Sunday 25 August 2019

Gavin axes Brogan, O'Carroll and O'Gara from Dublin squad for Mayo clash but Connolly makes the cut


Dublin boss Jim Gavin. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin boss Jim Gavin. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney and Frank Roche

Jim Gavin will go to war without two of his most experienced lieutenants as the Dublin boss looks set to cast aside Bernard Brogan and Rory O'Carroll for today's mouth-watering Croke Park sell-out against Mayo (5.0).

A leaked copy of today's match programme shows no places in the match-day 26 for former Footballer of the Year Brogan and O'Carroll, who returned to the squad in the spring having not featured since their 2015 All-Ireland triumph following an extended period travelling abroad.

A leaked copy of today’s match programme
A leaked copy of today’s match programme

There is also no place for the vastly-experienced Eoghan O'Gara but Diarmuid Connolly - who only returned to the squad in recent weeks - does feature at No 20.

Connolly's place in the squad is likely to ruffle some feathers given that the St Vincent's ace would be playing in Boston this summer had he not encountered visa problems leaving Dublin last month.

The match programme also shows David Byrne, Cian O'Sullivan and Michael Darragh Macauley as starters but they are likely to come under pressure from Philly McMahon and Jonny Cooper.

James McCarthy is a certain starter but his positioning will have a big bearing on others. Should he play in midfield, O'Sullivan may return at centre-back having sat out Dublin's last two games with Macauley losing out in the reshuffle.

Gavin held off announcing their official line-up until today, as has become the norm this season and they have significantly reduced their media activity as the fabled five-in-a-row draws nearer.

Meanwhile, Mayo boss James Horan is understood to be seething over leaks about his team selection for recent games, but he has kept a tight lid on their line-ups for today's semi-final clash.

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There has been a recurring leak this summer with one local newspaper, 'The Connaught Telegraph', publishing Horan's starting 15 on four occasions before any official team announcement was released.

The Mayo camp refused to comment on the matter when contacted yesterday but they are quietly fuming over the breach of confidence and trust, with an Irish Independent trawl confirming the early publication of their teams.

'The Connaught Telegraph' had published the Mayo teams to face Down, Kerry and Donegal (on its website) and Meath (via Facebook) before the sides were officially released while also revealing that Paddy Durcan would miss the tie against the Kingdom through injury.

Last week saw a similar tale when news that David Clarke had been ruled out of the Donegal game popped up on the 'Telegraph' website, along with the team, nearly a day before any official release.

Horan is forced to make at least one change with Jason Doherty suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in last weekend's defeat of Donegal and Kevin McLoughlin or 2017 Footballer of the Year Andy Moran will be the likely benefactor.

The outcome of today's tie could be significantly impacted by the weather with Met Éireann forecasting heavy downpours before and after throw-in - it also rained when Offaly ended Kerry's five-in-a-row dream in 1982 - with supporters advised to bring their rain gear and umbrellas.

Tomorrow's semi-final sees Kerry take on Tyrone (3.30) and Peter Keane can call on Young Footballer of the Year David Clifford once again with the mercurial attacker recovered from a back injury.

The Fossa forward missed last week's defeat of Meath with a back spasm but is passed fit to play as Micheál Burns misses out, while Shane Enright, another late withdrawal in Navan, starts at wing-back instead of Brian Ó Beaglaoich.

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