A debut for Castlebar Mitchels youngster Donnacha McHugh, a first start for Aiden Orme and the return of Jason Doherty from a long injury layoff are the standouts from James Horan’s team selection for Sunday’s Allianz Football League Division 1 opener against Donegal.
Newcomers Sam Callinan, Ruairí Keane, Frank Irwin and Pearse Ruttledge are also named on a substitutes bench that includes last year’s captain Aidan O’Shea and former All-Star defender Brendan Harrison.
The team features nine of the side that started last September’s All-Ireland final defeat to Tyrone.
Jason Doherty’s last game for Mayo was also against Donegal in the Super 8s on August 3, 2019. Eoghan McLaughlin and Conor O’Shea all return to the starting fifteen with Castlebar Mitchels’ Donnacha McHugh making his league debut at centre-back. McLaughlin is joined on the team by his Westport teammates Lee Keegan, at corner-back, and Fionn McDonagh at wing forward. Five-time All-Star Keegan will make his 130th league and championship appearance this Sunday.
Knockmore’s Aiden Orme wears number 11 with all his previous appearances having come off the bench. The team will be captained from full-back for the first time by Stephen Coen.
Mayo: Rob Hennelly; Lee Keegan, Stephen Coen, Padraig O’Hora; Paddy Durcan, Donnacha McHugh, Eoghan McLaughlin; Conor O’Shea, Conor Loftus; Fionn McDonagh, Aiden Orme, Diarmuid O’Connor; Tommy Conroy, Jason Doherty, Ryan O’Donoghue. Subs: Rory Byrne, Sam Callinan, Brendan Harrison, Michael Plunkett, Ruairi Keane, Aidan O’Shea, Jordan Flynn, Pearse Ruttledge, Bryan Walsh, Paul Towey, Frank Irwin.