Update from James ahead of League start

There was a press event involving James Horan for the local media last night and Mike Finnerty has a piece on the Mayo News website today (here) about what the Mayo manager had to say at it.

Of particular interest to supporters will be the news about player availability for the Donegal game on Sunday. On that, James had an update on the position regarding a number of the panel.

Lee Keegan is, he said, back in full training and ready to play a part on Sunday. Kevin McLoughlin isn’t, however, as he’s taking a few weeks away from the group. As James pointed out, the Knockmore man has done fifteen seasons straight with the Senior panel so he’s well entitled to a bit of time off at this early part of the year.

Jason Doherty – finally available for selection again after his double cruciate lay-off – is, said James, “in the mix” for Sunday, while Mark Moran is “back on the field and training well”.

Enda Hession and Cillian O’Connor are both absentees through injury. The Ballintubber man’s return is, of course, eagerly awaited and James said he expected to see Cillian back by Round 4 or 5 of the League campaign, though he did add the rider that “I could be a round or two out there.”

Fergal Boland picked up a knock playing for Tooreen last weekend but James said that the Aghamore man “will hopefully be okay” for Sunday.

Overall, we look to be in decent shape personnel-wise heading for Markievicz Park. While it’s tough to predict with any accuracy what our starting fifteen will be for Sunday, that’s part of the fun following the football at this time of year and this year is no different.

Extended audio from that press event last night is included in the latest bonus podcast episode, exclusively available to Patreon club members, that went online this afternoon. Rob, Mike and I are on this episode where, as well as hearing from James, we chat about the mood in the camp ahead of the new inter-county season.

To listen to this episode and to get access to other great bonus content, become a podcast club member on Patreon here.

46 thoughts on “Update from James ahead of League start

  1. Good to hear some of the troops are on the path to returning to action. Mark Moran has been out for some time and you forget the impact he had when he first emerged.

  2. 1 R.Hennelly
    2 P.Ohora
    3 L.keegan
    4 R.keane
    5 P.Durcan
    6 S.coen
    7 E.mcloughlin
    8 O.mullin
    9 D.oconnor
    10 F.boland
    11 A.oshea
    12 C.dempsey
    13 T.conroy
    14 J.doherty
    15 R.odonoghue
    Obviously not sure on availability on some players and fitness going into this weekend but I’d like to see a team like this, some new faces, serious pace throughout.

  3. Matthew Ruane not available for selection for the first two games due to his red card in the AI final.

  4. Quite a negative situation really. Kevin Mac resting, fair enough.Cillian a real worry IMO. Round 5, or could be 6. Galway, if we’re lucky. Enda Hession out, no date. Conor McStay, a knock, ditto Fergal Boland. Mattie out for 2. At least Mark Moran was name checked in a good way.

  5. The language around Cillian would worry me to be honest.
    If he doesn’t play any league games, or even just one or two, hard to see him having much impact v Galway in April.

    I was listening to AhRef podcast there and Enda was raving about this Darragh Reilly lad from Parke GAA but I think he’s signed professional terms with Sligo Rovers, will be interesting to watch his progress.
    Very hard to make it long term in soccer but he would like a real talent.

  6. Yes the cillian situation is worrying. If u don’t feature in the league then theres no way u could be up to speed for championship football. I fear he may not be part of mayo 22

  7. Keegan not a corner back … much more effective half back ….
    As we saw last year … league is really needed to blood new players and the likes of Doc game time ….
    Annual debate here but I don’t care if we get relegated if we are a stronger panel come championship

  8. I dont think the Cillian situation is worrying, in fact its good player welfare and they are putting him first. Too many times players are rushed back from serious injuries and end up out again after 3-4 weeks.

    We need to be patient with Cillian’s recovery if he is able to get 30 mins into him in the last 2 rounds of the league then he will have a big part to play v Galway and during the championship.

  9. Tommie, agree that it’s good player welfare. My point was that JH’s remarks undermined the casual assumptions all were making – pencilling him in to starting teams and so on. Indeed earlier reports from the camp bolstered that impression. Ruptured Achilles has proved to be a career ending injury for some sports people.

  10. Wouldn’t be all too worried about Cillian not featuring in the early games in the league. He’s not as prolific in the league as he is in the championship, his average scoring record in the league is about 4 points per game, and it’s less in MacHale park on average than away games (3.7 vs 4.7) in the league also.
    Championship is different gravy, overall average is 7.11, with averages of 7.33 away from home and 6.25 in MacHale. Averages 7.3 per Championship game in Croker, for those that might be interested, which increases to 7.83 in semi finals and 7.5 in finals.

  11. @FDBinashui

    Great stats there regarding Cillian. No need to rush him back from a serious injury at this time of year on heavier ground. Ease him back in and be ready for the Galway game. Same with Jason Doc.
    If we can get Cillian, ROD and Tommy Conroy firing at the same time they will take some stopping.

    Would love to see a fit Brendan Harrison back in the team. Was there any word on him?

  12. My Ball – what James Horan had to say on the bonus Patreon pod about player positioning was interesting and relevant to the point you make. James said that shirt numbers mean nothing in the modern game and that Lee operated well outside the full-back line at times last year.

  13. Wouldn’t worry about Cillian, he’s been missing League football for years and it never did him any harm come championship. The fresher he is the better. We just need him right for Galway in April.

  14. JH did namecheck Brendan Harrison as going well or something like that. That was one of the few injury positives. He also name checked Sam Callinan.

  15. Hennely


    Rory brickenden

    S Coen
    Conor o`shea

    Fionn McDonagh

    Tommy C
    D Coen

    My guess at the team for Sunday. I think we will see new faces at some stage Sunday but they might not start.

  16. Wj , who will be monitoring the content posted over on Patreon and Discord ? I’m sure there will be a few who will want to cross the line . Mind you prob because they have to take out the subscription on Patreon it might deter most messers

  17. Harrison played in a challenge match last week v Clare.
    Jason also played at Full forward and played well apparently

  18. @FDBinashui, you must be leaving all of Cillian’s frees and goals out otherwise your figures are way out.

    In Cillian’s last 10 games for Mayo (2 of which were just 35 mins) he scored the equivalent of 95 points.

    We got relegated because Cillian only played one league game in 2020 and he scored 10 points v Galway that day.

    He’s a huge miss and not just for his scoring ability.

  19. Larry duff I saw that Daragh reilly playing for gerards v ros cbs in beken recently was very impressed with his delivery of ball into full forward line was a joy to watch. Sam Callinan was also playing for ballina school he stands out, he’s a big lad with pace, but needs time to develop .

  20. We have plans on that Mayoman in Galway. The major difference between the chat there and the discussion on here is that comments on Discord aren’t visible to all, just to those who have subscribed to the Patreon service, have connected to Discord and are on the chat.

    I’m interested myself in how we get on with Discord as this could well be the way to go for the comment function on the blog too.

  21. Great to be out if div 2 and have a proper tough test to kick off with.

    Based on latest from horan on absentees (cillian, Hession, ruane and kev) I’d like to see the following start on sunday, (I know hennelly with start but just picking my own preferred lineup)


    O hora
    S coen

    E mclaughin




  22. Having Harrison back is huge for a number of reasons.
    Firstly he is the best man marker we have.

    Secondly it frees up any of coen or keegan to play further out the field where they are happier

  23. @Willie Joe,apologies if this is already addressed but I have Discird downloaded,what do I do from here?

    On the game coming up,Boland has a knock aswell according to James so may not be in contention.

    My team would be
    O hora
    O Donoghue

    Ideally I’d like Aido to be coming on but we’re light on hf options through injury and Kevin mac on a break.
    Plunkett and Callinan to sub in on full back or half back line
    Cinor O Shea to cover midfield.Loftus to cover midfield (if we’re stuck) or half forward
    Dempsey to cover half forward
    Orme and D Coen to cover ff line.

  24. FW – If you go to the post I put up on the Patreon site (you’ll need to be logged in there), all the instructions are there. In short, you need to connect to Discord within the Patreon site, which you have to access using a laptop or desktop (it doesn’t work via the app on the phone).

    It’s all explained here: https://support.patreon.com/hc/en-us/articles/212052266-How-do-I-connect-Discord-to-Patreon-Patron-

    If you’re still having trouble, let me know.

  25. My team for Sunday based on Horans principles over the last few years blooding new players) and the soundbites coming from the challenge games against Clare/Leitrim.

    1. Hennelly
    2. Coen
    3. O’Hora
    4. Sam Callihan

    5. Durcan
    6. Mullin
    7. Mcloughlin

    8. Conor
    9. Dempsey

    10. Fionn Mc
    11. AOS
    12. Diarmuid

    13. Tommy
    14. DOC
    15. ROD

    Expect to see Donnocha Mchugh in the squad and Keegan springed if needed. Would also like to see Aidan Orme get a chance, a smart footballer who can link well with good players around him. Boland off the bench also would be nice to see when the game opens up.

  26. Time for Aiden O Shea to settle into a position, whatever that is, not mobile enough for midfield anymore, so that leaves full or center half forward. Leave him in that position till he runs out of steam and then replace him. Last few years he had no fixed position, whether it was himself or Management he kept moving all over the field with the result that he confused other players and also himself as to what position he was to be in at a given time.

  27. @culmore
    The let’s find a position for Aido debate has been going on for years now so I think the only conclusion at this point is a bench role, and I mean that respectfully, be fine starting him against lesser opposition but not against the top 5 or 6 sides,need to look at alternatives and he could be a huge option off the bench to give the crowd a lift. Starting isn’t the be all end all, done cathal mcshane no harm starting every game on the bench

  28. My full back line would be E O Donoghue, Harrison and O Hora. Why is EOD not featuring? Was he injured? Up front I would play Tommy C in the half forward line.

  29. I believe Eoin O’Donoghue is not part of the panel this year. Also Jack Coyne has been dropped which was very surprising. Was very impressed with him at club level last year. Really thought he would push on this year.

    Does anyone have an update on David Mcbrien from Ballagh ? He was injured for the whole club championship last year. Another fine prospect.

  30. Is our game v Donegal sold out? I don’t seem to be able to download a ticket on my Cairde Season ticket.

  31. Surprised to see so many have AOS on their starting team. Has he even joined the panel yet? As for finding his best position, that boat has long sailed. I see Aido as more of an impact sub going forward. Time to move on.

  32. Viper I’m very confident in my stats about Cillian so if you have any facts to counter his averages as I’ve stated in League and Championship, I’d be interested to hear it.
    He’s played 40 league games and scored 7 goals and 138 points. That’s 3.975 on average per game.
    He’s played 60 Championship games and scored 30 Goals and 337 points. His Average in Championship is 7.116 per game.

    There’s no one doubting he’s a huge miss but I’d rather he be ready and fit for championship than rush him back for the League.

  33. Hennelly



    Diarmud O’C

    Fionn Mcdonagh

    R O’D

    That’s the team Id go with. I want to see them try out Leeroy at Half Back again and people have wanted to Mullin in midfield for a while so I’d give him a go there.
    I feel this league campaign is make or break for Aido’s starting spot. He has been great over the years but when players are back available and he’s playing to some of the standard was saw last last year I don’t see where he fits in. I hope he proves wrong but in the big games I think he should be used as an impact sub this year.

    The league it is not where we should try and rush back Cillian. We need him for that first championship game against Galway and staying up comfortably and trying stuff would be a successful league campaign for us in my eyes.

  34. @FDBinashui, we really can’t use averages in that way though, it doesn’t tell the true story of the player and fails to account for a players improvement from game 1 to his most recent game.

    Otherwise I could equally say Cillian’s average score in the League campaign of 2020 was 10 points which would also be a true “stat”.

    Perhaps the fact that he scored over 16% of his total scored for Mayo in 100 games in the last 10 games is a more accurate reflection of where he was at.

    When he got injured he was in top form and his numbers were through the roof.

    The averages also fail to take into account his leadership in the forward unit as well.

    Take a player like Darren McHale as an example, he scored 3-07 in the Connacht Championship in 2021 (3 Games) so we can say an average of over 5 points per game, looks great as a stat but it doesn’t tell you he only scored a point in the Connacht final though and was taken off at half time.

    I agree, I wouldn’t rush Cillian back either.

  35. The Indo has an article on AOS today…basically that the selection as SC as captain infers that he’ll be an impact sub this year rather than a starter.

  36. The problem with not starting Aido is we’ve a very small team without him. Especially with current injuries and Ruane being suspended. I’d definitely be starting him this weekend, whatever about potential games down the line in croke park etc.

  37. My point is he’s not been as prolific in the league as the Championship. Reasons for this is that he’s had a number of injuries over the years and he’s usually been recovering from these injuries during the earlier parts of the season.

    By my count he’s not featured in 40 league games (which is the same number as he has played in) since he first played for Mayo. Counter that with having not featured in 9 out of 69 Championship games in the same period.

    2021 is an exception but bear in mind we were playing Division 2 opposition, and played 3 games in May and his last one where he got injured was in June. We’d normally be starting championship at that time of year and the League would be long forgotten.

    There’s absolutely no doubt he was flying since he returned to football at the end of the 2020 League and his injury against Clare was another setback for him. I hope when he does return he’ll be in similar form, as I’m sure we all do.

  38. Darren regan from claremorris was a great full back for claremorris. If he could get fit again he would be a great asset for mayo

  39. Would like Sean diskin get brought to the development squad, I feel that he could be an asset for mayo if he gets some good quality strength and conditioning in to him

  40. I hope Colm Moran is involved as he was one of best club forwards this year. Will there be a panel announcement? I must say Colm Keyes on the podcast was very good – a few home truths and that is whats needed! Good to get an outsiders perspective. Hopefully ye will have him on again.

  41. One of the biggest things we’ve missed has been a quality left footed corner forward.
    The list of winners since 2005
    2005 Tyrone Stephen O’Neill
    2004/2006/007 Kerry Colm Cooper
    2008 Tyrone Stephen O’Neill
    2009 Kerry Colm Cooper
    2010 Cork – Daniel Goulding
    2011 Dublin none
    2012 Donegal- Colm McFadden
    2013 Dublin – Paul Mannion
    2014 Kerry – James ODonogue
    2015/16/17/18/19/20 Dublin – Paul Mannion, Con OCallaghan, Paddy Small.
    2021 Tyrone – Darren Mccurry

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