'By all accounts, he's going to be back in the panel' - Ciaran Whelan on Dublin's returning All Star
Dublin legend Ciaran Whelan says Rory O'Carroll is in line to return to Jim Gavin's panel for the first time since 2015.
O'Carroll won three All-Irelands and two All Stars in blue before stepping away from inter-county football after moving to New Zealand for work.
The Kilmacud Crokes fullback subsequently missed out on three further championship triumphs, with the Dubs now targeting a historic five in-a-row in 2019.
And while Jim Gavin's men have got on very well without the top quality defender, Dublin have been troubled by direct, long balls into the square in recents times and O'Carroll could be the remedy for that.
The 29-year-old has returned to club action and speculation is growing that he will make a rejoin the Dublin panel ahead of the championship campaign.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, ex-Dublin midfielder Ciaran Whelan says that he expects O'Carroll to be back in the squad sooner rather than later.
"By all accounts he’s going to be back in the panel," Whelan said.
"After the club championship you might see him back.
"He’s three years out of the game, so it’s not an easy challenge but the nature of the role Rory plays and having that experience and know-how is easier for him to adapt after so long out.
"It’s not an easy challenge after three years away and it will be interesting to see if he does slot back into the panel how he goes.
"Definitely it would be a bonus if he was back."
Another man who has returned to club action recently is Diarmuid Connolly, who opted out of the Dublin panel ahead of the 2018 championship. Gavin has left the door open for the talented attacker but Whelan doesn't expect him to play for Dublin this season.
"Every Dublin fan would be delighted to see Diarmuid back, but that’s his decision," he added,
"I don't know has there been much engagement between Diarmuid and Jim.
"He’s playing for Vincent’s, he has the appetite back for playing for Vincent’s and that has to be a positive, and you’d like to think that that door could open at some stage, but that doesn’t look likely at the moment. I’m not as optimistic about him returning as I am Rory."