UP FOR THE MATCH Eircom GAA ambassadors Ciaran Whelan, left, and Johnny Doyle, are pictured with supporters Tara O'Farrell, Mayo, and Roisin Kavanagh, Tyrone, at Croke Park ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland SFC semi-final. Pic: Sportsfile
All Star defender named in attack for Mayo-Tyrone game
THE Mayo team for next Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone shows no changes from the 15 which started against Donegal.
The main talking point is the selection at centre half-forward of Keith Higgins. Mayo News columnist Kevin McStay believes the Ballyhaunis man will be key to Mayo’s attempts to break down the Tyrone system.
“Higgins is one of Mayo’s penetrators,” says the RTÉ analyst. “He has outrageous pace, and my sense is he will play there [in the half-forward line] especially if Mayo attempt to get through Tyrone using hand-passes. The long ball is not really Mayo’s style.”
Tom Cunniffe, who picked up a hamstring injury in the quarter-final, came through last weekend’s A versus B match and is named at corner back.
“There’s nobody in the backs that’s going to come up in the forwards!” noted McStay, who added that Mayo had ‘intended’ to play Keith Higgins in attack against Donegal until Cunniffe’s injury. “He won’t be there for no reason. It’s a big responsibility for him, he’ll be carrying ball into a lot of traffic.
“What Tyrone will want is to create a huge gap between the Mayo half-back and full-back line. They’ll hope that when Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle and Donal Vaughan carry ball, they’ll turn it over and create an enormous gap between the Mayo full-back and half-back lines. But I can’t see Mayo allowing that to happen.”
Meanwhile, tickets for Sunday’s double-header are continuing to sell fast with over 60,000 tickets believed to have been sold at the time of writing.
The action gets underway at Croke Park at 1.30pm on Sunday when the Mayo minors take on Ulster champions Monaghan. The senior semi-final throws-in at 3.30pm.
The Mayo team is as follows:
Robert Hennelly (Breaffy); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Chris Barrett Belmullet); Lee Keegan (Westport), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), Colm Boyle (Davitts); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber); Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen).