Tuesday 20 February 2018

Bernard Brogan returns to Dublin starting XV as champions stand on cusp of history

Bernard Brogan
Bernard Brogan
Conor McKeon

Conor McKeon

BERNARD Brogan will start his first inter-county match of 2017 this evening in Croke Park in a Dublin team primed to make history.

Roscommon, rooted to the foot of Division 1 with no points from five games and already relegated, stand between Dublin and a 35th unbeaten league and championship match, thus surpassing the record set by Kerry in 1933 and equalled by Jim Gavin’s team last Saturday in Tralee. Brogan (right), 33 next month, was married last December and missed the early part of the year as some of Dublin’s most experienced campaigners were granted an extended off-season.

Having been dropped for last October’s All-Ireland final replay, the 2010 Footballer of the Year will be keen to make an immediate impression in a team that hasn’t been beaten in either of football’s primary competitions since March 15, 2015.

Brogan was one of three players demoted by Gavin between the drawn match with Mayo and Dublin’s one-point victory a fortnight later.

His selection tonight represents one of five changes to the Dublin starting XV from that pulsating draw with Kerry.

The others, Paul Flynn, Cian O’Sullivan, James McCarthy and Kevin McManamon, are

also four-time All-Ireland medallists, meaning 10 of the

side that started the replay have been named to do so again tonight.

Flynn has appeared as a substitute in each of Dublin’s three most recent matches while O’Sullivan – like Brogan – tasted his first action of 2017 as a second-half substitute in Tralee.

McCarthy, meanwhile, has been out since suffering a calf injury in February against Tyrone.

John Small, who damaged his hamstring in Austin Stack Park, Michael Darragh Macauley, Conor McHugh, Darren Daly and Shane Carthy are the players who make way.

DUBLIN: Stephen Cluxton; Philly McMahon, Michael Fitzsimons, David Byrne; James McCarthy, Cian O'Sullivan, Eric Lowndes; Brian Fenton, Ciaran Reddin; Paul Flynn, Kevin McManamon, Niall Scully; Dean Rock, Paddy Andrews, Bernard Brogan.

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