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Frank Roche: What about this for next Dublin side?

OVER the next week and a bit, thousands of barstool experts will be busy picking 'their' Dublin team to face Tipperary. Never one to shy away from a high stool, Roche's Point now joins the debate.

For the purposes of this argument, we are steering away from calls to rob Shane Ryan from the hurlers or to forcibly recall Ciarán Whelan from retirement -- Dublin have a championship panel, for better or worse, and we're picking from that. Ditto with Gary Sweeney from the Dublin U21s, even though the flying wing-forward has now completed his Leaving Cert.

So here goes. The rookie full-back line clearly needs reappraisal but we're keeping faith with Rory O'Carroll. Paul Conlon, though, is worth his chance at corner-back in place of Philly McMahon.

The biggest indictment of Dublin's half-back division is that they didn't offer sufficient protection to their last line. We're plumping for Kevin Nolan at right half-back, with Barry Cahill just holding on ahead of Ger Brennan.

Now for something slightly leftfield at No 6, if only because Cian O'Sullivan will still be hamstrung on Saturday week. Ross McConnell has struggled to make a telling impact at midfield but he impressed in a new centre-back role as his club, St Oliver Plunkett's/ER, crushed Fingal Ravens in the Evening Herald Dublin SFC last May.



Alarming

But what about Bryan Cullen? Ah, we're reserving a new role for the Skerries man ... but first to midfield where Michael Daragh MacAuley has earned his full debut after his two cameos off the bench.

So to the half-forwards: Niall Corkery loses out as Cullen is handed the nominal brief of wing-forward, but with instruction to roam into defence where he can sweep in front of the full-backs, hopefully plug some of those alarming gaps, gobble up the breaks and then use his passing skills to telling effect. There goes the theory, at any rate.

Elsewhere in the forwards, we'll persist with the status quo after some positional tinkering, but only after a sharp reminder that there must be more movement and lots more of their raison d'etre -- scoring.

OUR DUBLIN 15: Stephen Cluxton; Michael Fitzsimons, Rory O'Carroll, Paul Conlon; Kevin Nolan, Ross McConnell, Barry Cahill; Eamonn Fennell, Michael Darragh MacAuley; Conal Keaney, Paul Flynn, Bryan Cullen; Alan Brogan, Bernard Brogan, Tomás Quinn.


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