Galway make two changes to Mayo's ten as teams named for Allianz NFL Division 1 final

Robert Finnerty returns for Galway on Sunday

Frank Roche

Pádraic Joyce has made two changes in personnel for Galway’s Allianz Football League final showdown with Mayo.

Regular netminder Connor Gleeson returns between the posts as Bernard Power reverts to the bench, while there’s a welcome corner-forward recall for Rob Finnerty has an injury-disrupted league.

The Salthill/Knocknacarra man reclaims the No 13 jersey at the expense of his fellow clubman, Tomo Culhane.

But Galway fans craving an instant recall for fit-again Damien Comer must be satisfied with another impact role for the current All Star full-forward.

Gleeson was culpable for Armagh’s goal in round six of the league, failing to keep out a speculative punt from his wandering opposite number, Ethan Rafferty, in echoes of his fraught day against the same opposition in Croke Park last June.

Veteran understudy Power was restored for Galway’s final regulation outing against Kerry and fared well, especially when saving at point blank range from Seán O’Shea in the dying minutes. But Gleeson’s first choice status would appear to have been underlined by his inclusion for the final.

Meanwhile, Finnerty is restored to the inside line alongside Shane Walsh, having kicked a fine point during a fourth quarter cameo against Kerry. Comer had already been introduced at that stage and he too landed a point but, for now at least, he starts on the bench.

GALWAY (NFL v Mayo) – C Gleeson; J McGrath, S Kelly, S Fitzgerald; D McHugh, J Daly, C Hernon; P Conroy, J Maher; M Tierney, J Heaney, P Cooke; R Finnerty, S Walsh, C Sweeney. Subs: B Power, J Glynn, D O’Flaherty, Paul Kelly, R Monaghan, Patrick Kelly, O Gallagher, T Culhane, D Conneely, D Comer, I Burke.

Kevin McStay has recalled his front-line troops as Mayo target Allianz Football League glory against arch-rivals Galway in Croke Park.

The Mayo boss has made ten changes for Sunday’s Division 1 decider at HQ (4pm), but that eye-catching statistic can be explained by the raft of alterations he had made for last weekend’s home clash with Monaghan, at which point they had already qualified for the final.

In essence, Mayo have reverted to the team that started their round six trip to Donegal.

That means recalls for ‘keeper Colm Reape, Jack Coyne and David McBrien in the full-back line, skipper Paddy Durcan and Conor Loftus at half-back, midfield anchor Diarmuid O'Connor, along with Fionn McDonagh, Jack Carney, James Carr and Ryan O'Donoghue in attack.

The ten players who started in the defeat to Monaghan but now drop from the first 15 are Robbie Hennelly, Donnacha McHugh, Pádraig O’Hora, Michael Plunkett, Jason Doherty, Bob Tuohy (one of Mayo’s best performers last weekend), Kevin McLoughlin (who went off injured), Frank Irwin, Conor McStay and Paul Towey (who had assumed free-taking duties last weekend).

The obvious caveat is the possibility of 11th hour changes, given Mayo’s tendency for making late switches to their match programme team.

That said, naming such a strong line-up on paper reinforces the impression that McStay’s management team will make a full-blooded assault on a first league title since 2019 – despite the complication of a looming Connacht SFC opener at home to Roscommon just a week later.

Cillian O’Connor and Enda Hession, both recent injury absentees, are not included in the starting line-up, nor is Tommy Conroy who has returned from his cruciate injury this spring but wasn’t involved in the match-day 26 last Sunday.

Mayo's Sam Callinan, in action here against Monaghan, keeps his place for Sunday's Allianz NFL Division 1 final against Galway

Mayo (NFL v Galway) – C Reape; J Coyne, D McBrien, S Callinan; S Coen, C Loftus, P Durcan (capt); M Ruane, D O'Connor; F McDonagh, J Carney, J Flynn; A O'Shea, J Carr, R O'Donoghue.