Gilroy content to keep all Brogans out of firing line for Kingdom test
IF it ain't 'Brogan', can the Dublin team be fixed in time to give All-Ireland champions Kerry a serious contest in their opening NFL game at Killarney on Sunday?
Dublin's last outing ended in defeat to Meath in an O'Byrne Cup replay and their clash with Kerry last August resulted in defeat by 17 points.
So how come there isn't a Brogan to be found in the team named for duty yesterday, especially as Bernard Brogan was in flying form at Navan last Wednesday week against Meath?
Well, Bernard is listed in the subs, and is not reported to be injured. Cousin James is also named among the substitutes. Alan, Bernard's brother, is still in recovery following an operation on his hand, and won't be available until early next month.
Manager Pat Gilroy stated this was not an experimental team, but one which was essentially dictated by injuries, emphasising that issue by naming 27 players yesterday, to be reduced to 24 by match day.
It's early in the season but if there is no experiment, why not play Bernard, especially as the Dubs need to slay some mental demons in relation to the Kerry men?
One answer is that the early League games allow for some shuffling of the pack and Gilroy knows what he can get from the Brogans, particularly Bernard, at this stage.
Another possibility is that Bernard can be launched from the bench if the Dubs are in trouble; and the third is that you'll find No 24, B Brogan, will actually start the game in place of one of the other named forwards.
The five NFL debutants are Ross O'Carroll, James McCarthy, Cian O'Sullivan, Michael McAuley and Kevin McManamon.
O'Carroll plays right corner-back; O'Sullivan and McCarthy are in the half-back line; McAuley lines up at centre-forward; and McManamon is left corner-forward.
Rory O'Carroll, at full-back, and left corner-back Philly McMahon have each played only one League game previously for Dublin. Eamonn Fennell, cleared by his club O'Tooles to play for Dublin on Wednesday night, partners Ross McConnell at midfield.
"That's the strongest we have available. We're forced into this. It's not an experimentation. With those injuries we've got to play these fellas so we'll be trying to play the strongest team we have," said Gilroy.
"All in all, it's a fairly mobile team with good balance in it given the amount of injures we've had."
Dublin (SF v Kerry) -- S Cluxton; Ross O'Carroll, Rory O'Carroll, P McMahon; P Griffin (capt), C O'Sullivan, J McCarthy; E Fennell, R McConnell; A Hubbard, M McAuley, P Flynn; D Henry, B Kelly, K McManamon.