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Dubs must start League defence without Flynn


Paul Flynn. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Paul Flynn. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Paul Flynn. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

THREE-time All Star Paul Flynn is out of Dublin's NFL opener against Kerry in Croke Park on Saturday, February 1 unless he successfully appeals the four-week ban set to fall on his head.

Flynn was sent off on a straight red card by referee David Gough during his first appearance of the year in yesterday's loss to DCU in Parnell Park.

The Fingallian's man, a second half substitute, lasted just 13 minutes following an apparent altercation after he and several other players contested a kickout. The Meath referee made a 'striking' action after immediately brandishing a red card.

As game-based bans have not been adopted in provincial pre-season competitions, Flynn is certain to be suspended for four weeks, thus ruling him out of the clash with the Kingdom but not, however, Dublin's second Division 1 fixture, away to Westmeath in Mullingar on Sunday, February 9, as the ban will elapse at midnight the night before.

"There were a lot of close bodies so we'll just have to have a look at it," said Jim Gavin of the incident. "I haven't spoken to the referee yet. I'll speak to him later on and we'll just look at the tape and see what happened."

Still, the expected suspension represents a significant impediment to Dublin as they begin the defence of their League title.

Gavin revealed that there were "a few players that have injuries ... so for the first couple of games, they won't be available," and though he didn't specify, he has already name-checked Bernard Brogan, James McCarthy, Paddy Andrews and Dean Rock as players currently hors de combat .

It is unclear how long the quartet will be out, although Niall Moyna intimated last week that McCarthy and Rock might be available to DCU for the Sigerson Cup next month.

Already, Gavin is down two All-Ireland final starters in St Vincent's pair Diarmuid Connolly and Ger Brennan, club-tied with the Marino side prior to their All-Ireland club semi-final clash with Ulster champions Ballinderry on February 15.

All Stars Michael Darragh Macauley and Cian O'Sullivan, along with Templeogue/Synge Street duo Eoghan O'Gara and Denis Bastick are all expected back soon however, and Gavin stressed "everyone that we had last year that we want to play this year will be back with us," adding "we expect to see everyone in the National League".

Of his more long-term stricken, he also revealed that Tomás Brady was "very close" to a comeback from cruciate ligament surgery while Alan Brogan continues to train with Dublin's 'athletic development coaches' with Gavin insisting that a positive outcome would result in the 2011 Footballer of the Year being "in a good position with the National Football League".