Mayo team picked – let the countdown commence

John O’Mahony has named his first team for this year’s National Football League. And there’s a few interesting selections for the clash with Galway.

IN AT NUMBER 13: Garrymore's Enda Varley

Two really. Seamus O’Shea at centre-half forward and Enda Varley at right-corner forward. We spoke of the merits of both players in recent weeks and are glad to see management going with them.

But we have to wonder why Seamus O’Shea is being picked on the forty. A hardworking, physical midfielder he is. A creative, ball playing centre-forward he most certainly isn’t. Perhaps he will drift back as a third midfielder or maybe switch to the wing with either Andy Moran (preferably) or Trevor Mortimer coming inside. We’ll soon find out but we have to wonder why he wasn’t picked at midfield. Have Tom Parsons and Ronan McGarrity done enough to nail down those two positions? No is my asssessment.

You must wonder how Barry Kelly feels. Picked out  of position at centre-half forward for two FBD games but didn’t put a foot wrong. Excels when moved to midfield. Now sees an even more out of position man on the forty ahead of him and two lads who never rose above the mediocre picked ahead of him at midfield.

Its good to see Enda Varley start in the corner and both he and Mark Ronaldson could work well of Aidan O’Shea on the edge of the square. O’Shea, of course, made his senior NFL debut last year against Galway in Tuam and gave Finian Hanley plenty of it. Be warned Mr Hanley, he’s bigger and stronger now. Our two corner forwards could do well considering they are on an attacking minded defender (Gareth Bradshaw) and a rookie (Donal O’Neill).

Elsewhere in the Mayo team there’s no major surprises. David Clarke starts in goal. Ger Cafferkey is returned to full-back with two wing backs alongside him – Donal Vaughan and Keith Higgins. Peadar Gardiner and Kevin McLoughlin flank either side of Trevor Howley in the half-back line. Parsons and McGarrity are at midfield with the Moran-SO’Shea and T-Mort half forward line in front of them.

It would have been nice to see guys like Alan Feeney, Barry Kelly, James Kilcullen and James Burke given a shot but our manager clearly feels this is a must win game for this league campaign – he’s probably right given how our fixtures fall.

Still, it is interesting to see the Galway team in comparison. Michael Meehan not picked. Would Mayo ever be willing to leave a player of his calibre on the bench for a league game? I doubt it. But Joe Kernan knows exactly how good Meehan is and what he can offer. He needs to learn more about the likes of Sean Armstrong, Nicky Joyce and Michael Martin, so he has went for that full-forward line. By the way I worry that that trio could have our full-back line in a world of trouble.

For all my criticism of Parsons and McGarrity they still will be looking at trying to at least break even against Mark Lydon and Joe Bergin. Seamus O’Shea will probably be helping them out too.

The countdown continues.

Mayo: David Clarke; Donal Vaughan, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Peadar Gardiner, Trevor Howley, Kevin McLoughlin; Tom Parsons, Ronan McGarrity; Andy Moran, Seamus O’Shea, Trevor Mortimer; Enda Varley, Aidan O’Shea, Mark Ronaldson.

Galway: Paul Doherty; Gareth Bradshaw, Finian Hanley, Donal O’Neill; Declan Meehan, Gary O’Donnell, Niall Coyne; Joe Bergin, Mark Lydon; Paddy Kennedy, Paul Conroy, Niall Coleman; Sean Armstrong, Nicky Joyce, Michael Martin.

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