I’m playing a bit of catch-up here, I know, something I’m likely to be doing repeatedly concerning Mayo GAA news from here on but, for the record, it’s worth noting that the first Mayo selection of 2020 was named earlier on today.
As this is a pre-season fixture Sunday’s FBD semi-final meeting with Galway is not, as such, a competitive game but there’s every chance it’ll feel like one. A huge crowd could well flock to MacHale Park for the 2pm throw-in on Sunday and, with Padraig Joyce taking the reins on the line for the Tribesmen for the first time, a large sprinkling of support should be there to cheer on Galway.
We’ve picked a mixture of youth and experience for Sunday’s game. Here’s the team we’ve named:
Mayo (FBD Connacht League semi-final v Galway, 12/1/2020): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); James Stretton (Claremorris), James McCormack (Claremorris), Brendan Harrison (Aghamore); Padraig O’Hora (Ballina Stephenites), Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber), Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels); Tom Parsons (Charlestown Sarsfields), Mikey Murray (Ballina Stephenites); Brian Walsh (Ballintubber), Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers), Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Brian Reape (Bohola Moy Davitts), Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber).
By my reckoning, the only player from the fifteen named never to have played at senior level for the county before is Brian Walsh. James Stretton and Jordan Flynn saw a bit of FBD action in 2018, while Padraig O’Hora cut a rather impressive dash in the 2016 FBD matches.
Neither Brian Walsh nor Jordan Flynn have yet played for us in the National League. Neither has Mikey Murray but the Ballina man has Championship experience from last summer. James McCormack featured off the bench for us a few times in the League last year, while Padraig O’Hora did so in 2016 and James Stretton did in 2018.
Aside from the new faces, the most noteworthy name on the teamsheet for Sunday is, of course, Tom Parsons. The last time the Charlestown man started a game for us was against the same opposition at the same venue in the Connacht Championship back in May 2018, on the day he suffered that shattering knee injury. It’s truly uplifting to see Tom named in the starting fifteen for the county once more.
Several of our big guns don’t feature in the team we’ve named, which is no surprise seeing as it’s just a pre-season fixture. Galway, by comparison, have selected a stronger, more experienced outfit for Padraig Joyce’s first game in charge for them – details here.
In anticipation of large turnouts at both FBD semi-finals on Sunday, Connacht GAA have issued ticket information – details here. Tickets cost €10 for adults, €5 for students and OAPs while it’s free entry for juveniles. Connacht GAA are recommending that tickets be bought in advance, from either Centra or SuperValu. Note that your shiny new 2020 season ticket won’t gain you entry to either FBD semi-final on Sunday.
With the FBD starting, can the National League be far behind? Clearly not, as the media event launching the 2020 competition was held today. We’re the defending League champions so it was only right and proper that Diarmuid O’Connor was front and centre for this. Pieces on what Diarmuid had to say at today’s launch are here – GAA, RTÉ, Sky, Balls.ie, Pundit Arena.