Mayo reveal starting team for Nicky Rackard Cup final
The Mayo team for tomorrow's Nicky Rackard Cup final against Donegal has been named.
It shows one change in personnel and a couple of positional switches from last weekend's semi-final victory over Leitrim in Elverys MacHale Park.
Back into the team comes Brian Hunt at wing-back, with Sean Regan switching to the centre of the field in place of Sean Mulroy. Named at number nine alongside Regan is Sean Kenny, with Adrian Phillips going to right wing forward. Stephen Coyne continues to captain the team from full-back.
Elsewhere it's as you were, as Derek Walsh shows great consistency in his team selection.
The Mayo team in full is: Gerard Kelly; Gary Nolan, Stephen Coyne, John Cassidy; Brian Hunt, David Kenny, Cathal Freeman; Sean Regan, Sean Kenny; Adrian Phillips, Shane Boland, Corey Scahill; Jason Coyne, Brian Morley, Eoin Delaney.
Like opponents Donegal, Mayo are former winners of the Nicky Rackard Cup. Donegal are in their fourth final, in fact, having won two of the their previous three finals – in 2013 and 2018. Mayo, meanwhile, while champions in 2016 after accounting for Donegal in the semi-final.
Just four of the starting team that beat Armagh in that 2016 final remain in the first 15 this weekend, namely Shane Boland, Sean Regan, David Kenny and Cathal Freeman, while Donegal still have the bulk of their 2018 team available, and the likes of Joe Boyle, Danny Cullen, Ronan McDermott, Seán McVeigh, Ciarán Mathewson and Lee Henderson all remain from their first Nicky Rackard title back in 2013.
Mayo had been operating two divisions up from Donegal in the Allianz National League but the counties will be cross paths next year following Mayo's relegation from Division 2A and Donegal's promotion from Division 3A.
Mayo's path to the final included victories over Monaghan and Tyrone, both away from home, which set up last Saturday's semi-final against Leitrim in Castlebar. In those three games Mayo have scored 7-78 – an average of 33 points per game – while Donegal's 8-51 in three victories over Longford, Armagh and Tyrone gives them an average tally of 25 points per game.
On paper Mayo have the edge in defence too, having conceded 14 fewer points than Donegal, 3-30 as against 3-44.
Shane Boland is Mayo's top scorer on 1-31 (0-24 frees), a tally that places him at the top of the Nicky Rackard Cup scoring charts overall in 2020, while Donegal's top marksman is Jack O'Loughlin on 0-12 (0-6 frees).
It would be dangerous to conclude from those statistics that Mayo have a clear edge over Donegal, however, as finals have a habit of taking on a life of their own.
Throw-in is at 1.30 p.m. in Croke Park, with TG4 live-streaming both the Nicky Rackard Cup final and the Christy Ring Cup decider between Down and Kildare, which follows later in the afternoon.
*Pictured above, even double-tagging Shane Boland didn't work for Leitrim as he emerged from the Nicky Rackard Cup semi-final as the game's top scorer – and is the top scorer for the championship overall. He's bound to come in for close attention from Donegal in tomorrow's final as well. Photo: @MayoGAA / Ciara Buckley