Pressure mounts on Kingdom as Fitzmaurice wields the axe
Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice has carried out major surgery to his defence by naming a completely new full-back line to face Monaghan in their make-or-break 'Super 8s' clash in Clones tomorrow.
Ronan Shanahan, Mark Griffin and Tom O'Sullivan all come into the side after last weekend which saw the Kingdom lose to Galway in championship football for the first time in 53 years.
Brian ó Beaglaíoch and Jason Foley lose out while Peter Crowley moves into the half-back line in place of the suspended Killian Young as Kerry look to keep their All-Ireland hopes alive. In contrast, Kildare have stuck with the same starting 15 that lost to Monaghan for the visit of Galway.
The Kingdom have failed to reach the All-Ireland football semi-finals only twice since the qualifiers were introduced 17 years ago, but unless they beat Monaghan they're in real danger of missing out for a third time.
Defeat in Clones and a win for Galway in Newbridge would eliminate both Kerry and Kildare, turning their game in Killarney in two weeks' time into a complete irrelevancy.
That would be a major setback for the Super 8s in their first season so GAA chiefs will be hoping that, at the very least, either Kerry or Kildare win.
The best outcome for the new system would be wins for both, leaving all four counties on two points each heading into the final round.
In Group 2, the Tyrone v Dublin clash in Omagh this evening (7.0) is the main attraction in what will be the first time the Dubs have played a championship game in the opposition's home ground since they beat Longford in the 2006 Leinster quarter-final.
Meanwhile, Offaly football manager Paul Rouse has informed his players that he will not be in charge of the squad for 2019, citing work and family commitments.
Rouse took charge in the wake of Stephen Wallace's departure mid-season but he has informed county officials that he won't be taking charge next season. "Due to work, family and travel commitments, Paul sadly is unable at this time to put his name forward for the position of Offaly senior football manager," an Offaly statement said.
Waterford and Leitrim are also on the hunt for new senior football managers after Tom McGlinchey and Brendan Guckian stepped down from their respective roles. McGlinchey steps down after four seasons with the Déise, while Guckian served for two seasons.
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