Mayo manager James Horan has named six players who will make their championship debut on Sunday in London. The game against the exiles will be Horan’s maiden championship contest in the Bainisteoir’s bib. The half dozen who will make their first championship starts are Robert Hennelly in goal, full back Alan Feeney, and his brother Richie Feeney at wing back. The midfield pairing of Jason Gibbons and James Kilcullen will also be making their first championship start, while Jason Doherty, whose goal-getting ability lit up Mayo’s National Football League campaign, has unsurprisingly been given the number 15 shirt for the championship opener.
Horan has also given starts to both Trevor Howley and Donal Vaughan who missed the league campaign, with Vaughan coming in at the lynchpin centre half back position. Howley has been named as a corner forward, but will more than likely operate as a seventh defender in a sweeping role, which was previously done by his Knockmore clubmate Kevin McLoughlin. Horan has a very strong bench named for the game, with experienced goalkeeper David Clarke starting on the sideline alongside the likes of Peadar Gardiner, Aidan O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin and the recently returned Shrule-Glencorrib duo of former captain Trevor Mortimer and Dermot Geraghty. The 15 picked by Horan sees Ballina Stephenites Ger Cafferkey move back into corner back after playing at centre half back during the league, with Belmullet’s Chris Barrett starting at wing back on Sunday. Horan had to plan without a number of injured players including Ronan McGarrity, Keith Higgins, Seamus O’Shea and Neil Douglas.
The game will be Mayo’s first visit to London since Mickey Moran’s side made the trip during the Leitrim manager’s solitary season in charge of the side. Like most years that Mayo or any of the other Connacht sides make the trip to Ruislip, there will be a scattering of players from Mayo lining out for London against their home county. This year a gang of four exiles will be lining out with London, Kiltaine duo Tony Gaughan and John Scanlon are joined by Crossmolina’s Seán Kelly and Ballaghaderreen’s Noel Tuohy. The game will throw in at 3pm and you can read the Mayo Advertiser’s match report on the action on www.advetiser.ie/mayo on Sunday evening.
Stars of the future line out in curtain raiser
The Mayo u15 School of Excellence squad have been invited by the London GAA Board to take part in a blitz involving teams from all over England this weekend. The squad fly out from Shannon on Friday morning, and are being put up by host families in London over the weekend. The Blitz will take place on Saturday at 12pm in Greenford. The Mayo squad will be split into two teams, Green and Red.
On Sunday a Mayo u15 selection will take on a London u15 selection as a curtain raiser to the main Mayo v London Senior Championship game; this game will throw-in at 12.45pm.
The squad of 42 u15 players are being accompanied by academy coaches Mike Fitzmaurice, Eoin Sweeney, Eugene Lavin, Johnny Maughan, Tom Byrne, Damien Gavin, Richard O'Halloran, Martin Costello, Barry Murphy, Padraic Walsh and Billy McNicholas. Anyone in the area is asked to come along and support the lads on Saturday and Sunday.