Thursday 19 September 2019

Gavin to finalise team selection without headaches over injury

Manager Jim Gavin poses for a portrait following a Dublin Football All-Ireland Final Press Conference at Parnell Park. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Manager Jim Gavin poses for a portrait following a Dublin Football All-Ireland Final Press Conference at Parnell Park. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Jim Gavin will finalise his seventh All-Ireland final selection as Dublin manager without injury complications or loss of form to factor in.

The strong likelihood is that he will select the same team that beat Mayo so commandingly in the semi-final just over a fortnight back, which would mean Cian O'Sullivan starting on the bench.

Along with Stephen Cluxton and James McCarthy, O'Sullivan is part of a select band of Dublin players who have started every one of their previous finals this decade.

With Michael Darragh Macauley's form demanding he keeps his place in Gavin's chosen 15, O'Sullivan is likely to provide bench cover in midfield, where the Dublin boss is shy on experienced alternatives.

Another 2011 survivor, Philly McMahon is also likely to be held in reserve, with Davy Byrne, Jonny Cooper and Mick Fitzsimons making up Gavin's preferred full-back line.

The Ballymun defender could however, be briefed with marking Tommy Walsh if, as expected, he is introduced from the Kerry bench.

Rory O'Carroll was previously earmarked for that role but failed to make Gavin's matchday 26 for the Mayo game after a poor performance against Tyrone in Omagh.

Gavin's front six have been set in stone since Dean Rock pushed Cormac Costello out of the team at the beginning of the Super 8 and though both Paul Mannion and Con O'Callaghan were injured when they were taken off against Mayo, neither is thought to be a doubt for Sunday.

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Two months ago Diarmuid Connolly was on his way to Boston before a technicality with an ESTA scuppered his plans. He is certain to make Gavin's match day squad and would collect his sixth All-Ireland medal if Dublin win.

Irish Independent

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