Following Mayo's footballers

Team to play New York named

Our first team selection of the 2014 championship season was announced a short while ago and here it is:

Mayo (Connacht SFC v New York, 4/5/2014): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Kevin Keane (Westport), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Lee Keegan (Westport), Colm Boyle (Davitts), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe); Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy); Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber).

So it’s just one new championship debutant for Gaelic Park, with Ballintubber’s Diarmuid O’Connor – a member of last year’s All-Ireland winning minor team – lining out at right half-forward, joining an attack that already contains big brother Cillian.

Compared to our last championship selection – last September’s All-Ireland final against Dublin – there are four changes. Out go Ger Cafferkey, Chris Barrett, Alan Dillon and Alan Freeman and they’re replaced by Kevin Keane, Jason Gibbons, Diarmuid O’Connor and Jason Doherty.

Obviously, there are a number of positional switches involved in those changes too, with the most noteworthy one being the redeployment of Keith Higgins back to his more customary corner-back role. Seamus O’Shea lined out at midfield last September but he’ll start on the forty against New York.

Compared to the team that started in the League semi-final defeat to Derry a few weeks back, there are five changes. Out go Ger Cafferkey (who went off injured that day), Brendan Harrison, Shane McHale, Alan Freeman and Mikie Sweeney and in come Tom Cunniffe (who missed the Derry match through injury), Kevin Keane, Diarmuid O’Connor, Seamus O’Shea and Cillian O’Connor (who was also out injured then).

New York also named their team for Sunday earlier on today, featuring players from eleven different counties – full details here.

Comments

  1. MO2014 says:

    I won’t say this very often before a game but here goes.. Mayo by 15 to 20 points. All those out there enjoy ad safe travels.

  2. HopeSpringsEternal says:

    I actually don’t think that I’m that happy with that team. I’m glad to see Keith Higgins playing at no. 4 anyway but I’d prefer to see some more natural forwards up-front. There is no Alan Freeman, Mikey Sweeney or Adam Gallagher while their are two natural midfielders playing on the half-forward line and one of the best players at winning breaking ball, playing at corner forward. Some strange selections really. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s the team that lines out.

  3. Cait says:

    Hopefully mayo win and get the Rossies has conor loftus being overlooked or is he Injuried. Does anyone know. From cait

  4. Mayomaningalway says:

    Dont think Horan is has his mind totally made up yet or has he? Either way id like to see all our strongest 15 appearing soon enough.

  5. mayogary says:

    Any idea why Freeman doesn’t start?

  6. League Legends says:

    Interesting selection. Great to see Keith moving back. Like the SOS change to centre half forward. Interesting times….

  7. Pk says:

    I was in Ruislip on Horans first championship outing and tactically it was awful and we nearly lost. Now the last two games the sideline have had alot to answer for so I hope normal service can resume for 2014

  8. feár an chomórtais says:

    Very balanced look to the team, still puzzled why K Mc is in the corner, regardless as to where our lads play New York shouldn’t come out on top in any one of the 15 positions, so comprehensive victory ahead, and bigger sterner tests lie ahead where the games will hinge on our lads being lined out in their natural position! Hopefully the monsenior is working on a plan B and C etc…….

  9. Pj says:

    Hard to figure out why our top scorer in the league isn’t starting! But I suppose Andy is captain and he won’t leave him off. Is Adam Gallagher injured or what? Is he going to be forgotten about after giving a couple of MOTH performances earlier in the league.

  10. Anne-Marie says:

    I can only hope there’s a bigger plan behind the selection, cos that team has me bamboozled. Holding faith in Horan but it’s hard not to wonder at times what’s going on in his head.

  11. Mayo McHale says:

    There’s not a lot to be said about the team selection at this stage, or indeed the subs bench either, the whole thing is a celebration of the GAA across the way and a chance for Mayo folks to see their heroes in the flesh. The outcome of the match is a forgone conclusion anyway no matter who plays, but it’s a great occasion, and safe travelling to all who are making the trip !!!

  12. JJ says:

    This is the last chance to shake things up a little so I sort of understand this lineout. NY are an unknown quantity to me and probably to many on here so I suppose JH and Co are doing a horses for courses on this one as he will be privy to what we are up against and the individuals involved.
    Freeman is already proved as is Sweeney and Gallagher imo and are potent operators to call on if needed.
    Glad also to see KH apparently back in his best position and hopefully as alluded to above JH is formulating a backup plan.
    The League was really inconclusive for us and the in a way we should be grateful that we didn’t go on to contest the final against the Dubs as I feel they were close to their peak and we are not near ours yet, which could in itself be a good thing.
    The Dubs are really left with a false positive as Derry did not give them any contest at all, that said, both the Dubs and Monaghan gave a great display of how fast accurate ball wins matches whereas Derry and Donegal proved that ponderous, slow delivery and taking too much out of the ball is a one way ticket to nothing.
    Hope the split personality of our Mayo is more Dub/Monaghan like than Don/Derry from now till the end of September, we are well capable of it but we have to apply it in every game from now till then and so let it all begin in the Big Apple on Sunday next.
    MaighEo Abú

  13. mayo.mick says:

    As feár an chomórtais says, I hope JH is working on a plan B & C!

  14. Digits says:

    To me, this is a very Accommodating lineup. JH is playing players in different positions than ones they have struggled in so far, in the hope they will be more comfortable.

    Kevin Keane struggled out in the corner, so he brings him into full back.
    Keith struggled in the forwards, so back to corner back.
    Vaughan struggled to hold the fort in the centre, so he is accommodated out on the wing.
    Seamie struggled in midfield when he came on as a sub, so lets try him CHF.
    Andy took too much out of it when he was out around the middle, and doesn’t have the pace for the corner anymore, so FF is the only place he can be accommodated, where he will be forced to move the ball quickly and instinctively.

    We shall see.

  15. Mister Mayor says:

    I’m left scratchin’ me head after looking at that team selection. No Sweeney, no freezer? While I do like the Diarmuid O’Connor pick, Andy is lucky to get the 14 spot based on his recent form, captain or not!
    Having said that, I think we are still experimenting so I expect lots of changes and moves during the match. At least I hope so.

  16. We are promised rain for Sunday according to the New Jersey news channels. Still, I hope to travel the 75 miles to New York. It’s a funny team and I find it hard to figure out James Horan’s selections at times. Taking off Alan Freeman and Seamus O’Shea in last year’s final was implausible. If O’Connor got injured in that game, who would take the frees with Freeman gone? I expect a blowout on Sunday.
    Harry Dunleavy, Augusta, New Jersey

  17. Mayomagic says:

    Apart from 19 year old Diarmuid O’Connor given a run out i don’t see much experimenting on that Mayo line up. I’m surprised Horan has gone with such a strong 15 for this holiday challenge. The real stuff starts on June 8th.

  18. Patrick O Boyle says:

    Patrick O Boyle says:
    April 30, 2014 at 10:49 pm
    Well the Mayo team has been named and the positive news is that Keith Higgins is back at corner back which is without doubt his best position. Our attack is questionable and some strange selections. Alan Freeman should be at full forward, unless he is injured. The man named at number 14 is certainly not the player he was and played poor in the league. Im baffled about the exclusion of Mickey Sweeney, he was probably one of Mayo’s best player in the league. Centre half forward has been a problem area for us( see below) and it will be interesting to see how Seamus O Shea gets on there on sunday. The inclusion of Diarmuid O Connor in the half forward line is surprising, he probably will switch positions with Kevin Mc Loughlin. For what it’s worth my six forwards would be Kevin Mc Loughlin Richie Feeney Jason Doherty in the half forward line and Mikey Sweeney Alan Freeman Cillian O Connor in the full forward line. Andy Moran based on his recent performances would not be on, captain or not

  19. HopeSpringsEternal says:

    I see from the New York team that they have named a midfielder Ross Wherity, he played for Donegal last year, at no. 12 for the game against us. They have also named a player who played midfield last year for them, Gary O’Driscoll, at corner forward. Keith Higgins might be marking him if he moves out the field. With Brendan Quigley, the former Laois midfielder, also playing in midfield, maybe their tactic is to play a lot of big players around the midfield area to win as much possession as possible. Maybe this would explain the thinking behind including Seamus O’Shea and Diarmuid O’Connor on our half-forward line. Then leave Andy Moran and Cillian O’Connor in the full-forward line to exploit the space up-front as Kevin McLoughlin will probably move out the field.

  20. JPM says:

    H’mm – strange team selection. I don’t understand the Seamus O’Shea switch to CHF. What does this promise for the remainder of the championship? Diarmuid O’Connor as well. Ok he’s a young fella who will benefit from it but there are a lot of other young (and older) guys who have played better this season and are more natural in that position.

    Also glad Andy Moran is back in the FF line. Whether he remains there is another thing. Problem though is who is going to deliver the killer ball in . No obvious players in 1/2 backs, midfield or 1/2 fw lines who can pick 30 yard quick foot passes. It looks like a running team to me.

    Glad Keith is back at corner back. Would have liked to see Harrison played in the other corner though and Tom Cuniffe move to CHB. I think we need seasoned player coverage in all the the lines especially to cover black card offences.

  21. Rock says:

    If we were ever going to experiement this is the game to do it. Never expected JH to pick anything like his strongest side for NY.

  22. Peewee09 says:

    No suprises from 1-9 obviously bar Kevin Keane in for Ger Cafferky (case to be made for Shane McHale at 3, but Keane has done probably just enough to get the nod here). Glad Keith Higgins is back in the defence. I think up front is a different story. The only things i can think of with the forwards is that we are still in experimentation mode here and maybe JH is looking to finishing the game with a stronger team than starting all guns blazing ala what Jim Gavin has suggested he does. I believe the only reason the defence is as strong as it is, is that they have not played as a starting unit much this year yet and this game is ideal for getting minds and patterns of defensive play in place.

  23. Puckout says:

    I don’t know does JH do ‘experimental’. From previous sesasons once he names his first championship team he tends to make just one or two changes per game from then on.

    But as always the forwards are the issue, plenty of options – A Gallagher, Feeney, Dillon, Sweeney, Freeman, Coen, is another set of forwards with Varley & Conroy (& Higgins & B Moran). So that is 14 – 16 players but can we pick 6 that have the required attributes – scoring ability off right and left, pace, vision, workrate. Not many of the 16 listed tick all the boxes.

  24. catcol says:

    16? Puckout – did I miss something?

  25. John Cuffe says:

    I don’t know whether it was “Goal” or “Shoot!” but it was August 1973 and they were assessing the forthcoming Division One as it was known as back then. When they came to Leeds they demurred, they kindly described them as “the last throes of a team who underachieved”. Leeds went on an unbeaten 28 match run and won the title in a canter that season.

    I have always hesitated using the words “last throes” about any entity or team since then but I feel they are apt in relation to us. Wherever this outfit winds up , it will be the last run under the present format. In a way I am reminded by Eddie O Sullivans last couple of seasons and the World Cup in France. Rigid adherence to a first XV , begrudgingly bringing change only as necessary.

    In 2010 Freeman was our single shining light as we reeled and wobbled. Five seasons on could he/we say that he is a first team regular. Indeed could Doherty , Varley, Conroy, Sweeney, Carolan (when not injured), Feeney, Barrett, Gibbons, Barry Big…could any of those state they are shoe’d in first XV players? I dont think so, indeed I would add Seamus O SHea to that mix. Thats a lot of uncertainty. In comes young O Connor and a lot of stalwarts are looking around. I have to give lads full credit for hanging around for years in that scenario. And thats our problem, we cannot nail down what exactly the , in particular, forwards and midfield are.

    We have enough personnel to get to successive All Ireland finals but not win them. If thats the set list for the coming season then New York will get a tanking and maybe we will travel a long journey, maybe not, but I see a staleness in there. Good luck boys.

  26. KL says:

    Freeman and Cafferky are not considered because of injury

  27. Puckout says:

    Catcol, yes 16, the 6 that start on Sunday, and the 8 mentioned above (+higgins+ B Moran who are also options for the forwards). 16 options for the forwards and only C O’Connor would tick all the boxes.

  28. catcol says:

    touché Puckout.

    Take a lot of the points there.

    However, it seems that the modern game requires guys who are not out and out forwards; workrate might rate higher on the JH scale and ability to provide the scorers with the necessaries. That’s why I think that Diarmaid O’Connor would tick a lot of JH’s boxes, though I don’t think many of us would have predicted that he would be minor who would start the first championship game of 2014.

  29. Lobitin says:

    The only logical explanation for Freeman not starting has to be injury, He is by no means the best and most realible full forward in Ireland, but without him Mayo would have been relagalated, the matches we won, Freeman won them, only kevin McLoughlin came close, the scoring was’nt particulary heavy from any of the others i ncluding Cillian who got just about as much game tine as Freeman. Anyhow on current form its hard to see why Seamus O Shea got the start, he was way below last years standard when in my opinion he was Mayo’s best midfielder. Andy did not impress also, I think a players current form has to be taken into account, contary to reports in the ‘Connaught Telegraph’ there is no such thing as ‘Mayos best 15′ or any other team’s best 15!. Form, confidence, injury or lack of al, age and experience (sometimes age is not a number)l have to be taken into account. On current form, I’m delighted to see Jason Gibbons selected, he was the best midfielder in the entire league. Good Luck to the lads, hope they get a chance to let their hair down, they well deserve a break!

  30. Puckout says:

    No problem Catcol, take your point on the modern forward.

    Lobitin, I can’t see either on what grounds So’S or D O’C got the nod, but in James (and hopfully he’s listening to Buckley) we trust. Maybe these guys are showing up well in training.

  31. Juan says:

    Sos and Gibbons will switch i think, id also gamble on sweeney coming in for diarmud o connor and then switch with Kmac. That team will not line out as named. Moran very lucky to be starting imo, i dont care how much we win by aslong as we dont get sny injuries.

  32. David says:

    I think gibbons will be chf too, and the subs will be used up front mostly, 3 or 4 up front IMO.
    To any lads having pints around McLean ave over the weekend, be mindful of yourselves, cops will have you in a cell in a flash if you are jig acting or lying on the ground drunk. Just watch it around there.
    Another thing, don’t say anything as a joke to american security in the irish airports or when you arrive in the usa, your joke might be taken wrong and ruin your weekend.
    Not trying to alarm you, just a friendly bit of advice, I seen it go very wrong once or twice in my travels over small things that were blown out of proportion by bored “security personnel”

    I wonder what happened to mc Hugh in donegal? Not a great way of starting the championship for donegal, down a good player like that. Jim’s way or no way I suppose.

  33. Outside of boot says:

    Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber).

    Not to be overcritical but there is only 3 natural forwards in that lineup and in my opinion only one who can operate in full forward.

    Thought would have being good game to introduce Feeney, Freeman and Sweeney get their confidence going.
    KMc in the corner will work against weak opposition but what else are we learning . Playing Cillian and Andy ionside leaves us with little/no pace – exactly what Freeman and Sweeney bring.

    Fair play to DOC and best of luck to him but SOS at 11 makes no sense, if he changes him with JG its very unfair.
    Would prefer see somebody stake claims for the spine of the team but we still dont know our best no.6, no.11 or no.14 , by the look of things

  34. mayo/meath man says:

    In my opinion i think James is giving a run out to some lads that have trained hard all year , and may not get another chance for the rest of the year . Also a lot of people have been hounding on about James trying different players out and moving Keith Higgins to corner back ,also Frezzer is out injured .
    May we hope all the players come home without any serious injures.

  35. Dan says:

    I’ve been looking over that team for the past half an hour trying to understand the logic. I’m still here! Very surprising selections.
    I think Freeman must be injured, its the only possible reasoning behind his exclusion.

    Good to see Higgins back in the corner. But I’m also glad we experimented with him in the forwards during the league.
    He’s gained invaluable experience playing there and I’m sure we’ll see him back up there at certain points during the summer, depending on the opposition.
    Its good that we have varying options tactically

  36. catcol says:

    I see Aidan McLoughlin PRO quoted as saying (Hogan Stand) that the panel will be ‘open ended’ with no official squad being named.

    Think overall that the team is reasonably experimental. Keane being given another chance and he was ok against Derry, though NY shouldn’t tax him or anyone. Higgins and Cunniffe at the back will be trying to make a statement of intent of conceding very little. Should do this and it would be a good start.

    SOS at CHF – worth a try. Get the big men winning ball and try to maximise our aerial power. DOC, trying out a minor. Kevin Mac at corner, but will probably operate around centre anyway.

  37. richardmgd says:

    I think it is pretty clear as to what the experiment is in placing Seamus O’S at centre-forward, JH is replacing one defensively minded player on that line Keith H with another. It is certainly worth a try, he has the experience, bulk and determination to bring something new there and he can run a good straight line for goals. It is of course hard to assess it until tried against stiffer opposition, also if it is not a runner we will sooner or later have to position Cillian O’C, potentially the best no 11 in the country, in that role.

  38. Ian says:

    I have to admit i like the team.Seamus o shea should be on the field. he is a good player. I think centre forward will suit him well. Lets win this one on Sunday and then out the head down for Roscommon. Best wishes to everyone travelling

  39. Mayomaningalway says:

    Im interested to see how Seamie does in the half forward line . Will he be used as another target man or to run back ? Maybe we will see more running from our half forwards and less from our half backs?

  40. 45 says:

    The time for experimenting should be over at this stage and we should by now be seeing the blueprint for our first 15. If this is it, then I would have concerns, in particular for our half forward and forward lines. I would concur with the assumptions that Alan Freeman must be injured. I would prefer to see Jason Gibbons at no 11 with SOS at no 8 as Gibbons is a superior distributor of the ball and is well able to take his own scores. Disappointed not to see Adam Gallagher getting a start in the corner. The back line certainly has a more settled look to it which is a positive sign despite Caff’s notable absence.

  41. AndyD says:

    I’m rather surprised to see Seamus O;Shea at CHF as he has had runs there in the past without over impressing.I have a;ways thought him rather cumbersome with the ball when going forward but if he is intended to replace Keith Higgins defensively I think it may work well. What he doesn’t have is Keith’s burst of speed, It does seem that James has decided on Aiden and Jason Gibbons as his first choice midfield pairing.
    New York is, I think, among the tightest grounds we will ever play on so the need to move the ball forward fast is essential I am not surprised to see Mikie Sweeney waiting for his championship debut as a tight pitch would not suit him very well although like Adam Gallagher he may make a second half appearance. We were never likely to see more than one newcomer introduced to the forwards and Diarmuid has won that race.
    By the way what is the story re David Clarke and Chris Barrett anybody know? It’s getting late in the year for a comeback to the first 15. And any word on Evan Regan?
    I was surprised to see Conor Loftus’s name mentioned by a contributor as he did not appear to feature at U21 earlier. Is he on the panel?

  42. HopeSpringsEternal says:

    New York have named at least three midfielders in their team so you’d wonder is Seamus O’Shea named just to play as a third midfielder, as they might try to crowd the middle third of the pitch. Then the half-forward line could be Kevin McLoughlin, Jason Doc and D O’Connor with Andy Moran and C O’Connor playing as a two man full-forward line. That forward line would look a bit more balanced then.

  43. DavyJ says:

    Sunday is an irrelevance. It’s a day out (or a weekend out, depending on your budget :o) – it bears no relation to the rest of the championship as the result is a foregone conclusion. As such, it makes sense for James Horan to try a few things out.

    Seamus O’Shea: I’ve waited a long time to see S O’S given his chance at centre-forward; he has the mobility (much more so than Aidan), the power, and he can score. It’s no harm to have some muscle in that line too. If scores are not coming from him during the game, a swap with Jason Gibbons – who we know can score – is always an option.

    Diarmuid O’Connor: puzzling selection. He’s a midfielder, and there are scoring forwards James could play in there, but let’s see how he is deployed on the day. My guess is this is a selection based on keeping him (and other fringe players) motivated and hungry for the rest of 2014. Adam Gallagher must be looking at this and chomping at the bit to prove himself again. Come June 8th I don’t think we’ll see Diarmuid in the team unless he absolutely burns it up on Sunday. Here’s his chance.

    Speaking of Adam: does anybody know if he’s injured or not? Anybody?

    Keith Higgins: back in defence. Thank God. Hopefully he stays there even when Cafferkey is fit again.

    Keegan-Boyle-Vaughan: Colm seems to be more defensive as a centre-back, which is badly needed in this line. Even that may not be defensive enough. Would like to see Keegan-Cunniffe-Boyle as the combination here with Vaughan as backup.

    Alan Freeman: if he’s not injured, then my guess is that he’s been dropped. He was very good at times during the league but was again cleaned against Dublin, and against Derry on the day that mattered. He’s got more aggression and variety in him and he needs to start using it against the better teams. Perhaps James is sending him this message now.

    Mikie Sweeney: surely has earned his place. Come June 8th I’d be very surprised if he’s not named in the 15.

    Kevin McLoughlin: ideal in the FF line if you’re playing Dublin. Otherwise, needs to be out in the HF line, picking up breaking ball from midfield and using his passing range. As well as scoring, of course.

    Andy Moran: it’s getting more difficult to justify Andy’s presence in the team. His pace is gone. So James either drops his captain and uses him as an impact sub (my preference) or picks him in the position requiring least mobility, maybe in the hope that Andy rediscovers his 2011 form. Bit of a long shot I think, and we’re not going to learn anything from Sunday.

    Enjoy the day in Gaelic Park, those of you who are travelling. Mayo by 15+.

  44. UpMayo says:

    AndyD thinks Horan’s 1st choice midfield is Aiden and Jason. Maybe. But if so and either begins to wilt, bring Parsons on while he has a chance to do something. Against Derry this should have been done at halftime. But then if he did that ,we’d have won, and we wouldn’t want that now would we (in hindsight anyway). But in the championship we want to win every game, so when a guy isn’t able to give any more, replace him, IN TIME.

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