O’Mahony wields the axe

Conor Mortimer has been dropped from the Mayo team for Sunday’s game.

HE'S GOT YOUR NUMBER: Conor Mortimer's record against Damien Burke has been poor and we reckon its part of the reason for the dropping of the Mayo corner-forward for Sunday's NFL clash with Galway.
HE’S GOT YOUR NUMBER: Conor Mortimer’s record against Damien Burke has been poor and we reckon its part of the reason for the dropping of the Mayo corner-forward for Sunday’s NFL clash with Galway.

Our leading scorer and most dangerous forward has been dropped for a big clash against our near neighbours with the team released this morning.

In all there are three changes to the starting XV from the Dublin game. Kieran Conroy comes in as a direct swop for Chris Barrett while in attack Barry Kelly and the Mort lose out with Aidan O’Shea and Mikey Sweeney coming in.

That has led to some positional changes too – Ronaldson taking Kelly’s number 10 jersey with Sweeney taking the number 15 jersey vacated by Ronaldson. O’Shea will wear 14 in place of Austie who takes the number 13 jersey worn seldom by anyone but Conor Mortimer.

So what to think about the big switch? Well my friend Willie Joe takes a critical view of the dropping of Conor on his Mayo GAA Blog but I’m gonna have to disagree with WJ on this one. I reckon its a great play by John O’Mahony.

First of all Conor has been dire in the last two games against Kerry and Dublin and as Mike Finnerty points out in his match report in The Mayo News, Conoreen hasn’t scored from play now for two and a half hours.

Secondly he’d be going into a game against Galway where he’d be marked by Damien Burke, who is, much like Kerry’s Tom O’Sullivan, a player who has Mortimer’s game well sussed and its 2006 since Conor last played acceptably well against the Herron Chokers.

So given that Conor’s form is poor and is unlikely to get any better against Galway, it would be fair to assume his confidence would be on the floor afterwards, if he were to start against Burke.

So why not get him out of this rut he’s in by showing him that his place is far from guaranteed. As the father would say ‘give him a kick up the you know what’.

We know we’ll need him for championship and JOM knows that too. But this intervention could be very timely. And I think its practical too from a point of view of just looking at Sunday’s game in isolation.

He can still be used as a substitute and I’d bet my bottom dollar (no jokes about my betting record please) that we’ll get a better return on Sunday from Conor off the bench for maybe 25-30 minutes in the second half than if he started. He’ll have a point to prove, whereas starting him from the start would probably see him fall into the usual difficulties with Burke.

And the move by JOM serves another purpose. It shows that no one is indispensable. We thought that both Mortimer brothers were after the Dublin game. Conor was extremely lucky not to be taken off in that game where an average corner-back in Alan Hubbard destroyed him.

The message has been sent out – if you’re not playing well, you’ll be off the team, regardless of who you are.

So on Sunday we’ll have an inside line of Austy, Aidan O’Shea and Mikey Sweeney. Austy might present more of a challenge to Damien Burke than Conor. Burke is quicker than Conor, stronger and smarter. But Austy will be a somewhat different proposition and will have  height and strength on his side, along with being two footed.

O’Shea from the start is an interesting proposition. It’s asking a lot of the 18 year old but he’ll give plenty of it to Finian Hanley imo, if he gets long ball directly into him for Sweeney and Austy to feed off.

I reckon we’ll go close on Sunday and I wouldn’t be surprised if the game opens up late on if a blonde maned substitute comes on for the green and red and ends up the matchwinner!

Mayo team: David Clarke; Liam O’Malley, Ger Cafferkey, Kieran Conroy; Peadar Gardiner, Tom Cunniffe, Andy Moran; Pat Harte, Ronan McGarrity; Mark Ronaldson, Trevor Mortimer, Alan Dillon; Austin O’Malley, Aidan O’Shea, Mikey Sweeney.

Galway: Adrian Faherty; Niall Coyne, Finian Hanley, Damien Burke; Gareth Bradshaw, Diarmuid Blake, David Reilly; Barry Cullinane,  Joe Bergin; Sean Armstrong, Padraic Joyce, Damien Dunleavy; Paul Conroy, Michael Meehan, Matthew Clancy.

Log on tomorrow and we’ll have a more direct look at the game itself.


2 Responses to “O’Mahony wields the axe”

  1. 1 albany March 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    AGREE 100% Mort is being “rested2 for the start of the game… with all the fuss you’d think he got 10 yrs in solitary.
    For god sake any football manager from u 12 up knows that no player should be guaranteed his place and all involved should be waiting with bated breath for team announcement to see if they made the cut. I doubt if Mort will be too troubled by this move it gives him a chance to come in and make shapes late on. I wager Ronan wouldn’t have minded some of that either the form he’s been showing is poor of late every player goes through this at some time and it should be spotted and handled by management thank god Jonno has made a start.

  2. 2 thereisalightthatnevergoesout March 28, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Yeah it does send a strong signal and reaffirms who the boss is. We weren’t so certain at stages this year and last. McGarrity has been indifferent so far and not starting Parsons too might be sending out a signal because while he has been excellent for the Under 21s, he has been indifferent for the seniors.

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