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Gavin's Blues can get new year off to a winner

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Diarmuid Connolly (left), in action for St Vincents, against Bernard Brogan during the Dublin County Senior Football Championship Final

Diarmuid Connolly (left), in action for St Vincents, against Bernard Brogan during the Dublin County Senior Football Championship Final

Diarmuid Connolly (left), in action for St Vincents, against Bernard Brogan during the Dublin County Senior Football Championship Final

DUBLIN will begin their preparations for their impending O'Byrne Cup campaign when they face the Dubs Stars in their annual Dublin Bus/Herald Dubs Stars challenge in Chanel (Parnell's GAA).

Despite the 'friendly' tag attached to this fixture, Dublin will look to produce a positive indicator of their well-being ahead of their three O'Byrne Cup fixtures with fringe players afforded an opportunity to impress.

Traditionally, the games have been well contested and tomorrow's match should be no exception given the talent inherent in the Dubs Stars selection.

The team will naturally be backboned by the successful Dublin and Leinster champions St Vincent's with Michael Savage providing a safe pair of hands between the sticks.

Savage will have some familiar faces in front of him with Jarlath Curley and Hugh Gill expected to take their respective places in the full-back line and with Robert McDaid unavailable, Rory O'Connor from St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh looks primed to join the aforementioned duo.

The Dubs Stars midfield should be hugely competitive with Craig Dunleavy due to partner Declan O'Mahony and there is a wealth of pace and scoring threat in their half-forward line with the inclusion on the flanks of Gavin Burke (St Vincent's) and Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street).

Two of the original Dubs Stars selections in the full-forward line, namely Ruairi Trainor and Bernard Brogan will both miss the encounter but both Conor Walsh and Gareth Smith from Plunkett's could thrive on this occasion while Kevin McManamon will welcome the challenge of competing against his inter-county colleagues.

Given a number of key absences, the options available to the Dubs Stars management team of Pat McDonagh and Paul Clarke (Plunkett's management team) will be increased by a number of players from Dessie Farrell's extended U21 panel.

VERDICT: Dublin


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