The speculation as to who would captain Mayo this year was ended by Mayo manager James Horan who announced his team for Saturday nights’ encounter with Down in McHale Park on Wednesday afternoon. Ballintubber’s Alan Dillon was given the captain’s armband for the game, with Andy Moran the vice captain.
Horan has also give first league starts to two of the men who were key parts of the Mayo senior football championship last year. Cathal Hallinan will line out at full back with Jason Gibbons partnering Ronan McGarrity in the middle of the park. Hallinan will be joined in the full back line by Tom Cunniffe and Keith Higgins in the corners, with Richie Feeney and Kevin McLoughlin flanking Ger Cafferkey in the half back line. Aidan O’Shea will wear the number 11 jersey, with Dillon and Moran either side of him. In the full forward line Mark Ronaldson will be looking to keep up his good scoring performances from the FBD League in the corner, while Alan Freeman holds on to the full forward berth and Enda Varley will be in the other corner.
On the bench Horan has given youth it’s chance to impress if needed. Eoin Reilly, Neil Douglas, Andrew Farrell, Lee Keegan, Cillian O’Connor and Ruaidhri O’Connor have all been given spots, alongside more established names like Peader Gardiner, Tom Parsons, Barry Moran and the returning Aidan Campbell. Robert Hennelly, who wasn’t involved in the FBD League after playing with DCU in the O’Byrne Cup, will be the sub keeper on Saturday night.
Mayo: K O'Malley; T Cunniffe, C Hallinan, K Higgins; R Feeney, G Cafferkey, K McLoughlin; R McGarrity, J Gibbons; A Moran, A O'Shea, A Dillon; E Varley, A Freeman, M Ronaldson.