independent

Sunday 16 December 2018

Flynn and Daly set for action

All-Ireland SFC

Rory Kerr

Arguably the most dramatic moment in this year's football championship came two Sundays ago in Clones when, just seconds away from being knocked out, Kerry conjured up a piece of magic to put Monaghan's home supporters on the seat of their pants.

Kieran Donaghy, like Cuchulainn on his last legs, used every inch of his 6ft 5in frame to deflect James O'Donoghue's cross-field ball into the path of David Clifford who, from the right side of the square, drilled low into Rory Beggan's far corner.

In doing so Kerry salvaged a late point to progress to the last phase of the Super 8s with a semi-final place still within their grasp.

The poisoned chalice for Eamon Fiztmaurice's men - should they defeat Kildare and Galway defeat Monaghan and assuming Kerry can also make up a five-point differential - is most likely a pairing with their old nemesis Dublin.

It may come a game early, but Kerry, unlike Colm O'Rourke, won't be complaining too much. In his Sunday Independent column recently O'Rourke ranted about the inadequacies of the new system.

Referring to Kerry's phase one defeat at the hands of Galway at GAA headquarters, O Rourke stated: 'If you beat Kerry once in Croke Park you should not have to live with the possibility of having to beat them again to win the All-Ireland.'

It is what it is, though, and for the time being that issue will be parked as Dublin take on Roscommon at Croke Park this Saturday, with Donegal and Tyrone fighting it out for the remaining semi-final spot.

It was always likely that Roscommon, along with Kildare, would struggle in the new system. True, they pulled off a superb win over Armagh in the last of the back-door qualifiers to reach this stage, but they failed to show up a week later as they struggled to get past the gain line against a tigerish Tyrone outfit.

They return to GAA headquarters without manager Kevin McStay, after his altercation with linesman Niall Cullen in Roscommon's home defeat to Donegal landed the Mayo man with a three-month suspension from the CCCC.

Dublin, for their part, are back where they belong. Indeed, it's Croke Park or nowhere for Jim Gavin's men for the remainder of the All-Ireland series after coming out of Healy Park with a three-point win over Tyrone to secure their place in the last four.

Gavin is likely to use this 'dead rubber' game to hand some game time to the likes of brother-in-law duo Paul Flynn and Darren Daly, with the former having chipped in with valuable scores off the bench in his last two games for the county.

Fingal Independent

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