Westmeath up next for us

Right, I reckon it’s time to move on from the Kerry match and to start thinking about the next hurdle facing us in this year’s league campaign. This comes in the shape of an away match against Westmeath, the county currently propping up the Division One table with the game scheduled for Cusack Park in Mullingar. According to the GAA’s website throw-in for this one is at the slightly later time of 2.30pm.

According to the same source, the ref for Sunday is Eddie Kinsella from Laois. It’s worth remembering that name, by the way, as he’s also down for duty on All-Ireland club final day. From memory, he’s an okay, common-sense official and from what I can see the last time he did a match involving us was that hugely enjoyable league semi-final win over Kerry back in April 2012.

Club ’51 – whose banner made its debut at MacHale Park last Sunday (see below) – have also begun to turn their attention to next Sunday and they’ve now settled on the Greville Arms in the town as the place for the pre-match meet-up. Start time for this is 11.30am and full details – including on where best to park – are here. Cusack Park is only a short stroll from the middle of town – I was there for the Vincents/Loman’s Leinster club tie back in November – so the Greville Arms is a perfect gathering point.

Club 51 banner

Photo: Mayo Mick

This will be our first meeting with the Lake County in the league since March 2009 when, in a match played at Charlestown, a very different looking Mayo team recorded what I termed in my report as a facile win against limited opposition. I know there’s a strong temptation heading into Sunday’s clash to think of the current Westmeath team in similar terms but I’d agree that this is one where we need to be on our guard for a sucker punch. Another hard-working and fully committed performance will be needed the next day if we’re to come away with the valuable league points that are on offer.

Paddy Power, however, clearly don’t agree with the above assessment and have instead installed us as 1/8 favourites to win on Sunday with the home team on offer at 11/2.  Do these odds makes sense? Time for a vote, I reckon, to see if you lot are thinking along the same lines.

What will it be against Westmeath?

  • Win (92%, 201 Votes)
  • Lose (6%, 14 Votes)
  • Draw (2%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 219

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137 thoughts on “Westmeath up next for us

  1. Looking forward to the trip to Mullingar on Sunday but the game will not be as easy as some Mayo fans seem to think. Westmeath are on zero points, at home and have nothing to loose so Id except a fast start by them. Having said that you would think we will have too much for them. Mayo by 6.

  2. Through history the favourites tag has never really suited us. Don’t know why that is to be honest. We’ll have to deal with it at some stage. Being super strong favourites the next day now is a tougher position. Early yet but barring injuries in training this would be my team for Westmeath.


    Keane, Cafferkey, McHale
    Keegan, Vaughan, Boyle

    SOS (AOS/Gibbons both get some bench time – 1/2 each max)

    O’Connor, Moran, Carolan,
    Varley, Freeman, Doherty

    Subs – Hennelly, Harrison, Drake, Gallagher, Coen, Sweeney, D O’Connor, Higgins, McLoughlin, Conroy. Sweeney and Coen should be introduced in second half. I wouldn’t be bringing on McLoughlin, Conroy or Higgins at all unless we in deep trouble.
    No U-21s starting either as big game against Ros midweek.

  3. Really hope he names a very strong team to go and nail this game and virtually settle div one survival – can take the rest of the league to try other systems / personnel then

  4. Westmeath put up a good show against Dublin and the dubs had to bring on some big guns to beat them. If they bring that to this game they will be hard to beat. We need to put out a strong team and then experiment if we are comfortable

  5. Have said it in a previous post, desperate teams are dangerous. Cusack Park is a tight pitch where Mayo will get little room

    Coming off a good win is always dangerous too – not that I didn’t want a good win!

    Mayo really have to want this one. No use thinking the points are there lets give a few guys a run.

    A loss against Westmeath would be disastrous. Maybe fear should be our motivation!

  6. Last Sunday, I thought Doherty played at half forward rather than in the corner. This allowed him to clean up breaking ball around the middle and then break forward when we were on the attack, which led to his well-taken goal and point. I thought this position suited him and would like to see him there again on Sunday rather than in the corner.

    In the corner, I would hope Sweeney is fit and will get a chance. I think the match is too close to the U-21 game for Gallagher and he will be rested. In the other corner, I suppose I would like to see more of Darren Coen and see what he has to offer but can understand if Conroy or Varley are picked instead.

  7. o Malley not a possibility for goal, he has a broken thumb and will be out for another few weeks at least.

  8. Can anybody fill us in on Club 51? Is it backed by the County Board? I thought Cairde Mayo was the supporters club and that no more was allowed.

  9. Ok – wasn’t sure if he was still injured or not. Way I see it some of the team have been playing now 5 games on the trot when you include the inter provincials. You could see AOS and Gibbons were tired the last day. Hennelly too was off form and could be down to fatigue.
    Some of these fellas need a break for a week anyway. Cork is only around the following weekend and it will be at least as big a test.

  10. The team I would like to see line out in Mullingar is as follows…

    I am working on the assumption that Harrison, D. O’Connor & Gallagher are, correctly in my mind, to play for the U21’s the following Wednesday and so are rested.

    1. Hennelly.
    2. Keane – he needs to play himself back into form.
    3. McHale – rest Cafferkey suspect hamstring and give another run to McHale.
    4. Higgins – offer solidity to an otherwise unsteady back line.
    5. Keegan – as above.
    6. S. Coen – not too sure if he is named in U21 squad but would like to see him start.
    7. Drake – give Boyle a much needed rest after FBD, Connaught & 3 NFL games.
    8. Seamus O’Shea – give the brother & Gibbons a rest.
    9. Vaughan – would like to see him tried as a mobile man marking option in midfield.
    10. Carolan – like Keane he needs to play his way back into form.
    11. Andy Moran – him at No.11 is a job in progress and worth sticking with.
    12. Doherty – see if he can repeat last Sundays performance.
    13. Sweeney – if he is to be a viable option in Summer he needs to perform now.
    14. Freeman
    15. Conroy – when fully fit he is our only forward with serious pace.

    It appears a risky enough line-up but if the fringe players are to force their way into Horans plans for the Summer, away to Westmeath is the type of game they need to be performing strongly in. I would have a strong bench as an escape plan if things don’t work out.

  11. I believe this will be rather easy, we will win pulling up. We should dispell this soft touch tag and heap more misery on WM.

  12. Are you sure that Harrison is underage for this year? He hasn’t figured for the U21s this year yet as far as I can remember and he last appeared in minor in 2010.

  13. Wow Pebblesmeller…thats a failry radical change…but one I could live with, at least for a few minutes 😉
    So here’s where I’d make the changes to your lineup.

    Start by moving Donnie from midfield back to 6 and draft Gibbons back into the 9 slot…Donnie is experiened, and a steady influence in the back. Then move Stephen Coen (assuming he’s available) back to 3, …I know he’s a young lad but from what I’ve seen, he’s strong and smart and with Donnie in front of him, he’d be grand in this matchup. Unfortunatly, that would mean McHale would have to take a seat for the time being.

    The only other change I’d make would be to put super mac in at 10, instead of Carolan. For the same reasons you want to play Carolan, I’d want to play mac. We know what he can be, therefore we need to leave him to it and let him get the form back. Plus, net net, he conributes more to the scoreboard. I love Carolans tempo and appetite for the game, but somehow I believe we will need Mac more come c’ship time. Mickey has pace alright, but come the latter stages of the league and c’ship, I think we might have a better option there.

    Other than that, carry on….

  14. I thought Vaughan made a huge difference when he came on against Kerry. When he tackles you feel it. Is this why the Kerry guy drove him into the ground before Vaughan got the yellow card. If linesmen spot retaliation they should also report the original offence. I wouldn’d weaken the team too much on Sunday. WM will be a better team at home. Compare the way the Kerry full forward line got away from the Mayo full back line. The Kerry backs on the other hand were all over the Mayo forwards. Freeman got opportunities mostly through his size and some good diagonal running. The Mayo full backs need to be a lot more sticky and this may mean some sort of a sweeping system. This may be what will be employed come the summer. Whatever else happens we cant keep conceding soft scores. Goals killed us in the 2012 and the 2013 AIFs.

  15. Ya – if you want to move Doherty out that would be fine. Swap him with Cillian. I would start Cillian the next day. If we are well on top can take him off early on in second half.
    But I do think fellas who have been playing for the past 5 weeks on the trot
    Hennelly, Higgins, McLoughlin, Gibbons, AOS, Conroy need a break. They will be burnt out by the Cork game otherwise.

    Also I would like to see us put up a big performance against Ros in U21s. It’s time we started to compete at that age level again. Been out of the limelight there for far too long. So if possible I wouldn’t risk to many of younger guys either.

    Not sure how old younger fellas actually are. Anyone know who on the current squad is U21 ?

  16. IMO we should play as strong a team as possible against Westmeath but we should leave out the U21 players to concentrate on their game against Roscommon. We don’t want to give Westmeath a psychological advantage by naming a weaker team. If they seen a team that was not as strong as it could be, then they’d be thinking to themselves (Hey Mayo are thinking that they have this game won already, we’ll show them.) If we could build up a good lead, that would be the best time to then take some player’s off and rest them for the next game, when the job has been done against Westmeath. Also in relation to the player’s who played for Connaught, Keith Higgins didn’t play in the Interpros semi-final, so he got a rest that week-end. Also Michael Conroy did not start the first two games in the League for Mayo. Aidan O’Shea just played a half against Kildare as he was black-carded in that game. Also Jason Gibbons didn’t start against Kildare but he did come on early in that game and was taken off late in the Kerry game. So Rob Hennelly and Kevin McLoughlin are the only two who have played full games five week-ends in a row. So it might be no harm to freshen up a bit in terms of the last four players. With Seamus O’Shea, Donal Vaughan and Cillian available, any of those players wouldn’t weaken our team anyway. So I’d say minimal not radical changes would be best to get the job done.

  17. you hit the nail on the head, especially in the first half, no one minding the house on several occasions, back line needs to tighten up, thought caf looked a bit out of sorts in the first half, and no 6 was turned time and time again, we have time but defence is vital against the dubs and cork or we will leak a lot of goals

  18. As far as I can see, Westmeath have two outstanding footballers – John Heslin around the middle and Denis Glennon in the full forward line. Glennon is a tricky customer, pacey and tries to shoot from all angles. John Heslin was in Australia for a bit, and is young, but I have seen him absolutely lord it at midfield. Shoots from distance too. If we keep these two quiet, it would be half the battle.

    Unless my memory deceives me, the last time I was in Cusack Park, we had to sit on wooden seats. Maybe bring a cushion or the arsh will be falling off ye!

    Also, Cusack Park is awkward for parking, especially getting out of it afterwards, so I would suggest parking in Marks and Spencers a little bit away, and walking from there across the canal footbridge and past the cathedral. Then it’s a handy spin back to the bypass.

  19. I think Horan will go with:

    5. Keegan
    8. SOS
    10. Carolan
    11. Moran
    12. DOC
    13. COC (if fit)/Coen
    14. Freeman

    I feel he’ll want to take no chances in this game and have it put to bed with 15mins left, then ring the changes. Think he’ll give K Mac a rest and Aos. Cant wait to see the team sheet.

  20. Sarah, I don’t agree. And I’ve watch a replay focusing on him and Andy Moran in particular.

    First of all, Caff hadn’t a bad first half. It was the second-half that he was caught ball watching twice and turned a couple of times.

    Secondly, and the nub of a bigger problem is that opposition managers have targeted pulling Caff out the field away from where he can dominate. He not comfortable in that role. He appears unsure when to opt to cover back in to the space or stick with his roving man regardless.

    I’m worried about this and JH needs to tell him to stay back in front of goal and play the sweeper between 3 and 6. I’m convinced that since Kildare pulled him away successfully, other managers have seen it and Fitzmaurice did it again on Sunday last.

    It’s this that’s the problem rather than any hamstring issue, and it is a major problem.

    He also needs to be more physical in the contact and more solid hand in tackling when his man is in possession like Keegan. He has this problem of taking his hand out of the tackle as if to avoid giving away a free. Keep it and O’Brien wouldn’t have a free shot for his goal.

    Caff hasn’t become a bad player overnight. The sideline needs to act and plan to keep him within the 20. I’d rest him v Westmeth and give McHale the start, then bring him on for the last 15 minutes.

  21. Its good to hear this:

    (KERRY hero Colm Cooper has vowed to return next year and has exonerated the Castlebar Mitchels player who clashed with him when he suffered his recent season-ending knee injury.)

    The link to the full Article is below:


    It just shows the kind of man that he is, to say this, a real gent I’d say and a great footballer to boot. He really sums up all that is good in the GAA family.

  22. I think that James Horan, with his emphasis on performance rather than merely winning, has largely solved the winning as favorites conundrum. It certainly was a problem in the past but it never raised hits head last year even with a succession of run away wins. The team was not at all inhibited or complacent.

  23. Fear? How or why would Mayo fear Westmeath. It’s not that I disrespect them but there is nothing in their record to generate fear in a team of Mayo’s pedigree. I believe that James Horan’s focus on performance will be sufficient to avoid any danger of complacency.

  24. Id say barring a serious bad performance from our lads i think we will win out by 10 points plus.i reckon Horan will stick with Doc and AOS.Anyone going from or through Galway that will give a poor student a lift.Ill pay my way of coarse.

  25. Checking the 2011 program for the only minor championship game [ v Rosc] Harrison was not on it. Perhaps he was injured.

  26. Interesting team Pebbles and I understand your motivation in each position.
    I’ve disagreed slightly on four in different positions and three I would’nt go with because, we need to build on the Kerry match and get two more points.

    1. Hennelly – Agree. But forget about the frees and work on the kick-outs.
    2. Keane – Needs to get his confidence back surely, but I’d stick with HARRISON!
    3. McHale – Agree for the v important reason I gave in another later reply below ?
    4. Higgins – Agree, though if were well on top, I’d rest him in the second half
    5. Keegan – Agree
    6. S. Coen – Leave him to the u-21s. this week and I’d start VAUGHAN.
    7. Drake – Agree Boyler looked a bit tired the last day
    8. Seamus O’Shea – Agree, but I wouldn’t expect him to last 70 mins.
    9. Vaughan – I’d start GIBBONS for a half and AOS in second half.
    10. Carolan – Possibly him at 12, but KEVIN MAC at 10. Needs plenty football!
    11. Andy Moran – Agree, and he did well winning midfield breaking ball last Sunday
    12. Doherty – I’d have Doc closer to goal & try CAROLAN there.
    13. Sweeney – Agree, it’s nearly a case of now or never. He deserves his shot!
    14. Freeman – Agree.
    15. Conroy – Doc is a much more direct scoring option (goals too) for inside position

    I’d rest all U-21 player this coming Sunday. They’ll need everything in the tank for a very strong Rossies outfit.

  27. Surely if Stephen Coen is good enough for the Senior panel he is good enough for the U21s

  28. I agree 100% with Cloud 9. Said it in a posting yesterday. Keep Caff on the square.

  29. There is a very big car park close to the town centre and off the old Tullamore road.
    going from the town centre turn right at the County Buildings & Couthouse and you are there. Again a short walk to Cusack Park. Might be quicker afterwards to take the old Tullamore road on to the new Tullamore road bypass and back to the dual carraigeway.

  30. just for the record Brendan Harrison is no longer u21, last sundays programme mistaken. had a great game against Kerry, excellent prospect

  31. This is a game that we should not only be targeting the 2pts but also giving our scoring difference a major boost by going all out from the throw in to win this game by 15+ pts. Just as it was last year – scoring difference could be the difference between relegation, survival or a semi final spot. I concur with the arguments that we should be naming a strong team for this one. Westmeath are struggling at the moment so we need to be ruthless and take full advantage…

  32. I certainly agree with you in regards to Donal Vaughan switch to midfield. A defenders first priority is to defend and his style of play does not suit defence, im afraid.Placing him at midfield would give some mobility to that area and he would be able to express himself more.

  33. The game i watched when they played the Dubs was a not a great game.The Dubs were there for the taking but Westmeath jus didn’t have it in them.Dublin had improved a lot since that game.I just don’t think they will cope with the intensity of Mayo i really don’t.

  34. With all this talk about team selections and positional switches, has anyone ever considered moving AOS to full back. Now there is a guy that would command the square and wouldn’t be dragged all over the pitch either – even for one match I’d love to see it…..

  35. Harrison is 22 this year, and is doing well. I hope McHale is at 3, and that Darren Coen gets game time. He is a fine footballer. Westmeath will be hard to beat. Their backs are to the wall and they are a dangerous crowd in this position. They finished their league strongly last year. I believe we should shade it but expect a tough encounter as WJ said at the top of the page

  36. You might be onto something there Mayo McHale … has he ever played there for club or county? Would be an interesting experiment.

    At the risk of being blacklisted on here, I think Aido, while he has superb strength (which we lack elsewhere) and on a good day is an excellent ball-winner, he lacks mobility and pace (as we saw on 22nd Sept), he tends to over-carry and when it comes to shooting, he makes me nervous! But then, he’s a powerhouse on a good day – we all saw what he did to Donegal. But out of curiosity, I wonder how he’d perform in the full-back position.

    Not that I’m advocating losing Ger – I too agree 100% with Cloud9. Caff needs to stay back. And let’s face it, when you have a depleted half-back line, your full back is always going to be under pressure, as we’ve seen at various points so far this year. I just hope this will be addressed sooner rather than later, but it really appears to me so far that the sideline is far more responsive and communication is better than in previous years, which is encouraging.

    From this weekend on, we need to be winding down the experiments and starting to bed in players. One of the reasons an extended league run would be nice. I can understand the lack of desire for it last year, but this year with NY in May, it’d do us no harm at all.

    Incidentally, was the Connacht semi-final always scheduled for Monday 9th June? I had it in the diary for the 8th, but GAA.ie has it down for the 9th. Assume it’s a TV scheduling thing.

  37. Almost certain Harrison is not u21. Stephen Coen is though, and will be a key player against Roscommon. Would be surprised to see him play this weekend.

  38. Ah here lads and lassies, listen I have much respect for both of your opinions on this forum but I feel ye are wrong on this one. AOS at full back? I can imagine him taking a handpass from Hennelly then putting the head down and soloing from his own 14 yard line, losing the ball by the time he has reached the 45 and scores against us from everywhere from turnovers. Hes not a full back anyway, not a natural defender. He’s actually a most frustrating player, because he can win ball at midfield like no other in Ireland, but why oh why does he persist with that rotten habit of soloing through massed ranks of opposition defenders?? Against top sides it normally ends with a dispossession, or at best a desperation handpass out of a ruck of players while surrounded, to another man is a static position 5 metres away, who is then pounced upon by the same defence. Inside forwards must be going crazy watching the likes of him holding onto the ball out the field while the space they need inside is being gobbled up by retreating defenders on the back foot due to outfield lads taking the extra solo or two. O Shea’s performance against Donegal last year should be his template for the future. Win the ball, lay it off, work like a dog. That’s all we need from him to maximise his effectiveness.

  39. The seats in the stand in Cusack Park are the most uncomfortable I have ever sat on because they consist of two narrow planks. A cushion of some sort would be a great idea – otherwise stand on the terrace. The bill outstanding on MacHale Park may be formidable but at least it is comfortable.

  40. Who are the 6 people who think that Mayo will not beat Westmeath? No disrespect to Westmeath but they must be having a laugh. Are you ‘aving a laugh? AOS in the back line? Absolute bonkers idea, unless it’d be a cunning plan to decieve other teams into thinking that we haven’t a bulls notion how to shore up the leaks. Mnnn maybe and we could stick Conroy between the sticks, he’d be brilliant at the sliding full leg extension saves.

  41. You just get the feeling that to see the best of AOS, that he needs to be at peak or very close to peak fitness, as we seen him in the game against Donegal last year. Other players can get away, with not being fully fit, at this time of the year but I don’t think that he can. As for him playing full-back, he just would not have the pace for that position. Imagine if you had a speedy full-forward on him, their is no way that he would be able to cope with that. We seen last year also that he’s not a CHF either. Midfield is his best position IMO.

  42. Yeah Mac’s left boot & HopeSpringsEternal maybe you’re right – I can see that in my head and it’s not pretty! Ok scrap that. 🙂 I too find watching him to be a frustrating experience at the best of times especially when you can see the potential. That said, I don’t mean to be overly critical – as I said before, on a good day, he’s a colossus. Agree – definitely not a CHF and I’m glad that particular experiment has’t been repeated this year …

  43. RE Vaughan to Midfield

    I think he could be our Michael Darragh McCauley.

    Very similar players IMO.
    both strong, good runners on the ball, pick up breaking ball, keep the head up and can take scores!!!

  44. Relax you guys ’twas a bit tongue-in-cheek maybe, but other than that magnificent performance against a very poor Donegal, he hasn’t all together set the world on fire. You only have to read your own comments above, which by the way I agree with, to realize he’s far from the complete mid-fielder we all thought he was going to be, he’s not a half forward or indeed a full forward either. His biggest problem is his pace – he hasn’t got any and in my opinion he never will. But yet ha’s the sort a player you can’t do without either – conundrum for sure. So back to my tongue-in-cheek idea, I did say for one game and by staying in the square, unlike Cafferkey who gets dragged all over the place, I’m convinced Aidan could do a job…..

  45. Jesus christ guys and gals…AOS at full back??
    Ah we suffer with the high long ball into the full backline…best throw AOS in there sure he can be our David Brady from 06 to rescue the situation. That’s that problem solved there anyway, we should all put our names forward for the job when James calls it a day.

  46. My 11 y.o. is on crutches but wants to go to the game. Are there arrangements for people with reduced mobility? Who would you contact?

  47. Calm yourself there, Alf. Maybe have a nice cup of tea. I thought this board was for discussion? Stranger things have been talked about, and indeed tried. Sounds to me like your name should be top of that list – you’re certainly clear on what *not* to do 😉

  48. I had a couple of months on them myself last year Sinabhuil. I never contacted anyone before a match, turned up early with whoever was bringing me and got parked either inside or beside the gate. Even got a VIP parking pass into the Hogan stand organised by a good mate. Didn’t take the offer though on that one, prefer to be in the trench’s with the troops 🙂

    As Anne Marie said above, no harm contacting the county board, the stewards on the ground on the day though are very helpful when they see someone in crutch’s, give yourself plenty of time before and after the match.

  49. For Me Line up should be
    2 Harrison ___3Caff___4Higgins
    5Keegan_6 Vaughan__7Boyle
    _______8 AOS__9SOS
    ___________13 Doc

    Freeman as his name states on the frees
    Doc allowed out to half forward line
    Carolan deeper for breaks
    Continue with Moran at 11 see how goes
    I still would like to see Keegan giving free reigns around midfield and far prefer him on the ball to Vaughan , if we have an equivalent to MDara its Keegan.

    Gallagher would be given a breather moreso than being dropped

    Looking forward to u21 game also Coen,, O Conor, Gallagher, Loftus and Regan are all exciting talents

  50. Anne-Marie, blessed are the peace-makers, for a minute there I thought I was a gonner 🙂

  51. Nope but I heard Roscommon bate Armagh out the gate in a challenge match and the Rossies were missing 6 starters!!

  52. Darren Coen is a fine player but I feel his cousin Stephen will be even better. What is the ideal time to blend in minors into the senior squad. I feel it should be done as early as possible but massive work on physique is needed as soon as the minor championship is over. This could lead to a bad year where their bodies adapt to the increased bulk. This would also be dependant upon them having completed their leaving cert. Very hard for leaving certs to train to senior standard.

  53. You can’t possibly expect 18 year old lads to load their bodies with the same resistance and weights that fully matured athletes do. At 17/18/19 years of age they will be experiencing different rates of development in terms of their physique and their programmes will have to be tailored to each individual and his body type. You run the risk of causing injury to a young lad if you push them too much too soon.
    Given the fitness levels of the senior game currently, and in particular the impact between players of 75kg or 85kg while running at maybe 15 kph, it is no place for a gangly 18 year old weighing 65kg. I believe it is very much on an individual basis and that decision must be left up to the S&C lads in conjunction with management. For instance, you may have an 18 year old built like a brick shit house that you know can physically compete on the field and that’s fine. But you may also have a lighter gangly 18 year that has all the technical attributes you could wish for, but would get creeled at senior inter county level.
    Very much on a case by case basis in my opinion.

  54. IS that under 21match next week and I see that the under 21 mangers is not going to involve the. 2 castle bar lads proper order I funny feeling Kildare might beat the dubs I am changing my mind about Kildare again

  55. I’m with you on this Anne-Marie, this board is for discussion, and your points are valid, good observations.
    Part of the fun of having a place like this is that we can kick around ideas such as moving Aido to FB…no harm in talking about it, for we all want to see him doing well and by extension the team.

    Mayo MacHale brings up a good point though, his pace. he needs to be fit to be really effective…and he looks as if he’s off the pace right now. I can live with that at this point in the season.
    Come late August and September is when we want him fully primed, fully fit..and burshtin’ with confidence.

  56. I’d agree with you Pebblesmeller…if the talent is there, then the S&C guys must work with the individual. But developing that physique at an early age can be risky.

  57. totally agree pebblesmeller creeled is the word remember eamon brett in connaught final v sligo in sligo in thedrawn final he was creled after 3 minutes by a brutual hit ,ruined one the finest footballers ever to play for mayo ,he was never the same player after that he was just out of the minors at the time

  58. Yep, I’d sooner we were a half a yard behind now than in August and September.

    Agree re the discussion – I’d never claim to be an expert but I’ve learned a lot just from hanging out in here and reading posts by people who obviously know the game really well, and I love the abundance of ideas. Watching the developments in the panel and team, I sometimes suspect that even the powers-that-be sneak in for a read 😉

    (Just in case there was any doubt Alf Stewart, I was joking up above. Re-read it there and it looks a bit snarky which wasn’t the intention – the tone can get lost in translation sometimes :))

  59. Ah Anne-Marie & Mayo McHale, you just never know, imagine if Kieran Donaghy did hit top form again and we were to meet them later in the summer, then we really would be looking for someone to stop him in his tracks before he destroys us again! With The Gooch gone, they might be using a different strategy this year. As unlikely as it is, that Donaghy will be the player he was in 2006, you just never know in sport. That’s why the bookies are rich and the punters are poor. At the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat, wishing, hoping and praying for success for Mayo in 2014!

  60. No – fear of losing, not of Westmeath. Lose and we are back to square one or thereabouts.

  61. Jaysus lads and lassie there is no full back worry!; I have in mind a corner forward (who shall remain nameless) that would have the ball out of the ‘danger zone’ in a jiffey and out to the safety of the corner flag????????????????

  62. Yeah AndyD, James Horan actually wants us to be spoken about as a big team, title contenders and not be fearful of being favourites. He wants us to feel at ease among the elite teams. In general, the bigger teams get the 50/50 calls in the big games. Remember when Man Utd were a big team, they always seemed to get the big calls going their way but not so much any more. I actually thought in the Kerry game, we had a few calls go our way, which was great to see, as in the past Kerry would probably would have got the benefit of the doubt rather than us. Any advantage at all that we can get, we will take it!

  63. Yeah catcol, Westmeath have us and Kerry at home, so at the moment they still have a slight glimmer of hope of staying in Division 1. We really need to extinguish that glimmer of hope and not get dragged into a dog fight to stay up, like we did last year, so hopefully we will have learned from last year.

  64. Totally agree citog regarding this alleged fb crisis. Ger Caff is in my mind the best fb in the country, he actually did well on brogan in last years final, its robbie hennelly who was at fault for the first goal imo. The second, caff was out numbered nothing he could do. In 2012 kevin keane was at fault for both goals. Valid points been made regarding caff been pulled around the place, thats easy remedied….stay back infront of goal and let his marker up thd pitch.

    Its a forward with genuine pace and power along with an ability to get 3-4 points from play is what we need. Not a new fb. A sweeper system would easily shore up the defence.

  65. Agree on the sweeper – Could be worth trying Vaughan as a sweeper once Chris Barrett comes back. Would maybe stop Caf from having to stray too far from home and protect us on the fast counter attach (Dubs etc).
    Nows the time to try these things out. We need to be able to adapt.

  66. I love how this has turned into a “get Caff out” campaign in the eyes of some here. It’s really not – Caff to me has been a hero and had it not been for him in Sept, we’d have been looking at a trouncing. I think this conversation was only ever about AOS … but anyway, we’ve been well and truly beaten down at this stage 😉

    As for the other, I’ll not comment 😀

  67. Sinabhuil, Cusack Park is located on a narrow back street without much parking. Best get there early and advise the Westmeath Co Board of the position beforehand. There is parking fairly close by but not on the access road itself.

  68. Agree that overdoing the gym work at too early a stage in a young players development can be very injurious. All players vary in their development and few are ready for heavy gym work at 18. Also while a lighter young player can be worth playing he should not be expected to get into physical confrontations with older stronger players. I have seen too many broken collar bones and dislocated shoulders from these unequal battles.

  69. There is always a forward lurking around the square or not too far from it in the modern game. With the new rules about the square it would be madness for a forwardline to neglect having a player equipped to exploit them close to the square.. Against Kildare Tomás O’Connor started corner forward and while Caff followed the No 14 around O’Connor drifted into the square and we know what he did when there. Caff should have been on the square picking him up. He is the best of our team for that job by miles. Regards AOS he is not so much lacking pace but needs to realise that not every midfielder is going to stand shoulder to shoulder with him for kickouts and adjust his game accordingly.

  70. Spot on there Anne-Marie, this was never about Caff just a bit of fooling around AOS while we’re still in the off season, and if either of the two guys were ever to take a peak in here, I’m sure they would have a good laugh. Anyway there’s enough experts on the site who do the serious stuff, so a bit of banter can do no harm.

    So now while I’m on the subject and again a bit tongue-in-cheek, how about Caff moving to centre-field. He is after all a fine athlete, a very good fielder of the ball and might enjoy the freedom away from the house…..

  71. Agree with that lineout, would like Drake to get more game time, also Donie further up and The Doc at 12

  72. Its up to the managment to make the call on whether caff sticks or go’s so to speak, your spot on regarding tomas o connor, surprised that jh didnt spot that and act accordingly. Ya, i think vaughan would be the perfect sweeper, has good height for high balls and great strength in the tackle.

  73. You’d wonder are the days of the sweeper system, being used by the top teams almost at an end, for the moment anyway? Last year Dublin’s philosophy was to score more than the opposition. Even Tyrone, the architects of the modern day sweeper system have ditched it. Donegal are playing much more attacking football as well. Kerry or Cork never really used a sweeper system. Actually in their games in the league so far, Westmeath have being playing with withdrawn half-forwards, which has not pleased their supporters (from reading some of their GAA forumns). It’ll be interesting to see what style of play they will use on Sunday against us. Will they continue to use this system of withdrawn half-forwards or go for broke and try to attack Mayo from the start? They are the lowest scorers in Division 1, having a for total of 32 and against 57. So far their philosophy has been one of damage limitation. Our stats are, for 60 and against 62. So far we have scored almost double what they have scored and conceded 5 more.

  74. Respectfully disagree with you Juan. He’s good yes, but by no means is he the best in the country.
    With respect to how he did on Brogan last year,

    In the AIF, Brogan scored 2-3, 2-2 of that from play.
    In the league semi, Brogan scored 5 pts, 4 from play.
    In the league, round 3, Brogan hit us up for 1-10 , 1-4 of which were from play.
    That’s just against Dublin . I could go on.
    Another fact is that whatever matches we play and teams we meet along the way, out number 1 objective is to win Sam. All reasonable ppl believe that Dublin are the best team in the country and still the team to beat so if we are to end our famine, it’s Dublin we must go through. Sure, we might have to dispatch a Tyrone/Donegal and a Cork/Kerry to get there, but it’s Dublin that we must beat, and we don’t have any answer to the Brogan problem, at least not yet. Thems are the facts lads.

  75. Some very good stats there Mister Mayor in relation to Brogan. What I think is, if we are to reach the summit we need a two pronged approach. We don’t have a Brogan, a Murphy or The Gooch. What we do need is that whoever is playing upfront, we just need to take the majority of the chances that we create. Against Kerry, Alan Freeman scored 1-5, 1-2 from play. Jason Doherty scored 1-1 from play. If we were playing Dublin tomorrow, we’d need them to do the same thing. Both players had 100% stats, in terms of chances got and scores taken. If Cillian was playing you’d expect him to be scoring too and we need Andy Moran and Kevin McLoughlin as well to chip in. When we played Dublin in the league semi-final last year, we went 3 points up and we had some great goal scoring chances, we just didn’t take them. As was the case against Tyrone in Omagh as well, in the league this year. When Dublin and Tyrone got their chances they took them. In relation to the goals that we concede, a lot of them, especially in the big games, are more down to errors or mistakes that we make at the back. Are these errors due to nerves, anxiety or a lack of concentration at key times. Take the first goal that we conceded against Dublin in the All-Ireland final, it was just a long ball into our area, which we should have dealt with. Even if their was a sweeper there, it would have went over his head. Also the second goal that we conceded against Donegal in 2012, our defender had his hands on the ball but dropped it, again that was just a basic error. If we had even prevented those two goals, we would have had a great chance of winning. Also we have a very bad habit of conceding goals, just after we score one. Dublin got their second one just after Andy Moran scored, was that a lapse in concentration on our part. We just need to cut out the basic errors and take more of our chances, its easier said then done I suppose.

  76. HopeSpringsEternal says:
    March 6, 2014 at 12:03 am

    “You’d wonder are the days of the sweeper system, being used by the top teams almost at an end, for the moment anyway? Last year Dublin’s philosophy was to score more than the opposition. Even Tyrone, the architects of the modern day sweeper system have ditched it. Donegal are playing much more attacking football as well.”

    I really don’t believe all these teams are now going for man for man. They’re pressing higher up the pitch but they still have players, typically half-backs or even a midfielder dropping back to play sweeper on occasion. Donegal still play with at least three dedicated sweepers.

    One of the reasons why Mayo destroyed Donegal last year was because Higgins and Keegan were often playing sweeper in front of the square -covering Murphy when he went to full-forward, with Barrett and A. O’Shea going to half-back alongside Vaughan.

    The black-card will favour forwards in one-on-ones, so the importance of cover, i.e. zonal defending is more crucial than ever. Another reason to keep Higgins in defence.

  77. I enjoyed reading some of the comments on Cafferky and AOS made me laugh.I think his best position is in Full back.I agree with Mayo 3G that the black card will favour towards in one on one situations.I would have thought if anything to try stop the attack before it gets going so i would hope to see Mayo exert a huge amount of pressure on the Westmeath back line and hopefully dominate midfield.For our own attack i hope to see more running at the Westmeath backs playing nice direct football with lads running for each other.Not too much to ask for hah?

  78. Yeah Mayo3G, at the moment most teams are playing a lot more attacking football but as the year goes on and the stakes get higher, it’ll be very interesting to see will teams then become more defensive minded. My main point was, yes we are conceding a lot of goals in the big games, so a lot of people have said that we need a sweeper to solve this problem. I just feel a lot of the goals that we give away, in the big games, are sloppy or needless goals to give away. One example I gave was, one of our defenders dropping the ball and the opposition taking advantage of this. Again I think that a sweeper would not have prevented this goal been scored. I remember Donnacha Walsh speaking about the goal he scored against Dublin in last year’s semi-final, he was asked, why didn’t he celebrate the goal? He said that the first thing in his mind was to get back into his position for Dublin’s kick-out. I also heard the Kerry manager say that, when Dublin are behind the ball boys give the ball to Cluxton straight away and then he launches an attack as quickly as possible. When their ahead the ball is not given as quickly to Cluxton, he takes a lot more time with his kick-outs then. So it’s all these little things that add up as well, been cute, streetwise and just being totally switched on at all times during the game and even during breaks in play.

  79. Horan’s finally playing a target-man on the square. Freeman must have been insulted watching McLoughlin play full-forward but maybe it was the kick up the arse that he needed?

    Varley has earned a start. Expect a strong team. Have to get Moran on the ball more if he’s our play-maker, maybe even keep him on the forty to feed off the two men inside, Gallagher didn’t do much here last weekend.

    My point about the black card and one-on-ones is that you have to limit these opportunities – that means coverage, men back choking up the space. I honestly think we’ll see more and more sweeper systems as a result. Donegal will find a way, I’m not sure if they’ve even suffered a black card yet.

  80. Yes, attitude is crucial.

    The black card will change how teams defend, you can bet on that. How will Jimmy McGuinness handle it? Zonal defending might become more sophisticated with cover in place to block up the running lanes.

    A dedicated sweeper in front of the square is only usefull if the high-ball is coming in early and often. Horan’s tactics against Donegal were masterfull. Higgins and Keegan could drop back from ‘wing-back’ positions to cover Murphy whenever he pushed up, with Barrett and A. O’Shea becoming half-backs. It was flexible and it worked.

  81. Totally agree Mayo3G and especially about Moran been given more ball. Moran in a way reminds me of the gooch how he can spot players in space . Great having freeman cause any half way decent ball into him he will get the majority of them . No harm having other teams then getting distracted about them may leave gaps for our other forwards . Roll on Sunday 🙂

  82. Yeah, we may not see him again at full-forward (and I feel Cillian O’Connor may be a better partner for Freeman), but when Moran gets on the ball, things happen.

    Maybe he’s playing too deep? Keep him on the forty. McLoughlin can do the grafting at midfield, maybe even Doherty going by last weekend’s showing. I would expect to see a very fit Andy once the championship starts, O’Connor too. That gives Horan serious options inside.

  83. HopeSpringsEternal, I’m not a Liverpool supporter but it was Shankly that said “the best sides come alive when the ball goes dead”.
    We are not bad at defending from the front on opponents kick outs it is more getting hit for goals AFTER we score them, last years All Ireland and even the last day against Kerry. We scored in injury time at the end of the first half and they had goaled 3 minutes into the second half. Need to be sharper.

  84. Sunday is a chance for the older members of the panel to prove they are entitled to their place in the panel before the under21 players show what they have to offer on wednesday

  85. Ya i go along with that around the 40 the best position for him i think . I have to say i was proud of my own club man Dotherty he took his goal well and his point even better. Bit disappointed he didnt really get a run out i the championship last year . I dont think he was injured?

  86. Maybe have Andy in half forwards an little cillian in the corner where he is a goal treat. Also a Gallagher in the half forwards as well

  87. Donal Vaughan is not a midfielder. Never was. So we are now looking at a possible 4 midfielders to play on Sunday. Aiden and Seamus O’ Shea,
    Jason Gibbons, and Donal Vaughan. Its backs and scoring forwards we require and not another midfielder. Vaughan has his work to do at CHB, and when the ground gets dryer and more solid the I am confident you will see Shane McHale making this position his own. As I stated in previous Donal Vaughan is a good athlete but not a good footballer.

  88. Let the U21 win their championship match and prove themselves. The older members ( who are they?) have proven themselves time and time again. You have hit the nail on the head on your name “to win just 1”. That is true of our past under 21’s.

  89. Yeah Pebblesmeller, we have a strange team indeed, we have defenders who score really well and forwards who defend from the front really well, maybe we should switch our forwards and backs around for one game and see how they get on! Now that would be a really radical plan to try out. All joking aside, conceding goals after we score is a real killer. I remember the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry, Cillian scored a great goal to get us back in the game. Then Kerry came down the field and The Gooch scored almost straight away. Being alert at all times is crucial.

  90. I’d actually like to see Lee Keegan given a run at mid-field, if we wanted to have a different option there. Cian O’Sullivan was a very good half-back for Dublin, then he was moved to mid-field, where he was one of Dublin’s most important players. Last year he was moved back and forth between mid-field and the half-back line. He actually ended up as a corner back for the last 10-15 minutes in the All-Ireland final, when Dublin were in trouble back there. That’s a real horses for courses attitude. Also I thought when Richie Feeney played right half-back against Dublin in the 2012 semi-final, (he replaced Lee Keegan who got injured) had one of his best games in a Mayo jersey that day. Having plenty of options in all positions could be key, later in the summer, with the black card now being in place. We know that Lee Keegan is well able to score anyway. He is also one of the vice-captains, which shows he has leadership qualities too, which could be of great use, further up the field, if needed.

  91. Bernard Brogan invariably plays left corner forward for Dublin yet Caff is always asked to mark him. So because he does not wipe out the best [or one of the best two – considering Gooch] corner forward in the country we criticise his full back play. Granted the game demands greater flexibility from players now than in the past but management must have their minds made up that nobody is going to do a better job on Brogan than Caff even if he is playing out of position to do so. Whatever position needs strengthening it is not No 3.

  92. Yeah it nearly always seems to be the case that Ger ends up on the wrong player. He wouldn’t be the fastest player in our full back-line but for some reason he seems to end up marking one of the opposition’s fastest players. This just does not suit him. I thought in the first half against Kerry in the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final, he had a really good game against Kieran Donaghy, who went on to play very well against the Dubs in the final. Again you would have thought that he’d have been better suited to marking a player like Tomas O’Connor against Kildare. When he’s marking someone like that, he can get much closer to them and he always gets a hand in etc. to do enough to get the ball away from his direct opponent. He plays very well against those type of forwards. You’d think that Keith Higgins should get the job of marking the opposition’s most speedy forward playing on the full-forward line, he’s not called zippy for nothing. Then let Caff mind the square.

  93. Just found [from Roscommon GAA website] that the U21 match v Rosc is on Weds 12th March in Castlebar [MacHale Park]. Time not given but it will probably be 7.30 or 8 pm. One might reasonably expect that this info would be on the Connacht GAA site but no, that would seriously affect its rating as the most useless website yet invented.Didn’t get it on the Mayo website either but got a raft of U16 hurling and football fixtures. The national website gives the All Ireland SF on Sat 19th April and final on Sat May 3rd. Clash with our date in New York? Maybe it won’t affect us!

  94. I got these details on another forumn:

    Extra Time in all games

    Pre Lim:
    Wednesday 12th March
    A: Mayo v Roscommon Mac Hale Park

    Semi Finals
    Wednesday 19th March
    Sligo v Winners A Mac Hale Park/Kiltoom

    Saturday 22nd March
    Leitrim v Galway Carrick on Shannon

    Saturday 5th April

  95. On brillent are you sure it’s mc hale park cause presenter on mid west says Hyde park and am bit confused hopefully mayo win we owe them one.

  96. Wondering if anyone can give me a lift to the Westmeath Game this Sunday I am coming in from Bray so can make it into town for pick up if it suits?

    Any offers welcome!!!

  97. Mayomaningalway says:
    March 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    “Ya i go along with that around the 40 the best position for him i think . I have to say i was proud of my own club man Dotherty he took his goal well and his point even better. Bit disappointed he didnt really get a run out i the championship last year . I dont think he was injured?”

    He’s a natural full-forward but he wasn’t going to budge Moran and Conroy from Horan’s plans. He played midfield against Kerry and he didn’t look out of place. He’s tough and he can pick a pass. We might see him starting at 10 or 12 if he keeps it up.

  98. Ya id like to see a bit more of him . I think if he is on form he will show his potential . Id say he will get a run out again against Westmeath . Will see then how he goes.

  99. He’s earned a run-out along with Varley.

    I’d like to see Hennelly hitting the wing with his kickouts and with a big man like Doherty who can field ball it would take some of the pressure off centre-field. Dublin do this. They’re playing five midfielders, sometimes six with Paddy Andrews fielding ball aswell. Right now Hennelly drives all his kickouts down the middle with the odd short one.

  100. Ya and when Mayo were loosing the midfield battle for most of the game against Kerry it was pretty frustrating watching him kick ball after ball down the middle instead of mixing it up and as you said use the wings .I wonder will Freeman take over the roll of the 45s? He has some boot on him 🙂

  101. I’ve posted many times that Caff has not become a bad player overnight. Jez we forget very fast that going in to the AIF last September, he was in pole position with most observers for the No3 All Star jersey. And he was in second place for that honour with practically everyone else.

    Basically he lost that due to 2 moments of magic by many peoples star marquee finisher, who despite having a quiet year in 2013, is always capable of finishing on anyone.

    Then remember the acres of space in these pages devoted to the hope that Caff wasn’t going to take a year out travelling to Oz and the US?

    So what’ has changed so much – well for sure, opposition managers are having. Caff pulled away from goal and he’s not comfortable. Our management did nothing about this in Kildare and it cost us the match, and it has been the biggest contribution to high score being put up against us. Caff isn’t the problem – management should be making the moves to counter this with out markers doing the chasing and Caff mind the house.

    All the chasing out after players and torn between covering back or sticking with the runner has him torn and left him loosing focus and caught in no-mans-land once or twice in the second-half last Sunday.

    Personally, I start McHale for the first half at 3 and play Caff there in the second half with a clear brief to man the front of the goal inside the 13 metres. However, I would like to see him tackle harder and more persistent and be harder in the contact areas.

    My message would be “Don’t right off Caff. off – put him back on his best track”.

  102. Agree it is a massive game for Mayo.

    In recent years Roscommon development squads from U14 up wards to minor (one exception) have been consistently more advanced and better resourced than others in Connacht.

    The exception really was our minors beating their fancied minors last year, mainly due to a strong start and they went on to knock the championship favs. Kildare out in the Q-Final.

    Now our senior team is equally more advanced than other Connacht senior teams, so next Wednesday will provide a great insight in to wither this strong Rossie’s team and their more intense system is better than our less intense under-age policy. Now that most have experience the fast pace of college football and senior club football, the U-21 grade is the graduation class.

    If we win Wednesday, I will be happy enough naturally (even with our much bigger player base) but if we lose, the county board should look more closely at all aspects of our under-age development system including the funding of it!

  103. Excellent analysis of both development models there cloud 9.

    Roscommon though have one very big elephant in the room in not having senior players the last while with experience of winning games to blend in with their youth , it has proven to be a big handicap for them imo. When you look at someone like Karl Mannion who announced his retirement this year , he went through his senior carrier without ever even beating Mayo or Galway.

    We don’t seem to put as much emphasis on winning teams , we seem more content in producing individuals like Cillian ,AOS etc and bringing them on through but there has been a bit of hush hush with u 21 challenge games of late, I have a hunch were going for this one .

    Last years 21s were a class outfit but didn’t look on fire at all v Galway in tuam .

    I believe we could do with winning this one to stop the losing run.

  104. Won v Donegal & lost to Cavan Tyrone in challenges. O Connor AOS Were seniors as teens they didn’t need u21 grade likewise with Gallagher now

  105. Yep they did make their debuts as teens with players like Dillon ,Trevor moort, Heaney , Moran etc to bring them along , men with multiple provincial honours and Croke park experience unlike Ross was my point .

  106. Jason Doherty announced his intentions on Sunday within a few minutes with some serious tackling, and carried though good spatial awareness, and excellent scoretaking all through the game.

    Last year he was our best forward in the league, and proved to be a reliable free taker into the bargain.

    Can not understand why he didn’t get game time when his injuries healed. Answers on a postcard…

  107. Yeah, dead right there. I heard Alex Ferguson saying that he’d almost have three teams within his team. One would be the up and coming youth players. Two would be the players in their mid twenties, at the peak of their careers. Three would be the older and more experienced players. He said that would then be almost like a conveyor belt of talent, all of the time, leading to success after success. As the older lads retired, were gotten rid of, (as Fergie was quite fond of doing!) there would always be other players to take their place. Therefore his teams never lacked experience, leadership, players at the peak of their careers or youthful ambitious players, who wanted to win silverware. It seemed to work well for him anyway for a lot of years. He must have given up on this the last few years though, when he knew that he was retiring, just ask David Moyes!

  108. Not many experience Roscommon players left, Sean McDermott has the experience of winning Sigerson cup the St Brigids players have won an club All Ireland, I think their starting team is now mostly made up of U21 players from the last 3,4 years and it will be another 2 or 3 years before they are expected to challenge any of the div one teams.

  109. Agree Sean and MO 2014, the Rossies have a very strong pool in the 18 to 24 year age bracket now but very few leaders to provide the right blend.

    But MayoMagic, I wouldn’t agree that just because we have been lucky with having some real talent make the jump from minor to senior, that we shouldn’t use the U-21 grade as it should be. We all saw Adam Gallagher being pushed about last Sunday by the Kerry lads – he should achieve his maturing as player, body development and confidence at U-21 level and with third level teams, with gradual training and challenge match introduction to senior level.

    Remember all the raving being done (and rightly so) about the directness and finishing of Tommy Goals Conroy last year. The lighter guys like home with real talent will be lost to the county game if we don’t take our U-21 seriously.

    Just look what has happened in Kerry!

    And interesting Fergie observation there HSE. The only problem I suppose is that managers are usually around for such a short time, that the pressure to take shortcuts in search of any success is great.

    The development of our best underage Gaelic footballers has to be the responsibility of the County Board to put in place the best possible, well funded structures, that are there whoever the managers are!

  110. Cloud9 i think you picked me up wrong, some players stand out at minor level and don’t need the U21 grade to get noticed/given the chance at senior level. Others need to developed at U21 level.college football etc.. most of the minors from last year certainly. Gallagher isn’t a corner forward and after last Sunday James Horan & co will know that.

  111. Wow, Horan names Ciaran Macdonald on team for Sunday.

    Personally I think this is a really daft move and very surprised at Horan , I mean he’s 39 and only back playing club football a couple of weeks.

  112. Sean
    What time did you head to town today? And secondly, I hope your calling a taxi to bring you home.

    When is the team being named?

  113. The team has been named:

    Mayo travel to Mullingar this Sunday 9th March to take on Westmeath in Round 4 of the Allianz Football League. James Horan has made 4 changes to the side that defeated Kerry last weekend in Castlebar. Into the team come Kevin Keane, Donal Vaughan, Enda Varley & Mickey Sweeney in the place of Andy Moran, Shane McHale, Adam Gallagher & Michael Conroy. The Mayo Senior Football Team to face Westmeath is as follows:

    1) Robbie Hennelly – Breaffy
    2) Brendan Harrison – Aghamore
    3) Ger Cafferkey – Ballina Stephenites
    4) Kevin Keane – Westport
    5) Lee Keegan – Westport (Capt.)
    6) Donal Vaughan – Ballinrobe
    7) Colm Boyle – Davitts
    8) Aidan O’Shea – Breaffy
    9) Jason Gibbons – Ballintubber
    10) Kevin McLoughlin – Knockmore
    11) Jason Doherty – Burrishoole
    12) Keith Higgins – Ballyhaunis
    13) Enda Varley – Garrymore
    14) Alan Freeman – Aghamore
    15) Mickey Sweeney – Kiltane

  114. Team for Sunday

    1) Robbie Hennelly – Breaffy
    2) Brendan Harrison – Aghamore
    3) Ger Cafferkey – Ballina Stephenites
    4) Kevin Keane – Westport
    5) Lee Keegan – Westport (Capt.)
    6) Donal Vaughan – Ballinrobe
    7) Colm Boyle – Davitts
    8) Aidan O’Shea – Breaffy
    9) Jason Gibbons – Ballintubber
    10) Kevin McLoughlin – Knockmore
    11) Jason Doherty – Burrishoole
    12) Keith Higgins – Ballyhaunis
    13) Enda Varley – Garrymore
    14) Alan Freeman – Aghamore
    15) Mickey Sweeney – Kiltane

  115. Disappointed to see Higgins named in forwards again . Thought he was very good back in his normal position last Sunday and our backs were better as a result. No major gripes other than that. Hope Sweeney justifies his supporters expectations. Haven t seen him in action but wish him the best of luck. Would just like to say don’t judge him on this game alone. If he plays well it doesn’t mean he s the missing link and if it doesn’t go well for him it doesn’t mean he should be confined to the scrap heap. Like everyone else he deserves a few games before judgement is passed. Interesting to note no U21 s picked .I agree with that.

  116. Looks like a chance for some lads to play themselves, on or off the team.
    A big game for Kevin Keane, Varley and Doherty.

  117. You have to look at de bigger picture regarding Higgins. We know what he does in de backs but he can add something different to forwards – PACE !

  118. I just saw Jack O’Connor on Seo Spoirt suggest AOS at FF flanked by Alan Freeman and COC. He reckoned if it was developed now in the league and in training it would be a very powerful FF line; that that was Mayo’s weakness before so they had to use the corners which was very easy to defend. Food for thought!!
    He also mentioned Keegan at centre field and they couldn’t understand why Freeman was taken off in the Final.

  119. Solid half back line some interesting forward choices. Should have more than enough to beat Westmeath.

  120. To win just once – totally agree about Mikey Sweeney. He deserves to get a good crack it. Goodness knows JH has given some other fringe forwards every possible chance.

    I suspect that Keith will be slotting in a central area behind midfield and maybe even sweeping forward from in front of Caff. I think that would make a lot more sense than persisting with a role that one of the best backs in the country does not want to fill!

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