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Walsh Fitz' bill for Kerry boss

EAMONN FITZMAURICE has hailed the return of Tommy Walsh from Australia as "great news" for Kerry in defence of Sam Maguire - but stressed there are no guarantees that the now ex-Sydney Swan will march straight back onto the team.

"The return of Tommy will be a boost and Colm (Cooper) getting back will also be a boost," he said. "If he's in the squad, it's up to himself then to stake a claim for a place on the team."

The Kerry boss knew since last Christmas that the 2009 All-Ireland winner was homeward bound. "We had a good chat and I picked his brains about different bits and pieces," he recalled. "I wanted to see where he was at in regards to going back to Australia and what his ambitions were over there ... he figured at that stage it would be one more season."

Meanwhile, the Dublin U21 footballers will open their Leinster and All-Ireland title defences against either Wexford or Laois next spring. The U21 hurlers open against Kilkenny.

LEINSTER 2015 DRAWS - U21FC: Rd 1 (1) Wexford v Laois; (2) Louth v Carlow; (3) Wicklow v Longford; (4) Offaly bye; Quarter-finals (5) 2 v 3; (6) Dublin v winners of Wexford v Laois; (7) Meath v Westmeath; (8) Offaly v Kildare; Semi-finals (9) 5 v 6; (10) 7 v 8. U21HC: Quarter-finals (1) Dublin v Kilkenny; (2) Laois v Carlow; (3) Offaly v Westmeath; (4) Wexford bye; Semi-finals (5) 1 v 2: (6) 3 v 4. MFC: Rd 1 (1) Kilkenny v Carlow; (2) Laois v Meath; (3) Westmeath v Wexford; (4) Dublin v Offaly; (5) Kildare v Louth; (6) Wicklow v Longford.