The key players
Michael Murphy (Donegal)
There is plenty of talent and a very strong team ethic around Murphy, but already he has shown with the Donegal U-21s and Glenswilly how far his talents can take a team.
Niall McNamee (Offaly)
With him Offaly are a team who struggle. Without him they are a team who can capitulate. His absence for so long in the spring condemned them to Division 4 again.
Paddy Keenan (Louth)
Operates consistently in the top bracket of midfielders in the game. Louth would find the going very tough without him.
Brendan Murphy (Carlow)
The pinnacle of Carlow's ambitions are days like they experienced last year against Louth. Murphy elevates them to that level.
Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)
Cork hurlers have already discovered what it's like to be without the leadership and security of their long-serving goalkeeper. Dublin might suffer a similar experience if Cluxton has to sit out a key match. A bigger loss than even Bernard Brogan.
Marc O Se (Kerry)
The logical 'giant hole' in the Kerry team would be left by Colm Cooper or Declan O'Sullivan. But Kerry are operating with at least five top-class forwards and the burden can be equally distributed among them. It can't in the full-back line, where O Se is holding it all together.
Donie Shine (Roscommon)
Whatever hopes Roscommon retain they are pinned to Shine's considerable scoring returns.
Joe Sheridan (Meath)
Sheridan didn't start Meath's first four league matches, two of which they lost by a point. When he went to the US they were hammered in two of the next three. Coincidence? Clearly he offers a certain security to those around him, even when on the bench.
Jamie Clarke (Armagh)
With Steven McDonnell departed and Ronan Clarke a long way off full fitness, the responsibility to create and finish rests heavily with the young Crossmaglen man.
John Galvin (Limerick)
It may be ironic to list Galvin, as Limerick reached a first ever All-Ireland quarter-final last year in his absence. However, missing the talismanic midfielder for a second championship season due to the same injury may yield a much different outcome for the Treaty men.
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