Seven Championship debutants named to start on Sunday

We’ve named our team for Sunday’s Connacht SFC quarter-final against Leitrim at Carrick-on-Shannon (throw-in 1.15pm). Here’s the team we’re going with:

Mayo (Connacht SFC v Leitrim, 1/11/2020): David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Oisin Mullin (Kilmaine), Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Lee Keegan (Westport); Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels), Rory Brickenden (Westport), Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport); Matthew Ruane (Breaffy), Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers); Bryan Walsh (Ballintubber), Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet), Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers); Tommy Conroy (The Neale), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy, captain), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber).

The most noteworthy point about the team we’ve named is the number of Championship debutants it includes. Half the outfield contingent – seven in total – fall into that category, With Oisin Mullin, Rory Brickenden, Eoghan McLaughlin, Bryan Walsh, Ryan O’Donoghue, Jordan Flynn and Tommy Conroy all handed Championship starts for the very first time. The best of luck to each and every one of them.

The team we’ve named also shows four changes from the side that started against Tyrone last Sunday. Into the team come Rory Brickenden at centre back, Ryan O’Donoghue (a battling substitute the last day) at centre forward, Jordan Flynn at wing forward and the fit again Cillian O’Connor at corner forward. The four to drop out are Kevin McLoughlin, Mark Moran, Diarmuid O’Connor and Darren Coen.

Leitrim have also named their starting fifteen for Sunday – details here.

The county’s hurling team for tomorrow’s Rackard Cup meeting with Tyrone was also named today. Full details on that line-up are here.

98 thoughts on “Seven Championship debutants named to start on Sunday

  1. Hi willie joe. Great to see there are 7 debutants but I wonder why have 3 from Westport and none from county champions. Up Mayo

  2. Strange team indeed, probably doesn’t want to show his hand before roscommon, I thought brickenden was a midfielder and I believe was going very well there at training, of course no guarantee this is the team that will start.

  3. Michaelincork. Let’s go back to the bad old days of 50s 60s 70s when if you went to certain colleges you were on team. Great players were never considered because they went to the local school. The joke in them days was it was harder they get dropped than get on.

  4. If a player is good enough he should be on. Couldn’t care less what club players come from. You can have a top club side with a heap of really strong above average players. You can have another much weaker club side with 1 or 2 stars.

  5. Yeah, it’s a real signal that it’s the youth for the future.
    I don’t know some of these bar club matches but you’d be willing to give them the chance. I just haven’t seen enough of Walsh, Flynn, Brickenden, to judge.
    I would think that more senior players will possibly come back in for the Roscommon game – the likes of Darren Coen, Diarmuid, maybe O’Hora, maybe even McDonagh. Think it’s a bit like what Cillian said earlier in the week – might be a horses for courses approach.
    I am delighted to see Flynn starting. Think midfield is in need of development. I’m not too sure what the Loftus thing is about. Loftus has undoubted talent but certainly not at midfield. He’s a half forward if anything. I’m also yet to be convinced that O’Donoghue has the required physique for inter county but to be fair to him, he played well the last time out so can only go on that.
    Look, I think they’ll win. I don’t think they’ll hammer them and I would like to see a few experienced heads come off the bench. But youth is the way forward.

  6. Hopefully Diarmuid is just been rested. Looks like a break would do him no harm. Id be whipping of Aido the second the game is put to bed. Great to see new blood given the chance. 7 debutants is massive, nobody can be shouting about “miles on the clock” or “gone to the well too many times” now!!.

  7. Great deal of complacency going into this game from everyone. Let’s hope we are not bringing in the big guns before the end to get out of Carrick alive!

  8. Just outside Ballagh I don’t think we’ll be seeing much of the old guns again. I think the way Horan is thinking youth is the way forward. Though the likes of Boyler Barrett and parsons would be great men to bring on with 25 minutes to go. What has happened to Eoin O Donoghue? I thought he was the new Keith Higgins he seems to have slipped off the radar

  9. It’s certainly refreshing to see so many lads getting a shot at it. If you’re good enough in training you’re good enough for the game! I would love to see Jordan Flynn getting a good grip at midfield and making himself a first 15 regular. The physique is all there for that role.
    Best of luck to them all and don’t hold back.

  10. There must be lots of anger in Knockmore with that team, certain clubs in the County are getting favoured by Mayo management.big pressure on management these next 2 weeks.

  11. I don’t know anything about brickenden. Where does he play with Westport? Is he a fullback?

    Interesting team. Flynn is interesting, as others mentioned he has the physical attributes, I’d be worried about his discipline, though he’ll only learn through playing.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or two changes before kick off. Third game in three weekends, I’d expect a couple are touch and go with knocks

  12. A few thoughts on the team.

    The kick-out situation is not an issue this weekend but it is a serious concern from the Roscommon game onwards. I take it Rob H has either left the squad or been dropped. He started the last two big games Mayo played in (v. Dublin and v. Donegal) and hasn’t been in the squad since. I feel he solves the kick-out problem even if he creates concern around the square. If he is gone, Horan might as well go with Rory Byrne, he has matured and is much better with kick-outs than Clarke.

    Despite the lunatic tactics in the first half vs. Tyrone, I actually think our defense will be fine. Oisin Mullen and Eoghan McLaughlin are good additions, and you still have Eoin O’D, Keith H, Boyler, Donie V, Barrett, Harrison, for when we need them. I’ll give the management team a pass on the tactics from last weekend and assume they can create a tight defense when they need it like they did v. Donegal last year.

    Midfield is a concern. Horan seems to be a fan of Loftus but he is absolutely not a mid-fielder. Not a good fielder or at picking up breaking/hard ball at midfield. I don’t see him in the 1st 15 for any big game. I think Aidan needs to be at midfield with Ruane, especially if Clarke is goal – we need that ball winning ability out there more than what he can do at full forward.

    Agree with others that if Mayo are to go deep into the championship, Diarmuid has to start. Too good not to. I have the same opinion for Kevin Mc but for some reason Horan hasn’t picked him for the big games in the past year. Fionn Mc is fast and fit and can take a score but he is jittery on the ball. Not yet ready to take Kevin Mcs wing forward jersey. Boland was our best player up until the pandemic, is he injured? Ryan O’D should have started that game v Tyrone and we probably would have won if he had. He’s like a centre-forward version of Colm Boyle, pure heart. A lovely foot-passer of the ball with good pace too.

    Conroy has been the find of the league campaign and I don’t think in my lifetime I have seen a Mayo corner forward who just takes his man on every time. We’ve been crying out for that. Long may his form continue.

    This is the team I’d like to see v Roscommon, assuming there’s no major shock on Sunday;

    1. Hennelly/Byrne
    2. Mullen
    3. Coen
    4. Barrett
    5. Paddy
    6. Keegan
    7. E. McLaughlin
    8. Aidan
    9. Ruane
    10. Diarmuid
    11. Ryan O’D
    12. Kevin Mc/Boland (coin toss)
    13. Conroy
    14. Cillian
    15. Towey

  13. A lot of changes in half backs. Brickenden this year. We tried put Mccormack and Plunkett last year and both did fine I thought. He may be banking on a win and looking at the clogged fixture list to give lads a run. Stephen Coen could be grand full back in some games, very honest player but not if he comes up against a sprinter. Similar to Kevin Keane in style. Flynn would want to keep his discipline this time out. In there for his potential. Also Keegan in corner back is wasting an attacking option but we are not blessed with stand out corner backs. O Hora probably the best apart from Mullin so if there’s any trouble on the 2 half lines he should bring Keegan out.

  14. After the 2nd half water break against Tyrone, Keegan was moved to centre half back when O’Hora came on. With his first involvement, Keegan set up Tommy Conroy for the goal. Assuming this weekend goes to plan he should be moved to 6 against Roscommon.

    I’d expect this 15 to start unless there is a late injury withdrawal.

  15. @Horans Bridge. What is the physique to play Gaelic football? You probably think anyone under 5ft 7 shouldn’t be playing inter county Gaelic football.

  16. Making your championship debut at centre half back is certainly being thrown in at the deep end but Brickendon is definitely a player of the future and will give an honest 100 per cent on sunday.
    Im glad to see Jordan Flynn back on the team. But i am surprised Horan continues to experiment with Loftus at midfield.. Good luck to all.

  17. I agree Knockmore must be wondering why some of their players are not getting a run. Of course it maybe that the players are not in a position to commit to the Mayo setup. Not everyone can.

  18. Aiden o shea is never rested. Never subbed and always starts. Any thoughts on this? Surely bringing him off the bench can odd time would be great asset.

  19. Hi Alan Molloy,
    I think Ryan is a very skillful footballer. What I mean by physique is more the power needed for intercounty. Power like what Doherty had, in that he was able to break tackles etc. Ryan is not at that level yet. I thought that was evident at times against Tyrone. He may, and possibly will, get there.
    I think that level of strength and conditioning becomes evident after a few years. It’s why Mayo were able to over power teams so often. Hopefully these new lads will rise to that level but it will take time!

  20. Does it smack of bias that most of the young players being tried are from Westport who JH managed….and none from Knockmore the county champions?

    Good luck to Brian Walsh..but he too is from Ballintubber!

  21. Who are the standout Knockmore players who should be playing? We have McLoughlin and Darren McHale is on the panel.

    Would it be fair or unfair to say that Knockmore are greater than the sum of its parts? A really good and excellently managed team with lots of very solid or above-average club standard players but without any real star? Kevin Mc is a top player. I’ve heard people talk about Orme I’ve only ever seen him in the flesh once, last years dismal u20 showing in Tuam where none of our forwards looked liked they’d played before bar Conroy and even by his standards it was an ‘off day’.

    There’s no way team mgnt have anything against knockmore. Daft to even suggest it.

  22. Disappointed to see AOS on the team. No idea why he has been picked. Bad decision. So we are now going to ask him to tog four weedends on the trot. Only lord knows what Rochford is thinking – after probably being part of decision to rest Murphy against Kerry. Don”t tell me it’s to give him practice playing at full forward – too close to Roscommon game for that.

    Great to see DOC rested however. I was very happy with his performance last week against Tyrone. A key man.

  23. Interesting team. Quite strong.
    No point patronising Leitrim we are going to get the result whatever 15 we put out so I’d be looking to hook leeroy, Durcan, aos and a few other key players ASAP.

    Couple of observations…

    Subs list will make for interesting reading, if some of the older guard like SOS, Higgins, parsons, Barrett, Boyle etc aren’t listed or getting minutes tomorrow then it would appear they aren’t in plans for championship.

    Would have liked to see Mark Moran again, needed another game under his belt

    The diarmuid thing is interesting, as I said in another thread he has been poor all year and might be under pressure. Would still be amazed if he wasn’t starting v Roscommon though

    Horan is clearly as concerned with the no 6 position as the rest of us, given he has tried so many different players there. Definitely a problem position now

  24. I think you’re right Mayonaze. Knockmore were the best team by far in the mayo sfc, but didn’t necessarily have the best individuals. I’ve a feeling Colm Reape and Kieran King will get a chance next year.

  25. Mark Moran will only get better. The likes of Tommy conroy has more senior intercounty matches under his belt now and is bedding in nicely and will also continue to improve. So will Mark. I always recall Paddy durcan against the Dubs in a league match in mchale park (circa 2015??) where he struggled. Playing a Dublin or a Tyrone is a massive step up and getting used to that psychological aspect in those games is everything. There’s no doubt we caught Galway cold a couple of weeks ago so conditions were more favourable for the younger lads coming in. Perhaps it wasn’t a true test. But sure its all hindsight and its only when bigger tests are presented when we truly know where lads are at. Mark might play a part Sunday and have a stormer, and continue in that vein from there. Its exciting to see lads like him improve and develop. And develop they will.

    Its absolute nonsense to say there’s an unfair bias against the Knockmore team. Intercounty step up is huge and simply takes time. Also, there’s development squads that certain lads have been on for the past couple of seasons and they’ll get their chance first. The Knockmore lads time will come.

  26. Interesting selection, even with a new team and poor weather, I would expect that we will pull through, we should be fitter, and have more belief. Just need to ensure we get a good start and settle into the game. Places up for grabs, would still expect a number of changes if we win for the Rossies but that is a debate for next week, one game at a time.

  27. I think the weather will keep the score down. Hope we get through injury free. Flynn would want to have improved his discipline big time…best of luck to the 7 debutants, big day for them, their families and clubs. Its a great honour to pull on the Green and Red in Championship, hopefully they’ll do it a few more times this season.

  28. @theLondoneye…agree with you fully. I wouldn’t have played AOS this wknd. Out in 2 big shifts the past fortnight and after a long club campaign. He’s in good shape but i would have had him on the bench and only brought on in an emergency.

    Mayo are unlikely to learn anything this weekend bar seeing how some young lads do. With respect of course to Leitrim. A proud county but with such a small pick.

  29. I’m getting Ruislip 2011 vibes off that Mayo starting team. That performance was so bad that it one or less ended the county careers of 4 or 5 starters that day.

    Only for the experience from Andy Moran, Alan Dillon London would have won that game so this Sunday the likes of Keegan, O’Shea and O’Connor will have to lead by example.

  30. I agree dont believe deliberate bias v knockmore but the selection policy in general would be what I question not just from Knockmore. Even development squads from what i have seen if ya get in to them you seem stay there. Knockmore are exceptionally well coached and managed and have a serious work ethic and drive and probably do punch above there weight of parts especially as average age 23.
    But how Darren MacHale wasn’t at least tried, especially the last day when Moran started on a day i think all here knew wouldn’t quite suit him seems strange. Was he just brought in to panel to quieten all talk of him with no real intenion of playing him??
    Other lads like Orme, Reape and King are young and as someone else said their time may come.
    Peter Naughton however i feel should have been given a call. He’s a class act and has proven it consistently at club the past 2 years and is only 23. If i had pick one of him Durcan, Flynn, Moran, O’Donoghue or Loftus i know who i would have no disrespect to the others who are all able players.

  31. I’d agree that Darren Mc should see game time very soon. He’s fast, direct, honest and hardworking and skillful to boot. He always reminds me of Kerry’s Stephen O’brien the way he moves. He’s on the panel so he may very well get a shot.

  32. I agree that while it’s odd the county champions don’t have any players starting, it’s not really bias. Think McLoughlin will come in at some stage, but l don’t know will Mc Hale really have much to contribute this year.
    Horan seems to be going with youth and serious youth. McHale, though he had an excellent county final and campaign, isn’t all that young. Horan seems to putting his faith in the under 20s from two years ago and this year’s crop.
    I agree with the rest of the posters. Knockmore were well organised etc. but didn’t have any absolutely outstanding players, apart from the two above. Naughton is a good player, serious long range shooter. But I think he lacks a yard of pace that the top forwards have. Maybe I’m wrong but there is obviously some reason he’s not involved. And it’s not his first stint with Mayo either.
    On another note, it’s a seriously defensive team Leitrim have out. 8/9 of their first team out fielders are defenders that I can make out. Sunday, with horrible weather conditions, could be one dour game.

  33. Good luck to all the lads and especially the ones making championship debuts
    I would trust Horan not to be complacent and have lads very tuned in for sunday,having said that i think theres a bit of complacency amongst us supporters. The last time we played Leitrim was only jan 2019 and they drew with us that day.

  34. Think it was 2006 that we had 1 point wins all the way to the AI Final, apart from the quarter with Laois (which needed a replay). We were lucky enough against Leitrim that year.

  35. Seven lads getting a first championship starts! Wow! I’m delighted even if it doesn’t work out 100%. This is a very strange and unusual year in every respect and it is probably the best time to make big changes.
    Any of these lads who do well against Leitrim (and we win) it will be hard to take the jersey off them for the Roscommon match.

  36. Also, I notice the team profile pics were put up by Sportsfile. Only one missing I could see was Tom Parsons. Maybe just an error?

  37. There’s no doubt the absence of knockmore players from the Mayo set up is hard to fathom. And it’s not just on this blog that many are asking the same question.
    I’m sure knockmore player don’t expect to walk into the Mayo set up, but there are at least two or three of them, outside of Kevin Mc who proved in the last three matches of the Championship, v Ballintubber, Ballina and in the final v Breaffy, that they could hold their own in any company….
    For now though, it’s all about getting past Leitrim without picking up any injurys and have a full pick for the much tougher test v Roscommon.

  38. Championship squad: David Clarke,Rob Hennelly,Rory Byrne,Oisin Mullin,Chris Barrett, Jack Coyne, Stephen Coen, David McBrien,Eoin O Donoghue,Padraig O Hora,Keith Higgins, Michael Plunkett,Colm Boyle,Lee Keegan,Rory Brickenden,Paddy Durcan, Eoghan McLaughlin, Matthew Ruane,Jordan Flynn, Seamus O Shea,Donal Vaughan, Diarmuid O Connor, Fergal Boland,Fionn McDonagh,Ryan O Donoghue, Darren McHale,Mark Moran,Conor Loftus, Bryan Walsh, James Durcan,Kevin McLoughlin,Aidan O Shea, James Carr, Cillian O Connor, Darren Coen, Tommy Conroy, Paul Towey.

  39. Now i don’t want to jinx AOS but there is every chance that sooner or later he will pick up an injury or maybe catch the flu and have to miss a game or two , what better game is there than Sundays to give someone else game time even if it’s only a first half start and see how they fit in to the team

  40. Horans Brigade Naughton is actually quick, one quickest in knockmore side, he can give perception of being slow with the languid style but he can move. And again only just turn 23 I think. McHale as well only about 25.

    If it was a thing of focusing on the U20s/U23s then defensively for Knockmore King at least and possibly even Reape, Armstrong and Flynn may have earned a look at least like some the other younger lads that age brought in.

    I think there is a tendency for Management to stick with whats known to them and in fairness thats probably a natural human instinct. e.g. James managed Westport and under his Mayo reigns i believe the following have played for Mayo from the Westport team:
    P O’Malley, B Doyle, R Brickenden, B McDermott, P Lambert, L Keegan, N McManamon, B O’Malley, E McLaughlin, F McDonagh, M Moran, O McLaughlin, K Kilkelly, K Keane, C Moran. As a side lot of them defenders and Westport conceded average of 16 points in their last 4 championship games.

    Looking forward to the game, longer term Midfield and defensive structure what I would like to see some progression in and of course, no injuries 🙂

  41. One thing that probably counted against Peter Naughton is the fact he’s a right footed corner forward. We’ve loads of them on the panel already between Cillian, Conroy, Coen, Towey and Carr. James Durcan is more versatile but also plays there.

  42. That figure of seven debutants piqued my curiosity as to when we had as many for a championship opener. I guessed the seventies as we did a lot of chopping and changing in that era – no wonder we got nowhere. Looking back over my records and checking with Willie Joe’s archive I figure – as always subject to correction – that we had eight in 1978 v Leitrim in Ballina. They were Ger King, Vinny Ryan, Ml Gavin, Willie Nally, Danny Dolan, J…. Mallee, Liam Donoghue and Willie Joe himself.
    We had seven in 1984 – John Monaghan, John Maughan, Frank Noone, Sean Maher, Anthony Finnerty with Peter Forde and Tom Byrne, both of whom were subs in 1983.
    We had six in 1976, 1977, 1983, 2003 and 2004. If you count Tomás Tierney as a debutant we also had six in 1991.

    Incidentally the archive has S Kelly at full back on the 75 team. I wonder should that not be S Reilly. Also the 1979 team against Leitrim has C Kelly at midfield and I wonder whether that should not be Kieran Kenny.

  43. Since my last posting I did some more digging back into the 50’s and found that in 1957 we had no less than 11 debutants. Only Willie Casey, Frank Fleming, Eddie Moriarity and John Nallen remained on from 1956. Among the notable retirements – after a trashing from Galway in ’56 – were Paddy Prendergast, Sean Flanagan and Tom Langan.
    Debutants in ’56 were: M Corkery, B Keane, G Kelly [had he played for Cavan at that stage], J O’Donoghue, B Sloyan, W Shannon [he had appeared as a sub in ’56] T Treacy, PJ Gilmartin, M McLoughlin, PJ Downey and J’O’Connell.

  44. We don’t know the whole story in relation to Knockmore lads on the panel. To be fair to Horan I don’t think he has any beef with any club and you can he damn sure he wants the best footballers on the panel how do we know he didn’t speak to the likes of Orme and was turned down? It’s one thing being county champions but to be on the Mayo panel requires a lot of sacrifices and ferocious commitment it’s not for everyone so maybe certain guys from Knockmore cannot commit at this time ?

  45. Time to stop all this alleged anti Knockmore bias. They won to Co title and fair play to them with an excellent team but but in the games I watched them play there were not many outstanding individuals other than the lads named on the Mayo panel. JH is manager of Mayo team and he will pick whom he considers best regardless of what club they are from. Having said that I would be a bit worried about the selected team. It’s great to give youth its chance but time and time again over the last number of years we had to turn to the older lads to bail us out and if we are to make serious progress this year we will need to do so again. While that team should win on Sunday and I mean no disrespect to Leitrim I could not see them beating Roscommon or Galway. In fairness Mayo have played fairly well in their last two league games so no doubt JH reckons a number of these lads deserve their chance but 7 debutants is a lot. Anyway best of luck to them all on Sunday. Maigh Eo Abu

  46. Yeah, this Knockmore thing is getting a bit boring. If their good enough they’d be on the panel, its obvious that some of them are not.

    The worse this weather gets, the more I think this won’t be as easy as it seems. The nippy quick footed players like Ryan O’Donoghue will struggle on this type of surface.

  47. Andy Moran on OTB expressed concern regarding the lack of game time for our veterans who we surely will need for the battles ahead. Best of luck to the 7 debutants. Our middle 8, a key area, has only one really experienced championship player, Paddy D. That is a bit of a worry.

  48. Reference to the lack of Knockmore players is insane. Cliub football success is about having15+ players within touching distance of county standard.Combined with community spirit, that’s it. Some making the county squad is just a bonus.But coming from nowhere and winning the title is no ticket to a right to now have several players playing for the County.

    Look at Corofin. They have been winning not just county titles but all-Irelands for fun for the last decade.. And how many played for the county? Just Fitzgerald for years and then Silk and Ian Burke made the break through. But most of them were not good enough to get a look-in on the county team. It’s a different level.

    If club is the benchmark, then where does that leave the Evan Regan situation – seeing that at one point it looked like he was going to win the title on his own for Ballina.

  49. Not everyone who plays club wants to commit to county, think of the time commitments, social life/family life suffering & travel required does not work for all. Playing club is fun, playing county isn’t , its serious business and results in everyone talking about your business really not for everyone.

  50. Parsons must be injured to not be included on the panel. Maybe Mikey Murray or Conor O’Shea should be brought in again as we are short on Midfielders.No Brendan Harrison or James McCormack either, must be injured too. Donal Vaughan included which means he must be over his injury. Jason Doherty also out for the season. Hard to believe Cian Hanley, Sharoize Akram, Gary Boylan, Colm Moran and a couple of other Knockmore lads cant even make this squad.

  51. Agree, all of a sudden we are gone a bit threadbare at midfield…probably time to go back to the breeding ground of big midfielders . Murray & Irwin with their age profile should be well worthy of a spot on the development squad,but might have to make do with what’s on board for this campaign.

  52. Jimbo are you talking about Conor Mortimer that’s going back a few years now. I would hope that an inter county manager would want the best footballers on his panel. Personally I’d like to see Liam Irwin on the Mayo panel because he is giifted and Has huge potential but I don’t know if he wants to or is in a position to comit

  53. @Backdoorsam
    As I understand it Liam Irwin didnt commit to Breaffy this year and went playing soccer.
    That’s a long,long way from being in a position to be picked for Mayo.

  54. Take your point re Naughton’s pace. Worth noting re McHale – most players who are going to make it, are regular inter-county players by 25. 25 is late. Looks like Horan is going with 20/21 year olds who will be regulars by 24/25.
    I did think King would make it the panel, I was impressed with him.
    Anyway, what is abundantly clear is that Horan wants to improve Mayo football and get them back to the promised land. I sincerely doubt he wants to get caught up in local politics. Just got to trust the man and the team around him!

  55. Managers seem to be going more and more for a very specific build of player. Not sure if the traditional midfielder is part of the new plan. If your going down this road though you need a kick out strategy which we don’t seem to have at the minute. If we crack the kickout conundrum we are going somewhere.. if we dont, teams will push up on us and our goose will be well cooked by Christmas 🙂

  56. Midfield will bite us this year unless Flynn and Diarmaid (when picked) act as 3rd midfielders with Loftus (if he keeps getting used) as a playmaker. Send him up to CHF for kickouts and swap positions once we’ve secured the ball.
    Regarding left footed corner forwards Carr who’s right footed has a great kick of the ball with his left. With AOS at FF, the only way to accommodate Carr is bring Cillian out to half forwards. I don’t see much starting space for Loftus yet on 2020 team if we progress through Connaught as he’s falling between 2 stools, good option for sub. Don’t see enough in SOS to give him much game time. I think Diarmaid is the best answer in midfield as good fielder, very athletic and doesn’t make many mistakes on the ball like running into Cul de Sacs which SOS and sometimes Ruane are guilty of. Flynn has physique but more a 2021 option if he adapts with more game time. Fine with him starting this one to gain experience and keep panel fresh.

  57. How clubs are doing has no bearing on County panel, the manager picks the players he needs for the panel. There are only 30 places so there will always be ones who are county standard but miss out, it’s the same with every county. There is no bias against any club nor is there favoritism towards any. There are 10 clubs represented in tomorrows starting 15 from all over the county including some who traditionally wouldn’t have players at senior county level. People need to stop trying to push the narrative that there is bias within the setup, its complete rubbish and does no one any good particularly mayo football.

  58. As for CHB slot, I don’t think it’s an issue at all. We can use Plunkett, Mccormack, Boyler, Donie, Coen, Kevin Mc, Diarmaid, Keith, Leroy and Paddy there. Eoghan MacLoughlin is a definite find on the left and should be persisted with.
    It’s corner back and full back really we haven’t ever resolved (a problem not unique to Mayo). My opinion is O’ Hora is the best option on the left so maybe stick with him and move Mullin to full back. In an emergency Leroy or Paddy can be moved back. I don’t think it’s a good idea to play Keith back there at 36, just too loose and though still very quick he’s got to be a few % off peak at this stage with ever more forwards willing to risk taking him on. Still an option in half backs if for example Keegan moved up to midfield or rotation needed in this condensed championship. Long term a big Athletic midfielder could be converted to full back (e.g. Barry Duffy played there as Mayo minor) freeing up Mullin to play CHB.

  59. It’s exciting to see 7 newcomers named. We’ve all known that transition was coming, well it looks like it’s arrived over this calendar year. 7 is a lot and you can be sure that that wouldn’t be the named team if it was Roscommon we were playing tomorrow.
    The subs bench for tomorrow will be interesting. I’d expect a few of the older lads to be on it and then come back in to the starting 15 for the Ros game (assuming we win of course).
    With the possibility of 3 games in successive weekends (after the 2 league games), rotating the panel will be key. I think that named team has that in mind.

  60. Just thinking on a side note does anyone know if the ‘facetheball’ type prediction league or anything similar is operational anymore?

  61. Many of our great warriors , time is up after many greats years and I expect most will retire at the end of this campaign. So we need to blood new talent simple as that either this year or next year. We are well behind Dublin kerry Donegal at the moment and it’s the new guys we who will need to close the gap over next two years..we will put up 20 plus scores tomorrow and win comfortably. What will be interesting will be what we will concede. Less than12 scores conceded should be our target and no soft goals…

  62. 3 things im looking for tommorow:
    1. A win
    2. No injuries
    3. A defensive plan/system.

    Monaghan needing extra time with Division 2 Cavan, or are they D3 now?. Relegation certainly hasn’t impacted on Cavan………..

  63. Monaghan thought it was game over, 6 points up and then Cavan woke up. I’d say there was some shouting and roaring in the Monaghan dressing room afterwards and the sub that came on and head butted a Cavan player, well I’m sure he won’t be getting any Christmas cards from his teammates. A lesson in this defeat for Mayo, don’t assume it’s over until the final whistle blows and to watch the discipline. The referee can see and hear everything. No crowd to distract him or the sideline officials. Well done to Cavan.

  64. Watching the cavan monaghan game, serious guts from cavan there who must have been copping a lot of flak all week
    Great start to the championship

    There is potential for plenty of upsets and twists6amd turns in this this champo. Will b a championship like no other. I think do or die suits us in a knockout championship

    A thought on Ray galligan the cavan goalie, my cavan mates tell me he has only ever played outfield all his life til his mid 20s.a deadball specialist at his club but too slow for county.
    Cavan converted him successfully to be one of the best goalies in country

    My point is, with mayos goalkeeping problems Horan needs to think outside the box over the winter. Start looking at out fielders at club level who could do the job. Can’t b going into another season with the same old

  65. That was a great bit of digging, AndyD. I was wondering when was the last time we had so many Championship debutants in a starting fifteen. I’ll check out those details for the 1975 and 1979 teams when I get a chance and, once I’ve done so, will make the necessary changes. Thanks, by the way, for pointing this out. The more accurate the archive is, the more useful a resource it is for everyone.

  66. I’m a bit worried about that half forward line. It’s very green, and Leitrim could find some joy there. Bryan Walsh is a nice footballer and can score some good points, but seems to lack the physique. Jordan and Ryan have played, but still that line seems to need an oldie.

    It’s saying something that O’Hora who was many people’s player of the league, can’t force his way in, but maybe there are other plans for him.

  67. Thanks MayoGooch for that link to the photos of the squad.

    Don’t know about others, but I wasn’t able to put names on a lot of them! And, when I hovered over Keith Higgin’s photo, he looked so much older than the others!

  68. Fair point catcol. Im worrying about O’Donoghues ability to win dirty ball. A great player running at teams on a dry sod, feel like he won’t reach his potential in Winter football…..hope im wrong of course. Id say their’ll be a couple of changes yet. Would love to see Boyle and Seamie get a start. They are tailormade for this time of yeat.

  69. I think it’s very disrespectful to Leitrim to be picking a team for the Roscommon game it’s a knockout competition and anything can happen on a winters day. Cavan were relegated to division 3 last Sunday today they knocked out Monaghan a division 1 team so let’s do a Gloria on it and take it One Day at a time.

  70. Wouldn’t surprise me if tomorrow’s game was a right struggle and we only fall over the line.
    Our middle third look very light weight again and half forward line especially look light weight. If Leitrim get off to a good start – they will make it very hard for us. You have been warned!!

  71. If he was resting Aiden , Cillian, Paddy Durcan, Lee etc, I would say he was gambling with this game but if all the starters are there on merit in A v B games then he is rightly giving Leitrim the respect they deserve.. Maybe some lads are out with knocks and others are just not fit enough to get game time hence the team that’s named. Lots of if and buts!

  72. Cavan manager Mickey Graham said they were focusing 100% on their match against Monaghan and were ready to sacrifice their division 2 status to get the win today. I’m just hoping JH has adopted the same approach, it would help to explain all the experimentation and lack of a defensive gameplan in our last two league matches. I’d expect a similar attacking style of play tomorrow and if we win, James will have a few surprises both defensively and in personnel in store for the Rossies.

  73. Leitrim have picked a very defensive team with 9 defenders starting. Hopefully we learned from the 1st half last week and our backs don’t get dragged up the field giving Leitrim oceans of space to counter in to.

    I wouldn’t have any worries about Ryan O’Donoghue. He’s brilliant at picking up dirty ball. Mark Moran doesn’t have that trait yet and I don’t think conditions tomorrow will suit him. Jordan Flynn and Bryan Walsh are both 6 foot plus so aren’t lightweight by any means.

  74. Ryan did excellent the last day but I do still feel he will struggle with physicality, especially against the top teams. I could be wrong, as his last 15mins against Tyrone were top-drawer, when our backs were to the wall. So he’s absolutely earning his spot. A brave and skillful player.

  75. Little bit worried about the 7 debutants. Would be happier with 4 but will trust management. Presumably Leitrim will use it as a motivational tool as in they not being respected (I don’t think that the case). Sometimes in one off games if teams fall behind it could be hard to get momentum back. Still I expect we win handy enough in the end.

  76. Shuffly Deck I’d be with you as regards Jordan Flynn. He’s a player I’ve have great regard for and I see him as being very important as a replacement for Seamie in midfield. In my view he’ll be like for like there, he’s a very accurate passer, capable of the odd score and will be a big presence there. I don’t think his discipline will be an issue, his last few transgressions in a mayo jersey were, to my mind, harshly dealt with by officials so hopefully they’ll have gotten over his red mist in the under 21 final from 2018.

  77. no need for rte player or laptop to watch the game , just switch on the rte news channell. it is no. 21 on saorview

  78. Lads I wouldn’t worry in the slightest about Ryan O’D winning dirty ball, it’s one of his best skills. He always does well at this. Winning dirty ball is nothing to do with physicality and all about heart and timing. Ryan has this much more than Moran or Walsh. Just look at how good Kevin Mc has been at this despite being one of the smallest/slightest on the team.

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