Five Dublin footballers hoping to catch Jim Gavin’s eye in 2014
Last year Dublin manager Jim Gavin brought through Paul Mannion, Jack McCaffrey and Ciaran Kilkenny and this season could see other players hoping to stake a claim.
The Dublin football panel is arguably the most competitive out there with huge strength in depth at Gavin’s disposal meaning they are favourites to land back-to-back Sam Maguire titles.
They have already kicked off their year with a victory over Westmeath in the O’Byrne Cup and Gavin will hope to blood through even more talent with a number of players ruled out for the early stages of the season.
Here are five players looking to make an impact ahead of the championship.
A broken ankle last March and a fractured collarbone in July which meant he didn’t recover until the lead-up to the All-Ireland Final curtailed Costello’s season, though he did make his Championship debut against Westmeath.
A quality inside forward, he will have his eyes on a starting jersey come the summer and had a decent opener against Westmeath last Sunday. Two-footed, pacey and an eye for the target, he his has all the attributes to stake a claim this year.
Also in demand with Anthony Daly and the hurlers, an injury last season also cut short his ability to impress after featuri8ng in the O’Byrne Cup.
Gavin will be without his starting half-back line from the All-Ireland Final for the next couple of months which could open the door for the promising St. Peregrine’s man.
Last year was a busy one for the Naomh Mearnog man. He went from appearing in a Dublin Schools Final to making his senior debut for Dublin in the League when he came off the bench against Cork. On top of that he had his Leaving Cert to contend with while he remained part of Gavin’s squad.
Likely to claim a midfield or half-forward position in the early parts of the year, will be hopeful of more game time in 2014.
Whelan made his mark on his debut last year, kicking 1-1 against Mayo in the National League semi-final.
The powerful wing forward may struggle to make inroads in what is one of Dublin’s strongest lines on the team, Whelan is a strong, mobile option in the forward line. Not that there appears to be any shortage of that at the moment.
The former Laois underage talent who returned to his native Dublin and claimed an All-Ireland U-21 medal in 2011 has been in top form for club over the past two years and will add competition in the full-back line.
Was expected to break into Gavin’s plans after consistent displays in Ballymun’s run to the final though some feel a difficult day at the office in the final may have gone against him. An aggressive tackler who might be more likely to stake a claim after Ballymun’s quest for All-Ireland redemption ended in the county final.