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Saturday 10 December 2016

Cian O'Sullivan back in Dublin cockpit

Bastick out but no spot for Macauley

Cian O'Sullivan insists he will be ready for Dublin's upcoming Leinster semi-final match
Cian O'Sullivan insists he will be ready for Dublin's upcoming Leinster semi-final match

CIAN O'SULLIVAN has been restored to Dublin's midfield cockpit for their clash with Kildare - but there's still no room for Michael Darragh Macauley.

Denis Bastick's ankle injury on club duty would appear to have scuppered his hopes of again partnering rookie Brian Fenton for tomorrow's Leinster SFC semi-final at Croke Park (4.0).

But, contrary to speculation that this might free up a berth for the recall of Macauley, the 2013 Footballer of the Year is a notable omission from the team announced by Jim Gavin last night.

Instead, the midfield vacancy is filled by O'Sullivan, who missed the Longford landslide with a hamstring strain.

The versatile Kilmacud Crokes man, so often Macauley's midfield sidekick, was also an option for centre-back having started there against Cork in the Allianz League final.

However, John Small retains his place at No 6 and likewise David Byrne at full-back, despite Rory O'Carroll's return to fitness, while James McCarthy doesn't make it back either.

As ever, further 11th hour changes cannot be discounted.

Leinster Council chiefs are estimating a crowd of over 40,000 for the double-header, which kicks off with the Meath/Westmeath semi-final at 2.0.

DUBLIN (SFC v Kildare): S Cluxton; J Cooper, D Byrne (Naomh Olaf), P McMahon; D Daly, J Small, J McCaffrey; B Fenton, C O'Sullivan; P Flynn, K McManamon, C Kilkenny; D Rock, D Connolly, B Brogan.

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