Blues look to U-21 aces for O'Byrne opener with Westmeath
Published 07/01/2011 | 05:00
DUBLIN football boss Pat Gilroy looks set to let youth have its fling, especially defensively, in the coming weeks, given his selection for their O'Byrne Cup opener against Westmeath on Sunday.
Just three of the team who started against Cork in the All-Ireland final -- goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton (pictured), centre-back Ger Brennan and full-forward Eoghan O'Gara -- are included in the Dubs' very experimental line-up.
Gilroy is without over two dozen players due to injury and commitments to club and colleges, yet the side still includes a lot of experience up front in the shape of Tomas Quinn, Kevin Bonner and Kevin McManamon.
But it noticeably includes four of last year's All-Ireland U-21 champions, three of them in defence.
Sunday's opening full-back line will consist entirely of 2010 U-21s; Nicky Devereux (Ballinteer St Johns), Sean Murray (St Brigid's) and Darragh Nelson (Ballyboden St Enda's).
Darragh Stapleton of St Pat's Palmerstown is another of last year's U-21s and is included at corner-forward. Like Murray and Nelson, he is eligible for the U-21 grade again this season.
St Jude's Colm Murphy will partner Bonner at midfield, while up front Dean Kelly, who impressed in last weekend's Dubs Stars game, is also given a spot.
Paul Brogan, younger brother of Alan and Bernard, was expected to be given the full-back spot in the absence of club-tied Rory O'Carroll. However, it will be Murray, who played midfield for the U-21s last year and at wing-back for the Dubs Stars last Saturday, that will be the first man to wear the Dubs' No 3 jersey in competitive action this season.
Elsewhere, Croke Park Stadium Director Peter McKenna has admitted that he is not opposed to a call from Limerick to take down the security fencing on Hill 16, but believes it is too premature.
Delegates at last Sunday's Limerick convention passed a motion from Milford asking Croke Park to remove the fencing which means their call could yet end up on the agenda for national Congress.
DUBLIN (SF v Westmeath) -- S Cluxton; N Devereux, S Murray, D Nelson; P Casey, G Brennan, D Daly; C Murphy, K Bonner; A Hubbard, T Quinn, D Kelly; D Stapleton, E O'Gara, K McManamon.