Saturday 17 August 2019

Clarke out and Hennelly in as James Horan names team for Mayo's do-or-die showdown with Donegal

James Horan with Rob Hennelly
James Horan with Rob Hennelly
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

James Horan has turned to Rob Hennelly and handed him the Mayo No 1 jersey for this evening's must-win Super 8s clash with Donegal in Castlebar (6.0).

The much-maligned Mayo kick-out has been under pressure this summer and speculation has been rife all week that two-time All-Star goalkeeper David Clarke would make way for Hennelly's return.

Clarke is renowned as one of the best shot-stoppers in the game but his kick-outs have come under serious pressure in their last two games with Kerry vigorously attacking his restarts to good effect and Meath doing likewise.

Word from out West last night was that Clarke had sustained an injury in training and, according to insiders, the Ballina Stephenites clubman isn't fit to play ahead of the do-or-die encounter.

Hennelly - who famously replaced Clarke in the starting team for the 2016 All-Ireland final replay with Dublin before enduring a harrowing afternoon - began the championship as the Westerners' first-choice goalkeeper.

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Having been one of their stand-out performers in their Division 1 league win, the Breaffy 'keeper opened their campaign against New York but found himself usurped after some crucial mistakes in their shock Connacht SFC semi-final loss to Roscommon.

Clarke returned for their qualifier journey and has remained in situ since but his training ground injury has now ruled him out. It's yet another injury blow to add to Horan's long list which has included the likes of Matthew Ruane and Diarmuid O'Connor this summer.

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Rmours that O'Connor could return from a broken wrist to skipper the side tonight were unfounded but other knocks being carried by Aidan O'Shea and Lee Keegan have received much-needed healing time and both are named. Keith Higgins is also back on the bench having missed their nine-point defeat of Meath two weeks ago.

In another boost for Horan, Tom Parsons is back into the match-day squad at number 20 for the first time since a horrible injury last summer necessitated three surgeries to reconstruct his knee.

Eoin O'Donoghue and James Carr also come into the team for Donal Vaughan and Kevin McLoughlin.

Mayo team v Donegal: Robert Hennelly; Chris Barrett, Brendan Harrison, Eoin O'Donoghue; Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Stephen Coen; Aidan O’Shea, Seamus O’Shea; Fionn McDonagh, Jason Doherty, Fergal Boland; Cillian O'Connor, Darren Coen, James Carr

Substitutes: Micheál Schlingermann, Keith Higgins, Michael Plunkett, Tom Parsons, Matthew Ruane, Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran, Patrick Durcan

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