners will probably depend on next weeks Galway Leitrim game.
    Team: Scott Kilker [Belmullet];
    Jason Foran, [Kiltimagh], Conor Coleman [Laherdane] Conor Dravins [Breaffy]
    Gary McHale [Balla], Stephen Brennan [Claremorris], Sean Conlon [Castlebar];
    Keith Hopkins [Crossmolina] Matthew Ruane [Breaffy;
    Cathal Hennelly [Davitts] Oisin Horan [Kilmovee] Cian Hanley [Ballaghaderreen]
    Gerry Canavan [Mayo Gaels] Conor Byrne [Moy Davitts] Brian Reape [Moy Davitts].
    Subs used: Sharoize Akram [Ballaghaderreen], Fergus McCormack [claremorris] Colin Gill [Claremorris] Jonathon Burke [Swinford] Maidhc Burke [Touurmakeady].

  46. No problem with mayo team, good to see keane get another run out. Its all about building a strong panel for the championship. DERRY have made 14 changes to their team so would expect mayo to win while emptying the bench …..

  47. I remember kk as aminor they brought bj keane off so kk has to be very good give him game time

  48. Im told we are going with a formation of
    on Sunday, with the instruction that the sweeper and the holding midfielder put through balls into space in order for to allow our attacking half backs to run on to the aforementioned through balls. They then recycle to the onlooking forwards and hope to God we dont suffer from turnovers. That of course renders Garryowens out of date because there will be no hole (sorry space) owing to our backs filling it. Hope it works boys and may the force be with you.

  49. I have to say that I am a little disappointed with the line up that there is not a little more freshness to the starting 15. But, management knows best and so we will have to trust them. I would have liked to see A. Gallagher, and or Sweeney to start, but obviously the restructured half forward line with McLoughlin floating between the 2 attacking lines, is still a work in progress.
    Kevin Keane has been going very well in training and there is no doubt that the no.4 shirt is up for grabs between Barrett, Harrison, Mchale and Keane. I think A. O’Shea and Gibbons have thus far sealed the no.8 & 9 geasais and it is now up to Seamus and Tom to put it up to them and ensure they are kept on their toes. The only things that matter tomorrow are the 2 points and a clean sheet. If we can keep clean sheets this season we will score enough to win the lot.
    Mayo by 6, Hon Mayo.

  50. Hope Springs, I think the logic of the New York game being on May Public Holiday weekend is to give players a chance to get back home without losing a day at work. This has been a May Holiday fixture for years. If the League final has to be replayed [is extra time automatic as in so many games nowadays?] it can easily be played after the New York game. The New York game could easily be played along with the London game on the June Public Holiday weekend but that probably would not suit a lot of people for reasons which we need not go into, if you get my drift.

  51. think the half forwards need to start tracking back n stop leaving the full back line so expossed, pretty sure they weren’t trying to play offside!

  52. I hear ya JPM and if our place in the Semis were guaranteed I’d be looking for a lot more fella to get a start myself – however our place in the top 4 is not yet secured so I fell Horan is doing the right thing taking a cautious approach to this game.

  53. If the pack can hold their own and we win most of the sideline balls we have a great chance!

  54. Yeah AndyD I think I am catching your drift alright! It’s amazing actually, the Connacht Championship consisting of 6 games in total takes 10 weeks to complete. While today will be our tenth week of action in the league, with the Derry game being our seventh one. Also if you add in the inter-pro games for Connacht that makes 9 games in 10 weeks. Kevin McLoughlin and Robbie Hennelly have played in all of these games. Aidan O’Shea and Jason Gibbons would also have been involved in all of these games, before today, so maybe that’s another reason why they have been rested today.

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