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O'Carroll in tug of war

RORY O'Carroll may yet be available to take some part in tomorrow night's Leinster U21 hurling final after a last-minute intervention from the Dublin county board.

The talented dual player was pulled from the starting selection by senior football management owing to the proximity of tomorrow's match to Saturday's All-Ireland SFC qualifier with Armagh in Croke Park, much to the anger of the hurling setup.

Duly, O'Carroll's name was not on the starting team announced by the U21 management ahead of tomorrow's Parnell Park tussle with Wexford with fellow Kilmacud Crokes man, Robert O'Loughlin stepping in in a reshuffled half-back line.

The decision to pull O'Carroll from the hurling team has irked management, with Anthony Daly describing the move as "a joke" but the county board have since stepped in to prevent an escalation of the row and secure his availability as Dublin go in search of a second Leinster title at the grade in four years.

"The county are conducting negotiations behind the scenes and we would prefer to leave it that way for now," confirmed chairman, Gerry Harrington this morning. "Discussions are ongoing between the relevant parties."

Some county board officials are said to be annoyed that O'Carroll had been issued an ultimatum, particularly in his final season as an under 21 and thus far, senior football management have been unavailable to comment on the matter. O'Carroll has started each of Dublin's senior football championship matches this year though has also trained with the U21 hurlers and played a number of challenge matches prior to the start of the current campaign.

If he is ruled out, however, Dublin will be without one of their most impressive performers in the Leinster semi-final defeat of Kilkenny in Nowlan Park and Daly was perplexed as to the decision to pull him from the team.

"It's a joke as far as I'm concerned," blasted Daly. "Look at how fellas last in the World Cup with matches every three or four days -- how do they last on the Lions tour when they go and play twice a week?

"It's rubbish. It's very disappointing -- it's Rory's last year U21 and he's always given a commitment to hurling.

"It just seems to me that some people in Dublin football are more worried about Dublin hurling than Armagh."