Sunday 18 February 2018

No place like home as Dubs check out

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Dublin look set to ditch their plans to stay overnight in a city hotel before Sunday's Leinster football semi-final with Meath.

The Leinster champions convened on the Saturday evening before the victory over Wexford last week in the Regency Airport Hotel, just a mile north of Croke Park.

But many of the players were dissatisfied with the arrangement and now plans to repeat the exercise look set to be abandoned.

The Regency Airport Hotel have become partnership sponsors to the Dublin team, one of a number of sponsors who help to directly fund the preparations of the team.

The accommodation arrangements are understood to have been raised at a meeting between players and management early last week.

The idea to stay overnight in a city hotel was taken because it was felt Dublin performed well after similar arrangements in league matches earlier this season.

Many professional teams gather together in advance of matches regardless of the proximity of their own homes. But among GAA teams the luxury of sleeping in your own bed on the night before a big match is coveted.

Dublin may not finalise their team until later in the week with Michael Macauley poised for a recall to midfield after making an impact on his introduction the last day.

Alan Brogan is also in line to start, with Bryan Cullen and Tomas Quinn putting themselves in the frame after impressive cameos against Wexford.

Meanwhile, Stephen O'Neill is in no danger of missing the Ulster final, it emerged yesterday.

The former Footballer of the Year had to go off after just 11 minutes of Sunday's semi-final against Down after suffering a foot injury. But the damage is no worse than bruising to his heel, sustained after he came down heavily on the firm Casement Park surface after contesting possession.

"He should be okay towards the end of the week, and he's hoping to play for his club at the weekend," said assistant manager Tony Donnelly.

O'Neill is expected to feature for his club Clan na nGael in an Intermediate Championship tie against Kevin Hughes' Killeeshil on Saturday.

Irish Independent

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