Sunday 17 December 2017

O'Donoghue out of Kerry bid to end Dublin streak

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice. Picture credit: Philip Fitzpatrick / Sportsfile
Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice. Picture credit: Philip Fitzpatrick / Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Eamonn Fitzmaurice has made two changes to the Kerry side aiming to derail Dublin's 33-game unbeaten streak in tonight's eagerly-anticipated Allianz FL Division 1 clash in Tralee, including the enforced exclusion of prolific attacker James O'Donoghue.

The former Footballer of the Year looked back to his best against Roscommon, but is forced to sit out the sold-out tie due to injury as Mark Griffin returns in defence.

All-Star defender Paul Murphy reverts to the attack where he is joined by Adrian Spillane as Barry John Keane drops out.

Paul Geaney, last year's All-Star full-forward, hit 1-6 in Kerry's vital victory over the Rossies two weeks ago as they kept their final aspirations alive and the Dingle ace will be expected to carry the scoring burden once again in an inside line flanked by rookies Kevin McCarthy and Jack Savage.

It's just over two years since the Kingdom inflicted the last defeat on Jim Gavin's back-to-back All-Ireland champions and the game has an added spice given the Dubs' recent domination of Kerry, with four successive championship beatings in recent years.

It's usually taken with a pinch of salt when Gavin names his side and he has listed the same 15 which brushed Mayo aside by 12 points two weeks ago with impressive new faces like Conor McHugh and Niall Scully given more time to take their chance.

Old hands like Diarmuid Connolly and Cian O'Sullivan are expected to get game-time, however, so there could be high-profile changes before throw-in.

Irish Independent

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