Five changes for Sunday

Earlier today we named our starting fifteen for Sunday’s pivotal National League Division One meeting with Monaghan at St Tiernach’s Park on Sunday (throw-in 2pm). Here’s the team we’re going with in Clones.

Mayo: (NFL Division One v Monaghan 23/2/2020): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); Padraig O’Hora (Ballina Stephenites), Oisín Mullin (Kilmaine), Lee Keegan (Westport); Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport), Michael Plunkett (Ballintubber), Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels); Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy, captain); Fergal Boland (Aghamore), Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet), Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Darren Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), James Carr (Ardagh).

So once again James Horan and his selectors have opted to shake things up, with five changes from the team that started against Meath in Round 3. In fairness, though, two of these alterations sees the return of players who weren’t available to play in Navan while another two came on as subs that day.

Into the team for Sunday come Padraig O’Hora, Oisín Mullin, League debutant Eoghan McLaughlin, Kevin McLoughlin and Darren Coen. Out go James McCormack, Brendan Harrison, Eoin O’Donoghue, James Durcan and Tommy Conroy.

That’s a significant reshuffle at the back. James, Brendan and Eoin all did reasonably okay, I thought, in Navan but, with the two lads to come back in and perhaps mindful of those second half goals we leaked the last day, we’ve gone with a recast defensive unit for Sunday.

It’s a backline that also features a full League debut for Westport’s Eoghan McLaughlin, who showed a bit of zip and bite off the bench against Meath. Who he, you might ask. Mike Finnerty’s reply to this – on the post-Meath episode of the podcast (which is here) – was “think Lee Keegan seven or eight years ago.” Best of luck to Eoghan on his debut on Sunday.

At midfield, Aidan finally gets named to start, even though he’s ended up starting the last two League games in which he was named as a sub in the programme. And he’s been named team captain for the game into the bargain. He’d be a great choice in the role for the year too if that’s the plan.

We seem to be aiming for more in the way of firepower up front. That’s no harm because our scoring rate to date in this campaign has been a bit on the limp side and we simply have to get these numbers up.

Diarmuid definitely needs to rediscover his scoring touch from play and the half-forward line – driving towards the opposition’s posts – is the area of the pitch that’s best suited for him to do damage in that regard. Darren Coen contributed plenty on the scoreboard last year and it’s great to have him back in the starting line-up again. Kevin simply had to start after his sensational substitute appearance in Navan.

All in all, it’s a decent pick. Once again it’s a mix of youth and experience but there seems to be a bit more heft to this line-up, which I think we’ll need as the Farney lads do like to play on the edge and we need to be ready to do likewise.

Despite all the experimentation right now, when comparing Sunday’s team with the one we sent out to face the same opposition in Round 7 of the League last year there’s still plenty of commonality between the two. Seven of the team named for Clones – Stephen Coen, Paddy Durcan, Aidan O’Shea, Fergal Boland, Diarmuid O’Connor, Kevin McLoughlin and Darren Coen – also started last March in MacHale Park. In addition, both Robbie Hennelly and James Carr made substitute appearances in that game.

30 thoughts on “Five changes for Sunday

  1. Don’t know what we are doing with captaincy, Aidan captain for Sunday. Not really expecting a good result just hoping for a good performance

  2. Horan is certainly giving new lads a chance and in fairness ya do have to keep looking ahead to the future. Good team though…maybe a bit inexperienced at the back but ya gotta do it sometime when the heat is on and it more than likely will be come 2pm on Sunday!!!

  3. Great to see our selection for Sunday and Darren Coen back to start his campaign. Lovely to see Super Kev named on the first 15 but best of all is Stephen Coen holding midfield with AOS. In my opinion he is the future of our team and a nailed on starter for the heat of May/June.
    Good luck on Sunday.

  4. We need a win Sunday, the road ahead is not easy and we need points. We need a better performance than previous games. We are fortunate to have 3 points but we can not rely on any more miracle finishes.Our forward line seems to be stronger and D Cohen back is a plus and I hope he gets a chance with the frees . We can not afford to squander easy opportunities like we have been. The only other division 1 team without a good free taker is Meath and they are bottom of the table.DOC in the forward line and Kevin Mac starting [ if he does] is also a plus.
    i would expect to see Harrison also starting if he is fit.
    Give JH credit for giving new players their chance but all the changing and inexperience makes it hard to find a rhythm and now that has to be balanced with staying in Div.1
    Hope AOS is captain for the year. I doubt anyone is more essential and logged more minutes over the years.
    He seems to be a natural leader on the field. When he is dominating we do well and visa versa..

  5. Will be up against it Cos Monaghan are at championship level in the middle of February again whereas we are playing the long game
    Good record recently against them up there but not sure about this weekend
    Still we are two weeks further along fitness wise so who knows
    Have a feeling the captaincy is aido’s for the year
    Horan was probably just rotating it until he was fully back imo
    May not win this weekend but have a feeling we will suprise a few Saturday week …..

  6. Aidan O Shea captain for the year is well deserved. A real leader on and off the pitch and a great example to new members. He was the first one over to Ryan O Donoghue at the end of the game v Meath to tell him how well he done. When O Shea is playing well so are Mayo.

  7. I like the look of that team for Sunday. Horan is sticking with the newcomers who are performing which is necessary to build their confidence while at he same time bringing in one or two more on trial.
    Can anybody tell me is Oisin Mullin any relation of MJ Mullin [or was it Mullen] who was on the winning 1985 minor team?

  8. No relation AndyD.he a great lad from great family and a younger brother coming after who will be good also.

  9. Good shout JP, definitely a increased focus on speed it seems. When you look at the ai semi final last year Dublin were blitzing us for speed across the pitch,we looked very one paced last year I thought. We have raw pace in the team now

  10. As it stands, the top 7 teams in Div 1 can realistically hope to make a shot at the league final.
    This should be our aim too. We are good enough to win this game. Even though Monaghan are going well, they have weaknesses and their game plan is predictable to a certain extent with a quick counter attack and McManus being the key.
    We need to not give up possession if our attack runs out of space and we need to slow the game down when we do give up possession. It would be better to take a risky shot allowing the team to reset positions than give up possession because the Monaghan lads made hay against Dublin with turning them over and leggin it down the field and firing it over from all angles. Those runners need to be stopped.

  11. @Supermac, Dublin looked as if the blitzed Mayo for speed in August last, for reasons as follows.
    1, Mayo had too many games played right up to the Dublin game, almost weekly, any team needs to be fresh with 3 weeks rest in trying to match the Dubs.
    2, The Dubs caught Mayo and Mayo management on the hop, ie, the Dubs sat back in the 1st half and allowed Mayo space with a slow build up, Mayo didn’t build up a large lead with this possession by halftime.
    The Dubs changed strategy right from the word go in the 2nd half, attacked from all areas building up from midfield, Mayo were caught for fitness and were actually stunned by the Dubs.

    Need to go front door this year and beat an up and coming Galway in Connacht.

  12. @catcol, think Horan hinted that captain after game 3 would be the captain for the year. That was my taking on it anyway.

  13. Like the look of the team bar rookie wing back but he gets a chance, let’s hope he.takes it. Still not sure about Mullin, his age being my main concern for FB role. Mullin or O’ Hora to mark McManus, now that’s a proper test as the guy’s class. Let’s see how they do.
    Home game for Monaghan who play a good style, they should be slight favourites. A win would be nice.

  14. As for captain, AIDO is a leader and I feel both O Connors especially Cillian get caught up in too much negative stuff. Captain needs foremost a positive frame of mind and to encourage those around them. Get the impression captaincy is a weight on some players shoulders. Another way to leads by big performances which both O Connors often deliver. Happy with Aido if that’s the plan.

  15. Some of you wonder why Aidan takes frees. Let me give you my explanation. After taking a free Aidan is not tightly marked. Generally, for a sideline or free the defence has a +1 or +2 back. This then allows Aidan to find a free man from the free and quite easily come back into play on a handpass layoff unmarked as play develops.

  16. Any word from Monaghan on the state of the pitch, a lot of rain falling and more coming tomorrow and tomorrow night.

  17. We beat Galway last year so what has changed? Apart from them losing their best performer on that day Peter Cooke. We’ll have to get past Roscommon in the Hyde first of course and that is no guarantee after our last meeting.

  18. Nobody is focusing on Galway but it’s pretty normal to look ahead at potential championship games as well.

  19. Monaghan doing what Monaghan do, i.e flying fit in spring, then crash and burn come summer when the tank is empty. For that reason I don’t see us winning this one. Monaghan are playing they’re championship 15 in February, we are simply blooding new players. In the long run i’d rather be in our position, but for the here and now, Monaghan by 3.

  20. I get what you’re saying Wide Ball, but if that’s the case we need to be looking no further than the Rossies. I’m not going to patronise Leitrim, we’ll negotiate that fixture.

    I will say that a Connacht title is critical this year. Look at the injuries that we had to absorb last year. Now two of these were sustained in training, but I suspect this was partly because we had to load too much on the players too early, and too often.

  21. Agree with posters on Connaught. I think Ros will be a challenge and Galway are now a div 1 team, very little probably between us and them depending on how league pans out.. so we’ll need all our fighting spirit if playing them this summer. That game is crucial to our chances. Will be good to see Carr and Coen on the same team, hope our return increases as we’re not scoring enough even though not leaking too much either.

  22. If we navigate past the Rossies we have to beat Galway otherwise the best we can hope for is to end up in the super 8 group of death where Dublin and Kerry most certainly awaits.

  23. Not wanting to put weight on his shoulders but agree that D Coen’s form will be key for us this year. If he’s works as a long ball target I think that will be massive for us. A different style to Andy, but if he can hold his own I think that will take pressure off Carr

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