Brogan shows sharpness on return to allay Dublin fears
FEARS about Bernard Brogan's fitness ahead of the Leinster championship have lifted after the Dublin sharpshooter made his long-awaited return to club action in midweek.
The 2010 Player of the Year played the last 15 minutes, and scored two points, in a league game for Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Rua on what was his first competitive game of football in three months.
The Blues striker returned very late to the Dublin panel this year after taking some time off to travel abroad.
He was expected to make his inter-county return in the final stages of the Allianz League in early March, but just when he was on the cusp of his comeback a knee problem suddenly flared up.
Brogan needed a scan and keyhole surgery to remove some bone fragment and the Dublin management were insistent that it was only a minor injury. But his recovery reportedly took longer than initially expected.
He saw no action at all in Dublin's remaining NFL fixtures and has not worn the county jersey since last September's All-Ireland final victory.
But he looked sharp on his club return, which augers well for the Dubs ahead of their Leinster opener against either Louth or Westmeath in a month's time.
Elsewhere, a challenge between Mayo and Donegal's footballers on Sunday will be an all-ticket affair.
The game in Swinford (2.30) is a fundraiser to honour ex-clubman Garda Robert McCallion, who died in Letterkenny in April 2009 from injuries he suffered while on duty.
The Swinford club, who are rededicating the pitch in honour of McCallion, are expecting a big crowd and for that reason are making it an all-ticket-only affair.
It will be Donegal's last run-out before their Ulster SFC opener against Cavan on May 20 and they will have All Star Karl Lacey back from a hamstring injury.
They will definitely be without Christy Toye (Achilles), though, and have injury worries over Neil Gallagher, Eamonn McGee and Barry Dunnion ahead of the Ulster championship.
Rebels put faith in Lehane for decider
Cork have opted to start teenage star Conor Lehane (19) for Sunday's National League Hurling final against Kilkenny.
Lehane returns to the start list at the expense of Jamie Coughlan. Martin Coleman takes over the goalkeeping duties from injured veteran Donal Og Cusack, Brian Murphy returns from injury to start at corner-back in place of Conor O'Sullivan, while Patrick Horgan takes over as captain.
Cork (v Kilkenny) -- M Coleman; Shane O'Neill, S McDonnell, B Murphy; S Óg hAilpín, E Cadogan, W Egan; L McLoughlin, J Gardiner; C Lehane, P Cronin, N McCarthy; L O'Farrell, P O'Sullivan, P Horgan