LiveGaelic.com » KELLY’S EYE – (Dublin Reshuffle, Options Frightening)

17 May

KELLY’S EYE – (Dublin Reshuffle, Options Frightening)

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Posted by Darren Kelly in Features | May 2017

Looking over the Dublin squad, a frightening thought came to us. Michael Darragh Macauley is a massive loss and a certainty in any other county team. But he didn’t start last year’s All-Ireland final – which Dublin won! It’s a blow for Jim Gavin, but it’s not the end of the world!

The thing with Dublin is as one sits to try pick a championship team, big names are going to lose out. The league has provided serious contenders for starting spots. And it’s also left certain players vulnerable.

Dublin’s starting team in the All-Ireland Final was: Stephen Cluxton; Philly McMahon, Jonny Cooper, Michael Fitzsimons; James McCarthy, Cian O’Sullivan, John Small; Brian Fenton, Paul Flynn; Diarmuid Connolly, Kevin McManamon, Ciaran Kilkenny; Paul Mannion, Dean Rock, Paddy Andrews.

In any other county, that would effectively be the team that faces Carlow or Wexford on June 3rd but as many as four changes could occur for a fully fit line-up. We are going to make the brave calls but also accept that we’ll have some surprise picks and omissions. And no doubt, will have changes.

Firstly, our four picks are Bernard Brogan, Eric Lowndes, Jack McCaffrey and Niall Scully. Losing out are Fitzsimons, O’Sullivan, Flynn and Mannion.

Goalkeeper – CLUXTON:

This is a no brainer. Cluxton is probably the county’s greatest ever keeper and we rate John O’Leary very highly. There’ll be no arguments with this selection.

Full Backs – McMAHON, COOPER, LOWNDES:

McMahon and Cooper are obvious picks and there’s a strong case for Fitzsimons to remain but he only started one championship game in 2016. Lowndes’ league form was solid and he gives a wing back option as well and deserves a start.

Half Backs – McCARTHY, McCAFFREY, SMALL:

O’Sullivan’s omission required some soul searching. McCarthy is a cert and while some see him in midfield, you don’t take one of your best players out of his best position. McCaffrey and Small are both natural sevens but McCaffrey is a safer bet inside.

Midfield – FENTON, KILKENNY:

Fenton is one of Dublin’s top three players and will man the middle. Who’ll partner him is the mystery? Ciaran Reddin put in some good league displays, Flynn started there in the 2016 All-Ireland Final. But Kilkenny could provide strong leadership at number nine.

Half Forwards – CONNOLLY, McMANAMON, SCULLY:

Many options here with Connolly a mobile attacker, and McManamon often best off the bench. Scully showed well in the spring and deserves a proper look hence Kilkenny to midfield. And Flynn always dangerous when sprung from the bench.

Full Forwards – ROCK, ANDREWS, BROGAN:

Rock is one of the few certs. The other two may stir debate. Brogan showed in the league final that he still is effective. Andrews is Dublin’s best 14 though can interchange with Connolly or Brogan. Mannion is another super sub gamechanger.

At the end of the day, Gavin will decide the starting 15 and while Macauley’s loss is disappointing for Dublin, there’s other areas he’ll be looking at also. Any speculated side will leave out key names and we didn’t even mention David Byrne, Reddin or Conor McHugh.

Despite their league loss to Kerry, the Metropolitans are still primed for an assault on Sam Maguire and look to have plenty of options for the summer.

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