Horan rings the changes again for Kerry clash

GAA: National Football League

Back in the starting team: Aidan O'Shea has been named in the Mayo team for their trip to Tralee. Photo: Sportsfile

Back in the starting team: Aidan O'Shea has been named in the Mayo team for their trip to Tralee. Photo: Sportsfile

Mayo manager James Horan has made six changes to his side from the one that started against Armagh in Hyde Park a fortnight ago, for their trip to Tralee on Saturday night where they will take on Kerry.

Back into the side comes goalkeeper Rob Hennelly who missed the Armagh game after picking up a knock in the warm-up; also coming into the starting 15 are Ballina Stephenites defender Padraig O'Hora and Castlebar Mitchels man Paddy Durcan.

In attack, Aidan O'Shea gets his first start of the league campaign in the number eleven jersey after impressing off the bench in the four games to date, also getting the nod to start in attack are Kilmeena's Jack Carney, who will line out at wing-forward and Aghamore's Fergal Boland, who is given the number 13 jersey.

Horan has dipped into the strength and depth of his squad so far this season in the league and this weekend looks to be no different against a Kerry side who sit on seven points in the table with three wins and a draw so far - the same record as Mayo.

This will be Mayo's first trip to Tralee in the league since 2019, a game that Mayo won on their way to winning the league title, where they beat Kerry in the final.

Jack O'Connor is back in charge of Kerry this year for the third time in his career and his side have hit the ground running, impressing in both the McGrath Cup and the National Football League. They were held to a draw by Kildare on the opening weekend of the league, in Jack O'Connor's first league game back in charge of his home county after being the Kildare manager the previous two years.

They followed that up with a destruction of Dublin in Tralee on a wet and windy night, where they were out of sight by half-time before eventually winning by seven points at the end. Then they took apart the challenge of Donegal in Killarney with another powerful first half display seeing them home and hosed by the turnaround. In their last outing they went to Clones and came home with the points in the bag after seeing off Monaghan by eight points at their ease.

Both sides have been impressing so far this year and Saturday night's game promises to be another thrilling encounter with neither side wanting to let the other get the upper hand before a potential clash in the championship later on in the year.

Mayo have been slow starters in a number of games so far this year before thundering through in the second half to secure the points, but the way Kerry have played in the first half in a number of their games so far this season shows that Mayo will have to be at it from the word go, because reeling in a deficit against them compared to some of the other sides in the division, will be a much harder task.

Horan's faith in his squad has been rewarded well so far in the league and his belief in them has been shown again by his shaking up of the starting 15 once more for this game. He will also be confident that he has plenty of experience in the likes of Kevin McLoughlin and Brendan Harrison to call on from the bench if needed, along with exciting young talents such as Enda Hession, Frank Irwin, Donnacha McHugh and Paul Towey.

All roads lead to Tralee on Saturday night and another thriller is lying in store for the Mayo faithful who make the long trip south this weekend.


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