Okay, this has caught me a bit on the hop but we’ve just named our team for Saturday night’s NFL Division One first round meeting with Roscommon at MacHale Park (throw-in 7pm). Here’s the team, captained by Paddy Durcan, that we’ve named:
Mayo (NFL Division One v Roscommon, 26/1/2019): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); Eoin O’Donoghue (Belmullet), Brendan Harrison (Aghamore), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Lee Keegan (Westrport), Colm Boyle (Davitts), Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels, captain); Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber), Donal Vaughan (Castlebar Mitchels); Fergal Boland (Aghamore), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole); Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites), Brian Reape (Ballina Moy Davitts), Conor Diskin (Claremorris).
While the team we’ve named is a very experienced one, most focus will, I’m sure, be on the two lads – Brian Reape and Conor Diskin – who have been handed League debuts. Both did well for us in the FBD and so they fully deserve the opportunity they’ve been given. Best of luck to both of them.
Saturday evening’s match is also a milestone for Jason Doherty, who’ll be making his 100th senior inter-county appearance. Given his form in pre-season I’d say Doc has a bit more left in the tank as well.
Our most recent competitive fixture was, of course, that Round 3 qualifier defeat to Kildare at Newbridge last June. Saturday night’s team shows eight changes from the side that lined out in St Conleth’s Park. Out from then go David Clarke, Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Stephen Coen, Kevin McLoughlin (it’s the first time in ages he hasn’t started a competitive match for us), James Durcan, Cillian O’Connor and Andy Moran. In come Robbie Hennelly, Eoin O’Donoghue, Brendan Harrison, Donal Vaughan, Fergal Boland, Evan Regan, Brian Reape and Conor Diskin.
The last time we played Roscommon was the All-Ireland quarter-final replay the year before last. Saturday’s team has eight survivors from that fun day for us – Brendan Harrison, Donal Vaughan, Keith Higgins, Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan, Aidan O’Shea, Diarmuid O’Connor and Jason Doherty all lined out that day as well.