We named our team and subs for tomorrow night’s NFL Division One clash with Dublin at McHale Park (throw-in 7pm) a short while ago. Here’s the full teamsheet:
Mayo (NFL Division One v Dublin, 31/3/2012): David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites); Kevin Keane (Westport), Shane McHale (Knockmore), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Lee Keegan (Westport), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Danny Geraghty (Ballintubber); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber); Conor Mortimer (Parnells, Dublin), Barry Moran (Castlebar Mitchels), Michael Conroy (Davitts). Subs: Robert Hennelly (Breaffy), Eoghan Reilly (Castlebar Mitchels), Michael Walsh (Ardnaree), Peadar Gardiner (Crossmolina), Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber), Pat Harte (Ballina Stephenites), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Aidan Campbell (Swinford), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites).
So we’ve made four changes (it always seems to be four) but there are sure to be a few arched eyebrows at at least two of them. The first is Shane McHale in at full-back for Ger Cafferkey. The Ballina man isn’t even named in the subs so unless he went AWOL around the town the other evening (and I’ve no reason to suspect he did) then I guess he must be injured – right?
The second is Danny Geraghty getting a starting berth in a new midfield pairing for us – this is, by my count, our sixth new midfield partnership since the year began – alongside the recalled Aidan O’Shea. We definitely needed to do something with midfield, which has been beaten badly in recent matches, but James is really sticking his neck out by giving Geraghty the start here. Poor old Jason Gibbons – you’d have to wonder how long he’ll remain happy to be occupying a place on the bench after this latest slap in the face.
Barry Moran at 14 is certainly an answer to FourGoal’s prayers to see us deploy a big man at the edge of the square and if he can provide ball for Mort and Mickey Conroy then they’re certainly the lads to do damage with it. Neither Alan Freeman nor Cillian O’Connor can really have any complaints to be losing out in this particular reshuffle. But who’ll be taking the frees now, I wonder?
No sign of Richie or Alan Feeney in the match-day squad and Enda Varley’s continuing absence from the bench would indicate that he’s spending time on the naughty step too. If ever there was a time to eschew macho management then tomorrow night is surely it. Again, I really hope James knows what he’s doing.
In summary, we’re rolling the dice in a major way for this one, all the more so given that we’re facing a strong, settled and hugely confident Dublin team. We’ll be doing very well, I fear, to get anything out of this game.