Thursday 20 October 2016

Dublin primed to switch Jonny Cooper to centre-back

Published 15/09/2015 | 02:30

Cian O'Sullivan remains a major doubt for Dublin
Cian O'Sullivan remains a major doubt for Dublin

Cian O'Sullivan remains a major doubt for Dublin ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland final with Kerry.

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O'Sullivan pulled up with a hamstring injury in the closing stages of the replay win over Mayo last week and had to be helped off the field at the end.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin expressed confidence last week that the Kilmacud Crokes defender would make the final, saying the player himself was also confident that he would make it.

However a two-week recovery for any hamstring injury is very limited and that has intensified the doubts.

O'Sullivan is taking every possible rehabilitative measure, with his Crokes clubmate Ray Cosgrove even suggesting last week that he had an ice-bath installed at home.

The former All Star has been a focal point at the heart of the Dublin defence all season as they adopted a more guarded approach.

If he is to miss out it would be a hugely significant absence for Dublin.

John Small is an obvious replacement, given his deployment in the position when O'Sullivan wasn't available for the opening match against Longford.

Alternatively Dublin could opt for either Philly McMahon or Jonny Cooper in the position, with Mick Fitzsimons coming in at corner-back, if change is forced upon them.

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has not been reluctant to make changes from game to game and that has placed a question mark over Kieran Donaghy's starting place despite his captaincy.

Donaghy was whipped off at half-time in the All-Ireland semi-final win over Tyrone, with his replacement Paul Geaney making a big impact, scoring two points and giving Kerry a different type of target.

The Kerry ace has responded well when his place has come under pressure in the past. There was uncertainty over whether he would make the team for the 2011 All-Ireland final against Dublin but he emerged as one of Kerry's most productive players that day.

Irish Independent

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