Dublin named their starting fifteen for tomorrow night a short while ago and a strong team it is too. Here it is:
Dublin (NFL Division One v Mayo 29/3/2014): Stephen Cluxton (Parnells); Jonny Cooper (Na Fianna), Rory O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes), Darren Daly (Fingal Ravens); James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams), Tomás Brady (Na Fianna), Kevin Nolan (Kilmacud Crokes); Michael Darragh Macauley (Ballyboden St Enda’s), Cian O’Sullivan (Kilmacud Crokes); Paul Flynn (Fingallians), Alan Brogan (St Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh), Diarmuid Connolly (St Vincents); Kevin McManamon (St Jude’s), Eoghan O’Gara (Templeogue Synge Street), Paddy Andrews (St Brigid’s).
So then that’s all of seven changes from the rather understrength team that Jim Gavin sent out to face Derry at Celtic Park two weekends ago. Out from then go Sean George, Philly McMahon (suspended), Mick Fitzsimons, Darragh Nelson, Davy Byrne, Bryan Cullen and Paul Hudson and they’re replaced by Rory O’Carroll, James McCarthy, Tomás Brady, Kevin Nolan, Paul Flynn, Diarmuid Connolly (so much for the three weeks off he was meant to be having) and Kevin McManamon. You’d have to think that every single one of those switches makes them a stronger team.
The above team contains nine of the side that started last year’s All-Ireland final. Missing from then tomorrow night are the suspended McMahon as well as Ger Brennan, Jack McCaffrey, Ciarán Kilkenny (injured), Paul Mannion and Bernard Brogan with Daly, Nolan, Alan Brogan, McManamon and O’Gara lining out instead. When you consider that of two of those six changes (McMahon and Kilkenny) are enforced, two more (McCaffrey and Mannion) have U21 commitments and the other two (Brennan and Brogan) are being eased back a bit more slowly, then it’s clear that Gavin has named his strongest possible side for this one. As have we – let the battle recommence and all that.
Oh and by the way if you were planning on getting some of those mad odds on us tomorrow night, forget it – we’re now on offer with Paddy Power at 5/4, with the Dubs 4/5 and the draw 10/1.