Two changes for Saturday night

We’ve just named our team to play Dublin in our League Division One clash under the lights at Croke Park on Saturday night (throw-in 7pm). Here it is:

Mayo (NFL Division One v Dublin 29/3/2014): Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Brendan Harrison (Aghamore); Lee Keegan (Westport), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen, captain), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber).

As you can see, it’s two changes from the Cork game, with Tom Cunniffe coming in for Shane McHale at corner-back (and Brendan Harrison moving from 2 to 4 in the process) while fit-again captain Andy Moran replaces Mikie Sweeney at corner-forward. The team we’ve named for this one includes twelve of the lads who lined out for us in last year’s All-Ireland final against Dublin, with Chris Barrett, Seamus O’Shea and Alan Dillon being replaced on Saturday night by Brendan Harrison, Jason Gibbons and Jason Doherty respectively.

While both Shane and Mikie are a tad unfortunate not to be named to start on Saturday, I can see the logic in both switches. Tom Cunniffe was really flying for Mitchels in the All-Ireland club final and his pace will be a real asset in this match while Andy Moran’s guile and experience is unlikely to go amiss at HQ either. And, of course, it’s a 21-man game at this stage so, for a high tempo clash such as this, the six lads who are likely to feature from the bench are as important as the fifteen named to start.

88 thoughts on “Two changes for Saturday night

  1. Really looking forward to seeing how Alan Freeman will get on against Dublin. I think he definitely has the ability to hit the net this week (and any week!). The game will be a big test for Brendan Harrison. I hope he shows up well. Aido and Jason at MF glad to see that continuing….luckily Horan resisted Liam McHales call for Aido at FF something I don’t think would be very wise myself.

  2. Good team . I am delighted for Harrison and Gibbons as they have earned their starting spots. Feel sorry for Mikey Sweeney but I would say he will get at least 15 mins in this one because Horan will want to see what is he like coming off the bench. He got two starts so far anyway and has showed he is up to it so far if a little behind in conditioning but that will come. I would expect Andy or Cillian to be on the forty with Doc moving inside and Keith out to the wing for long stretches during the game which should keep the Dubs backs guessing.Great chance for Jason and Brendan to really throw the cat amongst the pidgeons with two ggod performances in Croker aginst the league and All Ireland champions!!! The two Gallaghers will probably see some action as well which will hopefully ratchet up the competition up front a bit more!

  3. I can’t see Andy Moran playing the corner for this one. He just doesn’t have the pace or acceleration needed to beat his man and get around him. I think he will drift back out to the 40′ and play as an extra half forward leaving the 2 lads inside as a two man full forward line. I’m glad management has kept faith with Harrison, Gibbons and Docherty but McHale can feel a little hard done by I think. Sweeney could be an ideal sub to be introduced later in the second half when defences begin to tire and space opens up. He has a good ability to find space, can use the ball efficiently and is accurate close to goal. With the likes of McHale, Seamus O’Shea, A. Gallagher and Mikie Sweeney to come in we have a strong bench.
    Mayo by 2.
    Hon Mayo

  4. Good team. Would have liked to see Richie Feeney line out in 1/2 fw line. But maybe he’s in the subs. Will have to wait and see. The FB line will have their work cut out for them containing what will probably be McMenemon, Andrews and O’Gara. Gibbons deserves his shot against the big guns and our FF line looks good.

    Saturday night will be a major step up in pace and test. Whoever wins this one is probably guaranteed a semi-final spot while the loser will most likely exit the League with a dead rubber on the final day.

    So important to try and get the win here and make a statement of intent.

  5. Correction

    If Dublin and Kerry win this weekend.

    Then on final round of League
    Dublin lose away, Kerry win at home and we win at home then most likely the Kingdom will go through (on superior points difference) to clinch the semi-final spot from the 3 teams on 8 points.

    Another reason it’s important to win on Saturday night.

  6. Hi JR,
    Sorry, just to clarify, I meant on a permanent basis I dont think FF is for Aidan. No harm moving in and out for a period during games as situations dictates. He obviously started out there a few years back when first came onto senior scene but i still feel MF is his best position.

  7. Echo Crete Boom and Pebblesmeller’s comments – Good team and certainly hope Mikey Sweeney gets 20 mins in the second-half.
    And I really want to see Richie Feeney too – he left unfinished business on the pitch on Paddy’s Day.
    Can’t wait for this one!
    Good article in the Examiner today on the game with mention of the Leinster v Munster match on at a similar time on the southside.

  8. Thats a very strong team..but I’m disappointed to see Mikey Sweeney didnt get a spot. And I agree with Pebblesmeller that Andy is not likely to start in the corner. This wil be a big game for Doc who will be looking to grab that CHF position for the season. If he doesnt play well, we could see Andy play there, Mikey in the corner, with Doc warming the bench for the c’ship.

    I’m looking at three guys to make a big impact for us in this match. Ger at full back…Gibbons in midefield and Freezer at FF. Freezer in particulat will have a point to prove (like see, I told you so, kind of thing)
    If those three fellas beat their markers, then we should win this one.

  9. WJ pull me up on this one if needs be, but I can’t get my head around the clamor for Mikie Sweeney to start. I watched him against Westmeath and thought he did well without standing out from the crowd. However, I then watched him against Cork in the last game and thought to myself he’s not pacey/fast enough, strong enough, nor particularly accurate. He does show very well for the ball (as do Conroy, and Varley) but if/when he gets the ball the previous problems become obvious. I hope he comes on against the Dubs and scores a bucket load from play but I’d put my house on him not starting come summer, and would question whether he’ll make the panel for the championship.

  10. The two back lines look solid… any more than one goal conceded and I’ll be disappointed, no high ball shenanigans this time! At least now there will be no need to move Higgins if any of the backs are injured, McHale should have that base covered and if Kevin Keane is looking as sharp as Pebblesmeller says then he should be given a chance as well, he needs a big performance against a team like Dublin after the league semi-final last year. We might be virtually secure in the league but a big performance and a win is badly needed tomorrow, we have enough depth in the squad so that ‘peaking too early’ won’t be a problem.

  11. A very strong line up one has to say and more or less as expected, only surprise I would think, is the inclusion of Andy Moran, but I guess he’s recovered sufficiently from his recent injury to get the start. This is now becoming a very formidable looking outfit and will be a real test for the Dubs, and unless we really fuck up on the night, we should win this one by four or five points. I expect for this match a lot of eyes will be on the subs bench to see who’s in and who lost out, (hope Richie gets the nod) as unlike last year we look to have real talent there……

  12. It seems from this selection Horan has decided the time has come to beat Dublin in Dublin after last year’s bouts. It might also signal that he has decided to really make a push for the league. Surprised in ways I have to say. I would have left Sweeney in – he was making an impression. If it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out.
    I’d be very disappointed if that team didn’t win on Saturday, to be honest. Can’t see Dublin having 12 starters from the All Ireland playing.

  13. Listening to the Second Captains podcast. Karol Mannion was asked whether Mayo and Dublin are the two best teams in the country. He reckons that no, that Mayo aren’t at Dublin’s level “just yet” . “Mayo have slipped back a bit from last year, their performances this year have been questionable”. Now, I know I’m biased, but … what? 😀

  14. That’s fine, GBXI – I just deleted the bit (you’ll know which bit when you look at it) that I felt was unnecessary in making the point you’ve made.

  15. I think that’s right – I’d say they’ll have no more than 6 or 7 of their starting side from last September, though this doesn’t include others who featured off the bench in the All-Ireland final, including O’Gara, McManamon and Daly, a few from their All-Ireland winning team of 2011 (Fitzsimons and Nolan) not to mention Alan Brogan, who didn’t feature at all due to injury last year.

  16. They’ve been less questionable than our last two league campaigns, whereas Dublin’s performances have been more questionable…. strange logic alright.
    How many games of Mayo’s has he actually seen I wonder, more occupied following the rising Rossie tide I’d say.

  17. I wouldn’t be too hard on Karol as even though he played for the Rossies it’s Mayo blood that courses through his veins and he has attended all the dissapointments like us over the last 20 years with his dad. These have probably accentuated his negativity just like it has done to so many other Mayo fans!

  18. Delighted to see Cunniffe back. Needed to be a change in the FB line tbh

    Again I wouldn’t have AOS in (he’s actually now gone out to my 4th choice mid, with Gibbons playing so well) but Horan will always play him I feel

    Surprised Andy is brought back actually, Sweeney was surely worthy of another run

    I suppose Moran had a super AIF so maybe that swayed James?

    Looking forward to it. No doubt we’ll be up for this but if I just think we’ll fall short

  19. He was asked if they were the 2 best teams and he said no they are not at Dublins level? Thats not the question Karol!!

  20. They have such a huge pick that a few missing doesn’t make all that much difference.

    Mannion and Kilkenny are no losses in my view, I think McManaman and O’Gara are better than these two, while A. Brogan looks to be coming into some form.

    I’d imagine Connolly will play?

    Make no mistake Dublin are still (rightly imo) favourites but it’ll be extremely tight I reckon

  21. I don’t think the Vincents lads will be back for this one, Ciaran – I heard they were taking three weeks off after the All-Ireland.

  22. Anyone know the story for Juvenile Tickets on Sat Night. Website is saying €5 in Cusack Lower and Hogan Lower only. They got in Free to all parts of the ground for all other league games so seems a bit unfair that Croke Park are applying different rules to this game!

  23. GBXI – for someone who was watching Sweeney in those two games, you seem to have missed the goal he scored in Mullingar and more importantly, the goals he set-up in both games. That’s what sets him apart from Conroy and Varley, and imagine how well he would have blended in and progressed at this stage if he had got the opportunities the other two lads got.

  24. Ah I’m not having a go at him CB, I just thought it was an odd analysis – I’m really not sure how he can possibly say we have fallen back from last year’s level. It certainly makes me want to beat the Rossies even more, though 😉

    Between that and Oisin McConville singing the praises of “PJ Gibbons”, I’m a bit bamboozled 😀

  25. I don’t think Mikie has shown his true potential yet, but what has really stood out for me in his appearances to date is that he’s a damn smart player. He’s intelligent, he shows up and he looks up. I’m not hugely surprised that he’s not starting on Saturday but I’ll be disappointed if we don’t see him make an appearance at some stage.

  26. Have to say I’m disappointed. Mikie shows early for ball – meaning we have an option to get it in to the FF line quickly rather than our usual lateral handpassing as we slowly work it up the field. He lays ball off intelligently too – witness his early layoffs for Keegan (v Westmeath) and Freeman (v Cork) for clear goal chances. And with his speed, Croke Park is made for him to prosper.

    Andy Moran owes us nothing, but we know what he can do, and his form was not great before he got injured anyway. The League is for finding new options and testing them out properly. So, a missed opportunity in my opinion.

  27. Great stuff- from a Mayo perspective!

    While it’s the sensible thing to do you’d imagine from a Dublin p.o.v, I thought they might throw him straight in the mix, with a semi-final place on the line

  28. I wouldnt expect a rossie tosay anything else ,couldnt beat often enough andby enough

  29. Its a bit early to be looking to have us installed as anything other than a team building a head of steam for later in the year. So to my mind what Paddy Power or Karl Mannion makes of us at this stage is well down the wish list. I’m heading to Dublin hoping to see a solid performance from around 20 players and if we get that I think we will come away with something to smile about,not bad for the end of March. But thats all it is, lots of water to flow under yon bridgeyet.

  30. You’d think that this game is the ideal one to see if the Keith Higgins experiment will really work. Dublin will be missing all of their first choice half-back line that played in last year’s All-Ireland final (imagine if we were missing Keegan, Vaughan and Boyle). It’s the perfect opportunity for our half-forward line to put in a really big shift. Derry opened up gaping holes in the Dublin defence when they ran directly at the heart of their back-line. It’d be great to see Kevin Mc, Doc and Keith opening up the Dublin defence like that. Then we also have the option of mixing it up by playing some early quick high balls directly into Freeman and Cillian to add some variety to our play. It’ll be very interesting to see how Harrision, Gibbons, Doc and Andy will get on, as these are the players who have the most to play for, in terms of securing their positions for the summer or in Harrision’s case as a first choice back-up player. I’m glad to see Andy playing as he is a real leader on the field in the big games, he also lifts the performance levels a notch of those players around him by encouraging them at all times. It would be great to see Feeney, Barry Moran, Sweeney, McHale, and Adam Gallagher get some game time too.

  31. Oisin and Jason’s dad(PJ)are good friends, Anne-Marie.I’d say that’s where the faut pas was.I’d have a healthy respect for Oisin’s analysis when it comes to GAA matters.

  32. Liam McHale’s suggestion seems strange to me considering Liam’s career for Mayo when our management could not decide where best to play him. I think I recall him saying that he had a strong preference for midfield. In any case the switching had, in my opinion, a bad effect on his game.

  33. Agree with you Anne-Marie and DavyJ.

    In a nutshell, Mikey Sweeney has shown enough in to get more opportunities, and hopefully that will include at least 20 mins in Croker this weekend.

    And that said I’ve serious time for and would be the last one to write Andy out of any script, but his pace over the critical first 10 yards has slowed and where he is played is going to need to have that well considered.

  34. Don’t agree with you on most of your comment on Mikie Sweeney. He does not lack pace and seems on the basis of what we have seem so far is the best of the trio you named to spot and bring other players into the game. This is what makes goal chances. Nor is he behind them on his own score taking ability. My only concern is his physique, there are not many players of his height/strength playing county football at top level today.

  35. Yeah, I think Oisin is one of the better analysts myself generally to be fair even if he’s a tad boring to listen to :-p !

  36. Waste of time having Moran.He will be on the half toward line as ye suggested.He will be a link man.I think he will be a good man to place good ball into freeman and o Connor with Doc picking up the breaking ball.Jaysus in looking forward to getting to Croker for this one lads

  37. Don.t know why you assume that Harrison is playing for a place as a backup player as his performances to date suggest that he is well capable of holding his place against all comers. Of course Chris Barrett when he is back will have the advantage of experience of having played in an All Ireland final but other than that I think it’s a fairly level playing field between the two of them. I am putting Tom Cunniffe a step ahead of either of them but he will also need to be on his toes.

  38. Anyone know if Bernard Brogan is likely to start on Saturday? I heard he was back in training and was to undergo a fitness test this week? Really like the look of our starting 15 btw given the importance of this game!

  39. @Cloud9 Yeah I saw those incidents, he stuck the goal away well but one I think we’d all agree that he should be sticking away anyway.

    The chances he set up were good too and shows awareness (that a certain E Varley seriously lacks!) but the reason for my comment was that I distinctly remember him getting out in front of his man on 2 occasions v Cork to receive a good pass and he tried to take the defender on and just got eaten up – mainly due to a lack of pace but I would argue quality too. We have 2 other inside forwards (Moran and O’Connor) who seriously lack pace but they more than make up for it with their guile.

    Obviously I’m in the minority here and the North Mayo folk will have seen him play more than me, so I’ll gladly be proven wrong. However, from my admittedly limited viewings, he wouldn’t be up to CO’C, Andy, Varley, or Conroy’s standard. I’ve seen a certain Ballina forward play the same number of times and for me he has the talent to make the county team/panel.

  40. I don’t think he’s slow but he’s certainly not fast either – I think that’s what stood out for me against Cork. I don’t think he’s better than Varley or Conroy (who for me are both impact subs) because corner forwards need to be scoring and I can’t see Sweeney doing enough of that. Again I’m happy to see him given a chance in the league, I just can’t see what everyone on this blog is seeing!

    Also, I wouldn’t worry about his physique at corner forward – didn’t stop Mort being an All Star. It’s all about having the guile and skill to compensate for the lack of strength.

  41. In fairness, I thought Mannion came across as bit biased for that question – as someone above says he wouldn’t even answer the question asked. But there’s no real debate – they are the best 2 teams in the country right now. Proud to be able to say that about Mayo!

  42. The reason I put Harrison in that position is that this is his first year in the panel. It just shows that he is making great progress already as he is selected ahead of Shane McHale for this game even though he has spend a lot less time time in the panel. Chris Barret showed in the semi-final last year against Tyrone that he has great leadership qualities, to kick two points in that game just before half-time showed great mental strength. Harrison has being given the no. 4 shirt for this game and he is showing great potential so far, it’s up to him to take his chance, which he has being doing so far, if he puts in a big performance then who knows what the future will hold for him.

  43. I guess we don’t have the benefit of watching these guys in training and seeing the logic behind the selection process.. I am surprised about Mickey Sweeney but Andy hasn’t played for a few weeks and maybe James wants to see where he’s at, his turn of pace in Croke Park, etc., There’s no place to hide and it just might answer some questions not only for the starting 15 but also the replacements. A good performance for any player on Saturday night could mean a dead cert inclusion in the championship panel so I would be expecting guys to be bursting a gut to stay in the pecking order.. Mayo by 6

  44. Hope Richie gets a run after his disappointment last week. It would be a class thing for Horan to put him on early and might heal a few scars………

  45. Seamus O’Shea and Jason Gibbons started last year’s league semi-final against Dublin at mid-field with Aidan O’Shea at CHF. Mayo were well beaten at mid-field in the first-half of that game. Aidan was moved to mid-field at half-time and we did much better in the second-half. Also Barry Moran and Seamus O’Shea started some of the league games together last year and never dominated a game as Aidan can when he is on form. IMO he is our number one mid-fielder, when he plays at his best.

  46. Agree totally with your previous post, re Mikie Sweeney, but unsure about the last one. I’ve seen Brendan a few times this year and looked fine, but was taken for 3 points in 5 minutes by Hurley of Cork. Still glad he’s given another chance and hope he has a blinder. The speed of Dublin will test everyone and if they can live with that, they are ready for anything.We’ll all be a bit wiser this time Saturday .

  47. I am quite amazed at some of the contributions here. Trust me on this one. The game is about 2 league points only, nothing else. We need to find new forwards if we are to progress from last years level. JH is acutely aware of this. The forwards we had last September left the AI behind them IMO. They cannot undo that failing on any March day. They must stand up on some September day. I find it amusing that some people think Dublin might not field a strong side for this one, dream on………

  48. Yeah you’d really think by the end of this game we should know a lot more for the year ahead. It’s a really big game for the two Jasons, Doc and Gibbons, are they good enough for first team positions? Is Andy getting back to his best form? Is Harrison a realistic option for the big games in Croke Park? Should the Keith Higgins experiment continue? We should be a lot wiser after the game on Saturday evening.

  49. I agree Andy D. Neither Varley nor Conroy for instance, would have seen the pass that Sweeney played into Freeman. Also, neither would have been alert enough to play the quick free that led to one of the goals in Mullingar. I do see where he doesn’t have the physicality of O’Connor or Freemen but he has alertness, good acceleration over the first 10m to 15m and he sees the pass and gives it quick. Varley and Conroy, whilst both have their own attributes, play with their heads down and only look to give the pass when the are out of options.
    Sweeney needs more exposure to this level of football and when he gets up to speed later in the Summer, I believe he will be a real option for Horan.

  50. That’s correct justoutsideballagh. I am bringing the young lad and found out this evening I will have to get a €5 ticket for him. I was also told that he won’t be allocated a seat beside my season ticket seat! Messy. I hope there are a few free seats around that I can scuttle into once we get in.

  51. I agree. That was the point of my question. Think AOS is our top midfielder and Gibbons doing very well so far. While I have good time for SOS and Big Barry the fact is that Seamus has not played much this year while Barry spent lots of his game time at full forward with Castlebar

  52. Yep, I’d agree with you both re Oisin, I’d like to see/hear more of him on the air. It’s always fascinating to learn what players of his calibre think of the current state of play.

  53. In fairness James would be best off putting on who he feels will best get the job done, rather than trying to please supporters or show a sign of respect or what have you. I see what you’re saying alright but at the end of the day he’s there to pick the best 21 he feels

    Whether there are any “scars” at all from Sept as far as Richie is concerned is a mystery to most of us no doubt but I don’t think anyone wants to go down that road again

  54. Yeah I think when we have Aidan there with any one of the other three, we have a very strong mid-field. The other three seem to lift their game and play better with Aidan as their partner. It’s like players who play alongside Paul O’Connell, they play better in his presence. We are blessed anyway to have four players of such quality to pick from.

  55. I actually wouldn’t worry about him at all if he was to play (famous last words? :-D)

    It sounds bizarre enough i guess when you consider how much he scored but bar the 2-2 in the AIF he didn’t contribute much and Caff had the measure of him I feel. Of course 2-2 is a very significant score (one goal being a complete gift- sorry to bring it up- the other he was at the end of a good move) but I don’t think Brogan has come near the level he reached in 2010 in the past couple of seasons.

    Granted he stepped up in AI semi and final last year but it’s a big year for him now I feel, he’s getting no younger.

    I would go as far as saying he was anonymous in the Leinster matches last year and in 2012 he was very ineffective. I’m not writing him off by any stretch and he’s still a great player but I’d worry far more about Connolly and Flynn

  56. I’d be a little worried about Harrison going into this match, like Nephin said there, he had a tough opening ten minutes v Cork until a switch was made and only settled when centre field started to win some ball. Were Dublin to get a hold at mid field I have no doubt they will target him big time, it will be a big for the lad and lets hope he proves the doubters wrong. Other than that we look a very formidable team and as I said earlier unless we commit hara-kiri should win this one by four or five points…..

  57. Not saying that Ciaran. Feeney is good enough to be a starter and it would do him the world of good to have a win in Croke Park so soon after Paddys day meltdown. Management is about managing players too.

  58. If barry moran getting man of the match against donegal is not dominating then your right they never dominated hope springs.

  59. Good team. Looking forward to it. Hopefully get two points. I think like last years final calls will be vital. No point making changes in last ten minutes if things are going wrong in certain places all game. Anyway hopefully we get something out of Saturday

  60. I don’t think it a surprise that Andy Moran is included. As I recall [and I may be wrong] but Andy has been named Captain for the current year. If James did not expect him to be a regular starter he would hardly have been chosen as Captain.
    Considering how he recovered from his injury last year and his performance in the Final this is not surprising. Again he may take a little while to get up to full speed this year but I would be very surprised if he is not one of our leading players and go to men come the seasons end

  61. In the Cork game he was effectively playing full back while on Hurley. He has never been selected at full back for Mayo. I have often this year commented on the tendency to designate Ger Cafferkey to follow whoever seems to be the opposition’s chief threat in the full forward line and leave whoever to play full back. It hasn’t worked since day 1 [v Kildare] and will not work. Colm O’Neill who Cafferkey was following in the early stages against Cork is no mean footballer but Harrison kept tabs on him for the rest of the game.

  62. GBXI – you seem to be willing to climb down a bit on Sweeney, but still rate Conroy and Varley ahead of him, both having ten times the chance to do what he clearly does better.

    You also seem to have an issue with North Mayo players. I have no issues with where our Mayo players play their club football I’m Mayo – I just what the best players that I see in front of me to get their chance with The county, as someone who wants the best possible Mayo team to bring Sam back to Mayo after the most unfortunate absence in GAA history.
    Be a Mayo supporter, take off the blinkers, and appreciate that if there are better players in any part of Mayo, we want them to get their chance and FairPlay!

    And you’re right about Regan, as one for the future. Last year he and JH mutually agreed that he was very young and wasn’t ready for the step-up and he travelled for the summer. This year, he continued to build with the U-21s, and be in no doubt, he will be a future star for Mayo, as will Cillian’s voung brother, as well as young O’Shea , just to mention a few.

  63. I doubt if James is placing any more emphasis on this game than any other to date. There are two league points at stake, no more or no less. what happens saturday evening will have absolutely no influence on what happens next Sept if we are both there. These two league points are important regards who progresses to the league playoff stages and that is all. Whatever team Dublin picks is their business and I’m sure Jim Gavin has his own priorities which may not be far off James’s. i.e assessing players for bigger days in summer.

  64. I was confident for a Mayo win before seeing the team I’m even more so now. Some may lose the run of themselves with a win so i hope those realize the Dubs are down probably about 9 or 10 championship starters though on the flip side if Mayo were to lose with such a strong line up some questions will have to be asked.

  65. In fairness a number of neutrals have claimed that if Kerry had beaten Dublin in the All Ireland semi final they would have won the final. What was the saying about finishing 2nd by the former Liverpool manager? all the matters for Mayo now is winning the senior All Ireland and 2014 could be the year.

  66. Fully agree Mayomagic, I think even a tight win given the likely team selections would raise some questions.

    To date, Dublin’s strength has been found lacking but they will still be the team to beat come the summer.

    To me, a win is important but more interested in seeing if some of the open questions can be answered in terms of players and their positions on the team, and indeed in the panel. We really need to have serious options to come on the heat of battle if we are finally to reach the promised land!

  67. I think what people mean is that it is not going to be Dublins strongest team….Its the though they are leaving out any U21s who play Meath in Leinster Final next week and that Vincents lads are getting a break along with some injuries…..

  68. My main point is, when Aidan O’Shea is on form like he was in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Donegal last year, he is our no. one midfielder. On his day Barry Moran is a very good midfielder as well, he was MOTM in the league game against Donegal last year. Though if you look at the All-Ireland club final, St. Vincent’s county player Diarmuid Connolly really dominated the game. He was at the heart of everything. I thought that when Richie Feeney got black carded, Barry Moran should have been moved to midfield and be Castlebar’s main player as he is their county player. He should have had more of an influence on the game, been played out of position didn’t help him. As I said before we are very lucky to have such quality players in that area.

  69. Spot on Mayomagic. If we don’t get the win here I’ll be extremely disappointed, equally, if we do, it’s nothing to get carried away with.

  70. Ah here, just to put that one to bed – I’ve absolutely no issue with what part of the county the players come from. My point was I haven’t seen him play that much, that’s all.

    Anyway, hopefully he proves me wrong but as I say I can’t see him being ahead of Varley or Conroy (who will both be impact subs) come Championship.

  71. Some have been saying here over a period of time that beating the Dubs in September is what matte, that’s assuming we both get that far. But I’ve always held the view that the winning of this match is very important for Mayo, not so much for the two League points that come with it, which are important in their own right, but more the laying of the ghost of last years final. And lets not fall for the supposed weakened Dublin team thing, believe you me, those lads will want to impress their Manager. All things considered though, Mayo should win this one with a bit to spare…..

  72. I agree with you Mayo McHale. I think it is psychologically important to beat Dublin in Croker. It would be a huge boost to us, especially if we beat them well. We are Dublin’s main challenge for the title this year as we were their main competition last year. They will want a win.

    I think we are putting out a very strong team (almost full strength). I also think there are a few players on the bench with a point to prove if they get a chance. It all bodes well.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of a crowd we get. There will be a big Dub crowd despite the rugby. I’m in the Lower Hogan – can’t wait…

  73. The fact that Cafferkey follows whoever is most dangerous in the opposition full forward line is not a recent thing Andy D.

    2 years ago in the league semi he marked Gooch all day and played corner back for example. He marked Bernard Brogan in the games last year as a corner back at times and against Donegal in the 2012 final he marked McFadden who had been their dangerman all year, again as a corner back.

    The tactic has worked to greater and lesser extents during these games as Caff generally limits his direct marker very well, although it does mean that full back can be a problem and different players can end up there at different times eg Kevin Keane vs Donegal 2012, Brendan Harrison vs Cork as you mentioned or Donal Vaughan vs Kerry in league semi 2012 (as he followed Donaghy all day) to name a few I can remember

    I’m not saying it’s the best strategy but to say it’s new or hasn’t worked at any point isn’t true

  74. Reading the comments above you’d swear it was August or September! There is a danger that we could over-hype this game and lose track of ourselves and what we hope Horan is trying achieve. As I said in a previous post, there is a little for us to gain by winning tomorrow night but there is more to lose if we don’t. If we win, then we are in a strong position for a league semi-final, we would have strengthened our mental fortitude by knowing we are capable of beating Dublin in Croker and we would have done it by using players like Harrison, Gibbons & Doc. Great.
    However, if we lose, then the old arguments will be raised again about our inability to handle the Dubs, it would be 3 games on the bounce that we lost against them in Croker and there may be lingering doubts and, possibly, a developing inferiority complex when it comes to the playing the Dubs. If Dublin lose none of the above will apply to them but if we lose, coming with a fully fit squad and improving form, the damage could be more than just the loss of 2 points.
    Furthermore, for Horan himself, he needs to get one over Gavin as Horan was well beaten on the line last September in almost every area of the game. I am confident of a win, but, more than that I am looking forward to seeing if we have developed a style of play for playing the Dubs. One that exposes their weaknesses, which they undoubtedly have, and at the same time counters their obvious strengths. This is the type of game where the Higgins experiment needs to work and we will know a good bit more about where we are in the bigger scheme of things come 9pm Saturday night.

  75. Sorry, you are saying we were too predicable, and your suggestion is to put a big man in ff? Isnt that even more predictable?

  76. Well in fairness, we have shipped 10 goals and we nearly blew it against westmeath. We are letting teams back into games with disappointing regularity. We are not as tight at the back as last year, something that wont be lost on dublin and I believe they will go for goals early.

    I actually think mannion done us a favour. We want the talk to be about dublin, not us. Let’s not get carried away, we beat a noticeably under-strength cork team at home and we are playing a dublin team who have had one eye firmly on this game for a couple of weeks going by their recent team slections.

    As regards our team selection. I dont see the role moran is going to play. People are saying he will be a creator, but he often holds onto the ball too long, soloing on the spot. We need to move the ball early against dublin. K Mc is better at this job and for my money should be the main creator in the half forwards.
    As regards sweeney, he is actually very quick, but lacks that bit of strength, and once he goes into a tackle he often struggles to get away from his man again. He is a smart player though, and moves the ball at pace.
    Conroy is being painted at quite blinkered, but this isnt fair, he actually has a good eye for a pass, but playing so close to goal doesnt realy allow him to utilise it.
    Fair enough, varley is probably your standard corner forward who 95% of the time thinks ‘score’

  77. I don’t agree at all with your assessment of Moran and McLoughlin. Moran is a very accurate foot passer and it was noticeable in the league games that he was moving the ball on very quickly. As for McLoughlin, bar A. O’Shea, there is no one that carries the ball into contact more often than Kevin. I counted 5 times in Omagh he was crowded out and either dispossessed or fouled the ball. Only in the Cork game did we see Kevin move the ball quicker, as highlighted by his terrific pass to Cillian O’Connor for his goal.

  78. Agree with you AndyD, McHale’s suggestion is strange in light of his own experience. McHale was never comfortable at FF and we shot ourselves in the foot bigtime by playing him at FF in 1997 when he was clearly the best Midfielder in the country at that time. But shure aren’t we great at that !

  79. Very well put.

    I’d like to see us coming away with a few pints of a win, score two or three goals, tightened up at the back, having executed a good game plan that also deals with Cluxton’s kick-outs, and having used all available subs to good effect.

    As you say, losing would be a set-back for the players attitudes in future games v the Dubs.

  80. Fact of the matter is barry will win you ball and distribute it cleverly and can score from range. Sos is more of a workhorse and aidan can win ball but I believe likes to carry more so I think would be more of a threat in hf line. Who horan goes for depends on what he wants but I think there is room for all three in the 15. Regarding the club final u can’t give a player like connolly space…I believe cunniffe was man to pick him up or sacrifice a forward to drop back defensively and double up. Barry was played inside too long with shite ball going in and I think he won ball when he came out. Anyway isn’t it good to have choice but I think all these players need game time come june and competition/emptying bench somewhat when appropriate/needed needs to be down

  81. Having listened to it Mannion thinks Dublin are the top team he wasn’t sure who is 2nd best as he think Cork,Donegal etc will improved this year, TBH i think thats a fair enough comment to make however i wouldn’t judge a side on league form over the last two years Mayo were less than great in the league and were lucky enough to reach the semi finals. Other years Cork have looked superb in the league yet they couldn’t bring that form into the championship.

  82. great fan of andy moran but honestly don’t think he has the pace for half forward now, can you imagine him trying to chase lee or donie . great servant and leader but can only see him coming off bench in near goal. thought Sweeney might get run in croker

  83. I dont know where people are coming from , I think jh is the best manager I have seen for mayo, and I have watched mayo over fifty years, I think he has given most players every chance, now it is down to the players to get over the line I believe they ar, good enough to do so .if not we will have to start again

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