Friday 28 April 2017

Returning star Galvin to start on the bench in Kingdom's Munster opener

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Former Footballer of the Year Paul Galvin may have to be content with a place on the Kerry bench for their championship opener against Tipperary on Sunday.

Galvin has returned to Kerry training in recent weeks since inflaming a hamstring problem in the early stages of their last league game against Down.

But with so little football played over the last 14 months because of suspension and injury, Jack O'Connor and his management team are unlikely to throw in the Finuge man so early in the season.

Galvin missed the early part of the season after undergoing minor hip surgery and Kerry selector Diarmuid Murphy revealed last night: "He has come back into training and done reasonably well. He is in there with a shout."

Partnership

Last year, Galvin made quite an impact for Kerry coming off the bench until a two-month suspension put him out of the remainder of the championship.

The focus on the Kerry team will mainly be the make-up of the midfield partnership. With David Moran ruled out because of cruciate ligament trouble and Micheal Quirke just back training, that increases the prospect of Bryan Sheehan starting there on Sunday.

Sheehan has the experience of playing plenty of club football with Cahirciveen and South Kerry in the position and was switched there for the game against Down.

Anthony Maher is likely to see off the challenge of Seamus Scanlon, while Kieran O'Leary's training form could elevate him to a starting place in the full-forward line where he would join his Dr Crokes clubmate and captain Colm Cooper.

The prospects of an imminent return by Tommy Griffin have receded, with O'Connor confirming that the player has still to return to training with his club, Dingle.

Griffin has not been involved with Kerry since last year's championship and has been struggling with back problems.

The player has not officially declared that his inter-county career is at an end but, with no imminent return in sight, that prospect has increased.

Griffin has filled in at full-back for the last two seasons but a prolonged spell away from the game makes a return at this stage a risk for the 32-year-old.

All-Ireland champions Cork have a full deck to play with ahead of their first championship match against Clare at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Graham Canty is available but may not start as Cork opt for a similar line-up to that which claimed the league title last month.

Meanwhile, one of the men at the centre of the biggest controversy in Croke Park last season will be back at headquarters as one of the GAA guests to meet Queen Elizabeth tomorrow.

Joe Sheridan, scorer of Meath's controversial goal to beat Louth in last year's Leinster final, is one of the confirmed GAA guests. A number of players and officials have been invited to meet the monarch and represent the association. The invitations have been handled by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Irish Independent

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