Fergal Boland set to make championship debut
THE Mayo team named to face Sligo in Sunday’s Connacht SFC quarter-final in Castlebar shows five changes from the side that started last October’s All-Ireland Final replay defeat to Dublin.
All Star goalkeeper David Clarke (33) is handed the number one shirt, twelve years after making his first senior championship start against Roscommon.
His Ballina Stephenites club-mate, Ger Cafferkey, is also reinstated after missing almost 14 months of inter-county action due to a serious hamstring injury.
Belmullet’s Chris Barrett returns in place of the injured Brendan Harrison.
Sunday is set to be a big day for Fergal Boland, who is the only player named in the first XV who will be making his senior championship debut.
The 21 year-old from Aghamore, who won a Nicky Rackard Cup medal with the Mayo hurlers last year, started all seven of Mayo’s matches in the National Football League.
At the other end of the spectrum, Andy Moran (33) begins his 15th championship season in the Mayo number 15 jersey. Assuming he features against Sligo, Mayo’s ‘most-capped’ footballer of all-time will be making his 149th appearance for the county team between National League and championship.
Meanwhile, Conor O’Shea from Breaffy has been named at left-half forward with his brother, Aidan, expected to be among the Mayo substitutes.
The five players left out from last October’s All-Ireland Final replay team are Rob Hennelly, the aforementioned Harrison, Donie Vaughan, Aidan O’Shea and Jason Doherty.
Sunday’s match throws-in at 2pm at MacHale Park, and is preceded by the meeting of Mayo and Sligo in the Connacht Under 17 football championship.
D Clarke; C Barrett, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle, P Durcan; S O Shea, T Parsons; F Boland, D O’Connor, C O’Shea; K McLoughlin, C O’Connor, A Moran.
Subs: 16. R Hennelly; 17. C Crowe; 18. S Coen; 19. D Vaughan; 20. D Drake; 21. S Nally; 22. A O’Shea; 23. J Doherty; 24. E Regan; 25. D Kirby; 26. C Loftus.