Onus is on get up and Dubs to running

Flynn stresses the urgency for of this campaign, something Dublin to register their first league points which they should achieve in Portlaoise

Conor McKeon

MAYBE the most disappointing aspect of the Castlebar fog a couple of weeks ago from a Dublin perspective was that Pat Gilroy's men were beginning to show some pretty clinical fluency prior to its descent and -- particularly before James McCarthy's red card -- seemed set to lodge two League points.

"The earlier you get the win, the better because it can hang over your head," noted Paul Flynn, who will make a first spring start for the Dubs tonight against Laois.

"We'll be going out tonight trying to get the win and it will be a good thing if we do.

"But if you win three or four games, you're probably going to get into the semi-final."

Dublin begin their 'March madness' against last year's Division 2 runners-up as they embark on six matches in successive weeks, a run of action which could stretch to seven in seven if they do, in fact, make that semi-final.

And there's no denying that their make-up looks a lot steelier for Flynn's inclusion.

The Fingallian's man has improved starkly as a player since his early 'try-hard' days as a Dublin player, adding greater footballing intelligence, distribution and, increasingly, scoring to his repertoire, en route to an All-Ireland and well-deserved All Star last year.

Last weekend, he was DCU's most influential player over their successful Sigerson Cup weekend, kicking 0-5 in the semi-final victory over UCC and 1-3 in their final demolition of NUI Maynooth -- all from play.

"With the role we play nowadays at wing-forward, you're doing a lot more out the field," he explains of the role he has become so comfortable with over the past two seasons.

"But you're always trying to get a few more scores on the board.

"Last year, I scored more than I did the year before so hopefully I can carry that on and keep improving."

The Sigerson weekend also rid Flynn of any lingering doubts about the hamstring injury which so nearly threatened to ruin his All-Ireland dreams last September.

"Going into the weekend, I was thinking: 'this is going to be a big thing. If I can get through this, I'll be fine'," he explained.

"I had no reaction from it whatsoever.

"It is a great weight off the mind."

Flynn's selection in place of Bryan Cullen is one of four changes to the Dublin side which started and ended prematurely against Mayo in Castlebar.

Michael Savage is given a start in goals while Eamon Fennell plays in midfield ahead of Michael Darragh Macauley. The final change is an entirely enforced one after James McCarthy -- named to start -- lost his hearing against the one-match ban he picked up against Mayo.

His absence is likely to grant Kevin Nolan his first Dublin start of the year, although Gilroy also name-checked Darragh Nelson and Davy Byrne as possible replacements.

Justin McNulty, meanwhile, has made just one personnel change to the side which beat Donegal so impressively last time out. Billy Sheehan comes into the full-forward line at the expense of David Conway, who kicked 0-3 (1f) in Letterkenny.


Sheehan will most likely be deployed in a more 'roving' role leaving Paul Cahillane and Pádraig Clancy -- who tortured All Star full-back Neil McGee in that victory -- on the inside forward line.

There is also one positional switch, with St Brigid's clubman John O'Loughlin moving from centre-back to midfield in a straight swap with Kevin Meaney.

As Division 1's prized scalp -- and because of the hammering they inflicted on their hosts in last year's Leinster SFC -- Dublin are likely in for a 'warm' welcome in Portlaoise tonight but all things considered, should bolster their league account with a win.

ODDS: Laois 14/5, Draw 17/2, Dublin 4/11