The Mayo News (paper and digital variants) has confirmation today on a number of departures from the senior panel ahead of this year’s championship. And a possible arrival too.
In a piece by Mike Finnerty in the paper it’s stated that four players have been released – Jason Gibbons, Alan Freeman, Ger McDonagh and Donie Newcombe. Of that quartet, only Jason played any significant part in our recently concluded League campaign. He started against Monaghan, Kerry and Galway but, after being withdrawn in Pearse Stadium, didn’t feature thereafter.
Ironically, the man who replaced the Ballintubber midfielder in that match at Salthill was Ger McDonagh. That was one of two appearances off the bench that the Castlebar player made for us in this year’s NFL. The other was late on up in Clones in the opening round, when he came on for Colm Boyle.
The game time enjoyed in the League by both Donie Newcombe and Alan Freeman was even more fleeting. The Castlebar man only got a short gallop under his belt against Galway, when he came on briefly as a blood sub for Ger Cafferkey, and he never featured after that. The Aghamore player was sprung from the bench in injury time up in Ballybofey in the final round, coming on for Jason Doherty.
It’s tough on any player to be cut from a playing panel. All four players mentioned above are seasoned performers – the Castlebar lads at club level, while Jason and Alan have played plenty of inter-county football, including appearing in All-Ireland finals – so it’s doubly difficult on them. The hard truth, however, is that numbers on the panel were always going to be reduced heading into the summer and one of the tough aspects to management is making the calls about who is in and who isn’t. Life, including sport, is full of those kind of choices.
In more upbeat news, that piece also states that James Durcan has been added to the development panel heading into the summer. Rochy’s clearly been reading the comments on the blog of late so!
This week’s edition of the Mayo News, by the way, is yet another jam-packed one. Coverage of all the weekend’s club action, as well as the Colleges’ finals and the ladies’ league action, runs to a full fifteen pages in the sports supplement. Plenty to pore over there over the coming days.