Tuesday 20 March 2018

Cavan hand out five debuts ahead of clash with Donegal

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Five players have been given their championship debuts by Cavan manager Terry Hyland ahead of Sunday's Ulster championship opener against Donegal in Kingspan Breffni Park.

Kevin Meehan, Robert Maloney-Derham, Niall Smith, Jack Brady and Brendan Fitzpatrick have all been part of Hyland's successful U-21 teams over the last three years. Cavan also welcome back Gearoid McKiernan who picked up a serious injury during the NFL and John McCutcheon who has rejoined the panel.

Meanwhile, Galway football boss Alan Mulholland has handed championship debuts to defenders Kieran McGrath and Keith Kelly in Sunday's Connacht championship showdown with Roscommon. The newcomers will line out either side of full-back and captain Finian Hanley while Sean Armstrong also returns to the side having missed last year's campaign with injury.

Veteran Padraic Joyce hasn't recovered sufficiently from a calf injury to start, with Michael Meehan also held in reserve for the Hyde Park clash.

In other news, Dublin ladies senior football team manager Peter Clarke has dropped a double bombshell by axing former All Stars Denise Masterson and Siobhan McGrath from his squad.

Masterson, who captained Dublin to All-Ireland glory in 2010, and McGrath are two of the most popular members of the panel and it is understood Clarke's decision has angered other leading members.

It is understood that Clarke released the pair last Friday night -- and some disgruntled team-mates have been left to consider their own positions as a result.

Masterson (32) is a revered figure in the Dublin set-up and returned to the squad during the National League campaign, while 24-year-old McGrath is a two-time All Star defender, in 2009 and '10.

Cavan (SF v Donegal) -- J Reilly; P O'Reilly, D Reilly, R Flanagan; K Meehan, J McCutcheon, R Maloney-Derham; D Givney, G McKieranan; F Flanagan, M McKeever, N Smith; J Brady, E Keating, B Fitzpatrick.

Galway (SF v Roscommon) -- A Faherty; K McGrath, F Hanley, K Kelly; G Bradshaw, J Duane, G O'Donnell; J Bergin, G Higgins; G Sice, D Burke, T Flynn; S Armstrong, P Conroy, M Hehir.

Irish Independent

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