Experimental Dubs set for testing end to year
The curtain will fall on another hugely successful year for the all-conquering Dublin senior footballers today as they travel to Naomh Barróg to take on the Dubs Stars in their annual challenge match at 12 noon in Naomh Barróg.
In a year which saw them regain their National Football League Division 1 title and retain their All-Ireland crown with the minimum of fuss, the news earlier this week that Jim Gavin is extending his tenure as manager until 2021 comes as another boost to the men from the capital.
One of Gavin's main strengths has been the ability to introduce players into the panel and encounters like this one have been central in assessing the relative merits of the new arrivals, so we can expect an experimental starting 15.
With no O'Byrne Cup group games to benefit from in that regard this winter, today's encounter takes on added significance and Dublin - who edged this annual challenge by three points last year - will not have it easy against a Dubs Stars team that is backboned by county champions Kilmacud Crokes.
There are four Kilmacud players involved in the Dubs Stars rearguard with goalkeeper David Nestor sure to benefit from the inclusion of Liam Flatman, Andrew McGowan and Cian O'Connor.
A solid midfield pairing of Mark Sweeney and Aran Waters will lay the foundations for an attack that boasts the pace and scoring promise of Seán Bugler at centre-forward, Ryan Basquel at full-forward and Stephen Smith from Skerries Harps.
Dubs Stars - D Nestor; L Flatman, A McGowan, A Fallon; C O'Connor, C Guckian, T Lahiff; A Waters, M Sweeney; S Horan, S Bugler, K McManamon; S Smith, R Basquel, T Quinn.