Thursday 22 February 2018

Star names lose out as Eamon Fitzmaurice ring changes to Kerry XV

Kerry's Kieran Donaghy
Kerry's Kieran Donaghy
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has rung the changes by omitting three high-profile players for Sunday's All-Ireland final with Dublin.

Captain Kieran Donaghy, Marc ó Sé and Paul Murphy have all been left out of the starting 15, with the latter two still recovering from recent injuries.

Captain Donaghy was always vulnerable after being replaced by Paul Geaney at half-time in the All-Ireland semi-final win over Tyrone.

Geaney comes back in having lost his starting place twice already this season but his impact in changing the point of attack against Tyrone was impossible to ignore.

ó Sé picked up a hamstring injury last week and didn't participate in the last crucial in-house match over the weekend but he may not have made it anyway.

The 35-year-old has been the most consistent starter under the current regime, coming off the bench just once in 16 games after being dropped for the All-Ireland semi-final replay against Mayo last year. He is listed among the substitutes.

Murphy's omission is an even greater surprise given how he has helped to lock down the defence since coming off the bench in the final minutes of the drawn Munster final with Cork.

Although, his prepartions have been hampered by injury, he is expected to be available for action from the bench.

Aidan O'Mahony comes back into the team in place of ó Sé after losing his place for the Tyrone game.

Fionn Fitzgerald is also recalled having been dropped for the Cork replay in July despite scoring a last-gasp equalising point in the drawn game. Fitzgerald did well against Ciarán Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final two years ago and that's obviously a factor.

It brings to 16 the number of personnel changes Fitzmaurice and Co have made from match to match in this championship campaign, a staggering figure for a team that has yet to lose.

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