The team we named a short while ago this evening – which is the same as the one leaked earlier today – for the Round 2 qualifier match against Down at Páirc Esler in Newry tomorrow evening (throw-in 7pm) is as follows:
Mayo (All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 2 v Down, 22/6/2019): David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Chris Barrett (Belmullet), Brendan Harrison (Aghamore), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Lee Keegan (Westport), Colm Boyle (Davitts), Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels); Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber, captain), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy); Fionn McDonagh (Westport), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Conor Loftus (Crossmolina); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Darren Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen).
So it’s five changes from the side that was beaten narrowly by Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final last month. Into the team come David Clarke, Colm Boyle, Fionn McDonagh, Conor Loftus and Andy Moran while out go Robbie Hennelly, Michael Plunkett, the injured Mattie Ruane, Fergal Boland and Evan Regan.
While it’s an extremely experienced team – all but two of the team played a part in the 2017 All-Ireland final, while eleven of them started in that decider – it’s also one that contains a Championship debutant. Fionn McDonagh, sidelined through injury for the last four months, makes his first Championship appearance for the county at senior level tomorrow evening and the best of luck to the young Westport player.
While Fionn is finally back after injury, the wait goes on for Cillian O’Connor’s return to the fray. The Ballintubber player last appeared for the county in the qualifier defeat to Kildare at Newbridge almost a year ago. He may, of course, be on the bench at Newry and, if so, I’d say there’s a good chance he’ll make an appearance before the evening is out.
Best of luck to the lads in this do-or-die knockout clash tomorrow evening,