Colm Cooper and Paul Galvin both included on Kerry bench for Sunday's must-win final NFL game with Tyrone
COLM Cooper and Paul Galvin are both included on the Kerry bench for Sunday's must-win final NFL game with Tyrone.
Manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice seemed to rule out their comeback after last week's defeat by Monaghan in Tralee but they have clearly convinced him since that they are ready to play some part in the big game.
Cooper, who ruptured his cruciate ligament and did additional damage to his knee 13 months ago, has not played a competitive game of football since the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final.
He was expected to make his long-awaited comeback for his club Dr Crokes over the last two weekends but it never happened, despite him togging out two weeks ago.
Galvin, who caused such a sensation by coming out of inter-county retirement last month, lined out for his club Finuge last weekend and scored two points.
Fitzmaurice indicated last night that he would not have given the famous duo the number 25 and 26 jerseys for Sunday's big game if they were not ready for it.
Sunday's game in Omagh is a relegation battle for both even though Kerry still have an outside chance of making the semi-finals if they win and other results went their way.
Tyrone have to win by a minimum of two to avoid the drop and, in that scenario, Kerry's current scoring difference (-11) could yet prove very costly.
Fitzmaurice has made three changes from the side who suffered that shock defeat by Monaghan last weekend.
Brendan Kealy returns in goal All-Star defender Paul Murphy replaces Pa Kilkenny and first-choice freetaker Bryan Sheehan is back after a rib injury to replace the hamstrung Paul Geaney.
But Tyrone also have some key men back. Sean Cavanagh - reduced to a role off the bench last week due to a knee injury - is back starting and goalkeeper Niall Morgan has shaken off his injury to also start. Ryan McKenna comes in for Ronan O’Neill and Conor Clarke makes way for Cavanagh.
Monaghan, who need only a draw against Dublin to make the semi-finals, are unchanged while Mayo, still without injured forward ace Cillian O'Connor, have made just one change for the visit of Donegal - Kenneth O'Malley replaces David Clarke in goals.
Cork, already sure of a semi-final spot, have made seven changes for their clash with relegation-bound Derry.
Bellaghy's Fergal Doherty makes his return for Derry at the expense of Emmet Bradley and they have two other changes at opposite ends of the field after last weekend's ultra-defensive display against Dublin. Eoin McNicholl returns in goal andTerence O'Brien replaces Emmet McGuckin at full-forward.
Tipperary's footballers, currently third in Division Three but unable to make the top two despite what happens against Wexford on Sunday, have a number of changes as management also focus on next week's Munster U21 final.
KERRY (SF v Tyrone) - B Kealy; P Murphy, M Griffin, S Enright; J Lyne, P Crowley, K Young; A Maher, D Moran; A Fitzgerald, B Sheehan, J Buckley; S O'Brien, K Donaghy, BJ Keane.
TYRONE (SF v Kerry) - N Morgan; A McCrory, R McNamee, C McCarron; R McNabb, J McMahon, P Harte; C Cavanagh, P McNulty; T McCann, M Donnelly, R McKenna; D McCurry, S Cavanagh, C McAliskey.
MONAGHAN (SF v Dublin) - R Beggan; K Duffy, D Wylie, R Wylie; F Kelly, V Corey, K O'Connell; N McAdam, D Hughes; D Mone, P Finlay, O Duffy; D Malone, K Hughes, C McManus.
MAYO (SF v Donegal) - K O'Malley; G Cafferkey, K Keane, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Boyle, D Vaughan; B Moran, T Parsons; K McLoughlin, A O'Shea, J Doherty; M Ronaldson, D Kirby, A Dillon.
CORK (SF v Derry) - K O'Halloran; N Galvin, M Shields, Tom Clancy; Tomas Clancy, S O'Donoghue, C Dorman; F Goold, P Kelly; J O'Rourke, M Collins, Barry O'Driscoll; D Goulding, P Kerrigan, J Hayes.
DERRY (SF v Cork) - E McNicholl; O Duffy, N Holly, K Johnston; L McGoldrick, C McAtamney, M McIver; M Lynch, F Doherty; SL McGoldrick, D Heavron, E Lynn; B Heron, T O'Brien, J Kielt.
TIPPERARY (SF v Wexford) - C Nugent; D Lynch, P Codd, A Morrissey; D Dwyer, R Kiely, A Campbell; G Hannigan, S Kennedy; G Mulhaire, B Grogan, S Flynn; D Lonergan, C Sweeney, P Acheson