Two more Longford stalwarts call time on long careers
Longford footballers have lost two more of their most experienced players to retirement with Brian Kavanagh and Diarmuid Masterson following Dermot Brady out the door.
Brady brought his 17-year inter-county career to an end in recent weeks and Kavanagh and Masterson are also departing as the pace of personnel changes within the county accelerates.
Both players made their championship debuts during the 2006 season under Luke Dempsey.
Kavanagh started for the first time against Dublin in the 2006 Leinster quarter-final in Pearse Park and made a real impact, scoring two points, while Masterson was introduced in a third-round qualifier win over Derry that earned them a trip to play Kerry in Killarney.
Longford have consistently punched above their weight in qualifier matches and both players were central to that, most recently the county's shock win over then Ulster champions Monaghan in the 2016 qualifiers, before they lost to Cork.
While Masterson was still to the fore last summer, injuries continued to affect Kavanagh's contribution.
Kavanagh has played much of his club football with Kilmacud Crokes in Dublin with whom he won an All-Ireland club title in 2009.
Masterson offered Longford great versatility with spells at corner-back, half-back and half-forward.
Meanwhile, the Dublin ladies will play two of their league games in Croke Park as curtain-raisers to the Dublin men's football team.
The Dublin ladies will precede their male counterparts' game against Donegal, with a fixture against Cork on Saturday, February 10.
The ladies' March 3 match against Kerry will also precede a heavyweight clash between last year's league finalists Dublin and Kerry.
All-Ireland ladies finalists Mayo will feature on a double bill for the first time on Saturday, February 24 in MacHale Park, prior to the Mayo-Dublin Allianz League Division 1 game.
The Ladies Gaelic Football Association first doubled up with Dublin GAA last March when Dublin/Mayo (ladies) played prior to the Dublin/Roscommon league tie.
A further five double-headers involving ladies and men's league games are being rolled out this spring.
Elsewhere, Tyrone GAA is in mourning again following the death of Pomeroy player Christopher Colhoun who has died, aged 34, after a short illness.
He had featured briefly on the Tyrone squad in 2006 and was still playing club football, having claimed an Ulster intermediate title in 2016.