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Cooper rewarded with debut starting berth

JOHNNY COOPER will have a St Patrick's weekend to remember after being parachuted in for his full Dublin debut against Down on Sunday.

The Na Fianna clubman has been rewarded by Pat Gilroy for his beguiling ten-minute cameo against Armagh last Sunday, when he clipped two points from play after being introduced for his first senior appearance in Sky Blue.

Now he has been named at corner-back for Sunday's trip to Newry, replacing Philly McMahon, in one of three changes from the Armagh cakewalk. The other alterations see All Star 'keeper Stephen Cluxton return in place of Michael Savage, and All-Ireland super-sub Kevin McManamon recalled on the '40', indirectly replacing Tomás Quinn.

Cooper, who skippered Dublin to an All-Ireland U21 title in 2010 and helped DCU to Sigerson glory last month, was only promoted to Gilroy's senior squad earlier this month.

DUBLIN (SF v Down): S Cluxton; D Daly, R O'Carroll, J Cooper; J McCarthy, G Brennan (capt), C Dias; E Fennell, MD Macauley; P Brogan, K McManamon, P Flynn; D Connolly, E O'Gara, A Brogan.