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Galvin set to start

WILL he or won’t he? The official word is that Paul Galvin has been benched for next Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC final but that won’t stop all of Dublin - and the rest of the country, too - speculating on whether Kerry’s No 18 will be parachuted into the Croke Park parade.

The widespread presumption was that the 2009 Footballer of the Year would start, following his hugely influential half-hour cameo against Mayo in the semi-final.

In that scenario, the most likely fall-guy was perceived to be Donnchadh Walsh, the man he replaced after a relatively ineffectual display against the Connacht champions.

But manager Jack O’Connor has always been a fan of the workaholic Walsh, notwithstanding the fact he was dropped for the 2009 All-Ireland final against Cork. And he could scarcely omit Kieran O’Leary - who displaced Galvin for the semi-final - following his excellent performance against Mayo.

Another potential factor is the hamstring trouble that has dogged Galvin this season, dramatically limiting his game-time in the green-and-gold.

For all that, the Finuge firebrand is now flying fit, seemingly back in form, and in those circumstances how can you possibly leave him out?

Of all the marquee Kerry forwards, the one most obviously struggling for form this summer is target man Kieran Donaghy. One theory doing the rounds this week is that Donaghy could yet make a dramatic return to old midfield haunts, with Galvin promoted to wing-forward and one or even both of the O’Sullivans - Declan and Darran - switching to the inside line.

On the flip side, O’Connor isn’t renowned for indulging in ‘dummy’ teams and maybe he is playing it straight, banking on Galvin’s proven ability as an impact sub over the past year-and-a-half - twice against Cork last summer (if you overlook the costly suspension accruing from his Eoin Cadogan flashpoint) and most recently against Mayo. Here is one player who hits the ground running.

KERRY (v Dublin): B Kealy; K Young, M Ó Sé, T O’Sullivan; T Ó Sé, E Brosnan, A O’Mahony; A Maher, B Sheehan; Darran O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan, D Walsh; C Cooper, K Donaghy, K O’Leary. Subs: T Mac a’tSaoir, D Bohan, P Galvin, S Enright, J O’Donoghue, BJ Keane, P Reidy, P Crowley, T Griffin, J Buckley, B McGuire, S Scanlon, N O’Mahony, D Ó Geibheannaigh, A O’Connell, D Casey.