Wednesday 17 January 2018

Kildare boosted by Flynn return

Daryl Flynn's return to Kildare training last week is unlikely to mean a shift in roles for John Doyle in Sunday's much-anticipated Leinster football semi-final against Dublin.

Flynn missed the championship matches against Wicklow and Meath because of an ankle injury, and despite being fit again, the midfielder may have to sit out much of Sunday's main event in Croke Park as manager Kieran McGeeney looks set to give the 15 that started against Meath the seal of approval once more.

There is some thought that some members of the successful junior team, which plays Cavan in the Leinster final after a convincing semi-final win over Dublin, could be applying pressure on the established senior starters.

Ciaran Fitzpatrick and Sean Hurley are among those who have been moving well for the second string, which is effectively a development squad with a strong connection to the senior structure.


But a more cautious approach to team selection is likely, with Doyle again being handed the responsibility of driving things from midfield, where he has been a revelation in his last two games.

Dublin's most taxing selection crux is who to replace Philly McMahon with.

The attack-minded corner-back damaged knee ligaments against Laois and has been ruled out for several weeks, with Paul Brogan favourite to take over. Alternatively, Paul Conlon could slot directly into McMahon's position.

Barry Cahill, who was replaced early in the second half against Laois, could come under pressure, but the Dublin management may see him as the perfect opponent for Doyle.

Meanwhile, Galway's Connacht semi-final against Mayo looks to have come too soon for Michael Meehan, who has been making steady progress from his 15-month spell of persistent injury.

Meehan has resumed training and has taken part in practice matches but the feeling is that Galway will not risk setting him back.

Three members of the victorious U-21 team are likely to make their debuts in Castlebar -- Johnny Duane at corner-back, Colm Forde at full-back and Mark Hehir at centre-forward.

The midfield partnership that helped steady the Galway ship during the latter stages of the league -- Finian Hanley and Joe Bergin -- will not be touched, with Gareth Bradshaw at left half-forward and Paul Conroy at full-forward.

Sean Armstrong's aggravation of a hamstring injury last week precludes him from action once again.

Mayo's Trevor Howley sat out an internal training match yesterday after picking up a knock in a club match.

But Ronan McGarrity and Keith Higgins, who missed the laboured performance in London, did participate and are in line for selection.

In Ulster, Tyrone's Joe McMahon looks like he will be available again after missing the quarter-final win over Monaghan due to a broken jaw, which he picked up in a club match. But his brother Justin remains Tyrone's biggest doubt ahead of their bid to reach a third successive Ulster final.

Irish Independent

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