Johnno has named the team for Saturday night’s clash with Cork and here it is:
K O’Malley; L O’Malley, J Kilcullen, K Higgins; E Devenney, BJ Padden, P Gardiner; P Harte, D Heaney; A Campbell, A Kilcoyne, G Brady; C Mortimer, A Dillon, A Moran
There are only two changes from the Fermanagh game, one of which is enforced. As expected, James Nallen doesn’t hold his place in midfield with, predictably enough, David Heaney coming in to partner Pat Harte. The injury Trevor Mortimor sustained against the U21s last weekend was obviously serious enough to keep him out of action and, with Kevin O’Neill still out as well, Johnno has given a first league start to Aidan Kilcoyne, at centre-forward. The rest of the team is the same as that which started up in Clones the last day.
The backline is now starting to look settled, though how settled they look under the lights on Saturday night is a different question. While Heaney will bring a more combative approach to midfield, we’re likely to struggle – given Nicholas Murphy’s presence – to win primary ball there. This should mean plenty of ball coming into our backs and it will be a good test for them to see how they cope with that. The wobble the last day has me slightly worried – we wobbled against Kerry last September too and found ourselves comprehensively filleted inside ten minutes. Saturday night will be a big test for all the backs but how Keith Higgins handles James Masters is likely to be of particular interest.
I think we’ll miss Trevor Mort in the forwards. He had a good match there the last day and while he does favour keeping it in the family in terms of how he distributes ball, Conor did nothing wrong with the ball he got, scoring four fabulous points from play on that glue pot of a pitch. Conor seems to play better when the big brother is around and we’ll need a good performance from him if we’re to get anything out of this game so it would have been good to have both Mortimors in the starting fifteen. That said, I’m delighted to see Killer get a starting berth and I’d like it even better to see him put in the kind of performance that would ensure he retains his place for the Dubs the following weekend. Think last year’s U21 final against Cork, Killer! Think 1-6! Kill! Kill!