Tuesday 21 January 2020

Con O'Callaghan starts Jim Gavin names serious Dublin team to face Carlow

Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan will get his first Championship start. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan will get his first Championship start. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Dublin may be overwhelming favourites to swat Carlow's challenge aside tonight in O'Moore Park (7.0) but Jim Gavin isn't leaving anything to chance and has made six changes from the League final defeat to Kerry, including a first Championship start for U-21 starlet Con O'Callaghan.

Fresh from the heroics that helped secure an All-Ireland U-21 FC title with the Dubs and an All-Ireland club hurling title with Cuala, O'Callaghan starts at No 14 in a full-forward line where there is no place for former Footballer of the Year Bernard Brogan.

Jonny Cooper returns from injury to man the full-back spot, Eric Lowndes slips into corner-back for the suspended Philly McMahon, James McCarthy gets a chance to impress at midfield in place of the injured Michael Darragh Macauley, while the pacy Paul Mannion starts in the half-forward line.

Carlow boss Turlough O'Brien has kept the faith with the side that upset Wexford two weeks ago as the Barrowsiders bid to cause one of the biggest shocks in GAA history against the back-to-back All-Ireland champions.

Elsewhere, Clare captain Patrick O'Connor and All-Star attacker Conor McGrath make their long-awaited comebacks as joint-managers Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor shuffle the Banner deck ahead of tomorrow's Munster SHC semi-final clash with Limerick in Semple Stadium (4.0).

The pair sat out the League nursing shoulder injuries but make their seasonal debuts.

There are some high-profile casualties, with two-time All-Star Brendan Bugler and last year's joint-captain Cian Dillon forced to settle for a place on the bench.

Gearóid O'Connell is also rewarded for a string of outstanding performances with Ballyea on their run to the All-Ireland club final, while Shane O'Donnell, Tony Kelly and Podge Collins are selected in a potent attack.

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Treaty boss John Kiely has gone for youth with debuts for the Casey brothers, Mike and Peter, Na Piarsaigh club-mate David Dempsey, Sean Finn and last year's minor captain Kyle Hayes in an inexperienced side.

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