Wednesday 16 January 2019

Cats return for Aylward as Kingdom name young guns for Dubs

Ger Aylward. Photo: Sportsfile
Ger Aylward. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Ger Aylward will make his first start of the year for Kilkenny in tomorrow's Allianz Division 1A hurling clash with Wexford as the 2015 All-Star attacker returns from a frustrating spell on the sidelines.

A shoulder problem has prevented Aylward - who returned from a cruciate knee ligament injury last season - featuring in Brian Cody's plans this year and the Glenmore forward hasn't appeared for the Cats since coming off the bench in their extra-time qualifier defeat to Waterford last July.

Pádraig Walsh and Conor Delaney also come into defence following their recent college commitments with Maynooth University and UCD, while rookie goalkeeper Darren Brennan keeps the No 1 spot ahead of regular net-minder Eoin Murphy.

UL's Fitzgibbon Cup-winning trio of Barry Heffernan, John McGrath and Jason Forde return to the Tipperary starting 15 for tomorrow's Thurles meeting with Munster rivals Cork while Lorrha-Dorrha goalkeeper Brian Hogan, son of Premier legend Ken, gets a start in goal.

In football, many of Kerry's young guns will get the chance to pit their wits against reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin in tomorrow's eagerly-anticipated Croke Park clash.


Kingdom boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice will learn much about recent All-Ireland minor winners Sean O'Shea and David Clifford as they are named against Dublin while Kevin McCarthy makes his first start since the Munster final win over Cork last July.

Jim Gavin's Dubs are likely to be without All-Star defender Michael Fitzsimons after his appeal to the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) following his one-match ban was upheld.

Fitzsimons was sent off towards the end of their victory over Mayo for a mistimed challenge on Aidan O'Shea, which referee Paddy Neilan deemed to be 'dangerous'.

In a week when goalkeeper Peter Boyle and wing-forward Micheál Carroll departed the Donegal squad, Declan Bonner has been boosted by the return of 2012 All-Ireland winner Anthony Thompson, who didn't feature under Rory Gallagher last season.

Another veteran, Cork's Donncha O'Connor - who turns 37 next month - has been included in Cork's squad for tomorrow's Division 2 FL tie against Meath.

Longford will have to plan without talented forward James McGivney for the foreseeable future, however, after the Mullinalaghta clubman withdrew from the squad, citing "personal reasons".

Meanwhile, Mickey Moran has called time on his glittering managerial reign with Derry club Slaughtneil in the wake of their All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Nemo Rangers, having led the side to four county championships, three Ulster titles and two All-Ireland finals.

Irish Independent

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