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Gilroy sticks to his young guns

THE Dubs have gone with a novel approach for tomorrow's Croke Park showdown with Armagh -- they're sticking with an unchanged team!

After all the flux of recent weeks, during which Pat Gilroy has torn up several struggling team sheets and started again, the Dublin boss now feels sufficiently confident to name an unchanged starting 15 for the round three qualifier at GAA HQ (throw-in 5.0).

That means no change in the full-back line that again struggled at times against Tipperary last Saturday; no place at midfield for Eamon Fennell, whose build-up has again been hampered by a hip injury; and no recall either for Bryan Cullen.

Erstwhile centre-back Cullen was thought to be pushing strongly for a place at wing-forward, given that both Paul Flynn and Niall Corkery struggled on the flanks against Tipp.

Instead, when Gilroy announced his team at a press conference in DCU this morning, the selection offered a ringing endorsement to the team that started the round-two qualifier six days ago.

The most relieved party, apart from Flynn and Corkery, is likely to be Kevin McManamon who has been given another chance to nail down the No 15 jersey.

McManamon was replaced after 43 minutes against Tipperary, Conal Keaney coming on and converting three left-footed frees in the process. However, Keaney must again be satisfied with a bench role, having lost his starting place in the aftermath of Dublin's crushing defeat to Meath in the Leinster semi-finals.

Fennell sat out training on Tuesday night and is again held in reserve, despite putting in a solid 35-minute shift against Tipp. In his absence, management stick with a midfield pairing of Ross McConnell and Michael Darragh MacAuley, who hugely impressed on his full SFC debut.

Another debutant who caught the eye last weekend, Eoghan O'Gara, also retains his place at full-forward.

Meanwhile, the GAA grapevine is again suggesting that we'll have another sub-30,000 crowd for tomorrow's Croke Park double-header, starting with the Dublin hurlers against Antrim at 3.0.

Only 22,084 turned up for last weekend's double-bill, constituting the lowest Croker crowd involving the Dublin footballers in recent memory.

DUBLIN (SFC v Armagh): S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; K Nolan, G Brennan, D Henry (capt); MD MacAuley, R McConnell; N Corkery, A Brogan, P Flynn; B Brogan, E O'Gara, K McManamon.


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